List of North American football nicknames

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This is a list of nicknames in the sports of American football and Canadian football.



This is a list of nicknames of professional and college football teams. Many are merely abbreviations or diminutives of the team's name; otherwise, the origin of the nickname (if known) is noted. An asterisk (*) after a nickname indicates that the name is pejorative, insulting, or has at least a negative intent, and is often used by opponents or detractors (including fans when the team is performing poorly). Note on abbreviations: CFL – Canadian Football League; NFL – National Football League; NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association

American football[edit]

By nickname

  • "Ain'ts*" – New Orleans Saints, NFL; rhyming play on the non-standard English negative ain't[25]
  • "America's Team" – Dallas Cowboys, by sports media[26]
  • "B.I.L.L.S.*" – Buffalo Bills, by detractors, acronyms for "Boy I Love Losing Super Bowls", in reference to the team's failure to win the Super Bowl in four straight tries during the early 1990s[27]
  • "Big Blue (Wrecking Crew)" – New York Giants, NFL; from the color of their jerseys, influenced by the nickname of IBM[28]
  • "The Black and Gold" – Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL; from their uniform colors[29]
  • "Black and Blue Division" – NFC North, NFL; from the division's rugged style of play in the 20th century (also "Frostbite Division")
  • "The Blue Giants" – Used for New York Giants because of the team color
  • "Bolts" – San Diego Chargers, NFL; from the lightning bolt design on their helmets[30]
  • "Bucs/Buckies" – Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NFL; abbreviation of team name
  • "The Bungles" – Cincinnati Bengals, NFL; formerly used by detractors[31]
  • The Cardiac Cats – Carolina Panthers, coined in 2003 due to their frequent 4th-quarter comebacks and/or losses
  • "Cheeseheads" – Nickname used for residents of Wisconsin in reference to the state's large dairy industry. Sometimes employed derogatorily by neighboring states, the moniker was embraced by residents, particularly Green Bay Packers fans, and has become synonymous with Wisconsin's football culture. (While the state is presently known for cheese production, the Packers team itself was originally named for the Indian meat packing company in Green Bay, WI.)[32]
  • "The Chefs" – Kansas City Chiefs, NFL; origin Snickers candy bar commercial; however, the NFL has licensed official "Kansas City Chief Head Chef Cookie Jars"[33]
  • "The Chesapeake Watershed Region Indigenous Persons" – Washington Redskins, NFL; translation of team name into politically correct terms[34] It was later changed to "Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons" (see below) since the Baltimore Ravens also share the Chesapeake Bay region.
  • "Clowns" - Cleveland Browns, NFL; used by detractors.
  • The Cowgirls - Dallas Cowboys, by detractors.
  • "Da Raidahs" – Oakland Raiders, NFL; The way Chris Berman of ESPN says, "The Raiders",[35] a spoof of Raiders team owner Al Davis' accent.
  • "Dawgs" – Cleveland Browns, NFL; according to Hanford Dixon, then a cornerback with the original Art Modell-owned Browns, he gave his defensive teammates this nickname to inspire them before the 1985 season[36]
  • "DeadSkins" – Washington Redskins, NFL; rhyming play on team name; used by detractors or disgruntled fans.[37]
  • "Detroit Lie-downs" – Detroit Lions, NFL; so called because they just lie down and let other teams run over them.
  • "The Dirty Birds" – Atlanta Falcons, NFL; team dubbed themselves by this name during their race to Super Bowl XXXIII[38]
  • "The Dolts" – Indianapolis Colts, NFL; rhyming play on name with a term for "idiot"; by detractors[39]
  • "The Empire" - Used by detractors to refer to either the Dallas Cowboys, due to their reputation of having a large fanbase, lots of money, and several Super Bowl rings, and the New England Patriots, due to their own reputation of also being one of the most hated teams in the NFL and being the de facto villain for the league, and because of their recent Super Bowl dynasty. The "role" of the Emperor is usually filled by Jerry Jones or Bill Belichick.
  • "The Flaming Thumbtacks" – Tennessee Titans, NFL; a humorous interpretation of their team logo, actually a flaming stylized letter "T"[40]
  • "The Fins" – Miami Dolphins, NFL; play on abbreviation of name with the appendages of a dolphin[41]
  • "The Fish" – Miami Dolphins, NFL; while the mascot and team logo of bottlenose dolphins are not fish, but mammals. The rhyme detractors used when they played in the Orange Bowl was, "squish the fish in the Orange Dish." Now rarely used due to the Florida Marlins, who are also called "The Fish".
  • "The Forty-Whiners/The Whiners" - San Francisco 49ers, used by detractors.
  • "G-Men" – New York Giants, NFL; initial of team name, possibly a play on the term for a government (e.g., FBI) agent[42]
  • "Goats" – Saint Louis Rams, NFL; when playing poorly[43]
  • "Iggles" – Philadelphia Eagles, NFL; reference to how some Philadelphians pronounce "Eagles"[44]
  • "Jags" – Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL; abbreviation of team name
  • "Gang Green" – New York Jets, NFL; used by supporters (reference to medical condition that is difficult to overcome)(Green Bay Packers), NFL; used by supporters since the mid-1970s; also the name of the unofficial team mascot who is given home field credentials.
  • "Jest" – New York Jets, NFL; humorous misspelling of team name; used when team is performing poorly[45]
  • "Jints" – New York Giants, NFL; used occasionally by local media, as eye dialect for the team's name. Also used for the baseball team while it was in New York.
  • "Jokeland (Faders/Traitors)"* – Oakland Raiders, by detractors[43]
  • "Lambs" – Saint Louis Rams, NFL; a lamb being a soft, cuddly, meek baby sheep (as opposed to a ram, being an aggressive full-grown male sheep); rhyming nickname used by detractors when team performs poorly[46]
  • "Monsters of the Midway" – Chicago Bears, NFL; originally applied to the University of Chicago "Maroons", a strong (former) college football team; "Midway" refers to the Midway Plaisance, a long, green swath of boulevard space bordering the southern end of the campus. The University discontinued its football program in 1939, and the Bears adopted the nickname.[47]
  • "'Niners" – San Francisco 49ers, NFL; abbreviation of team name
  • "The Oilers" – Tennessee Titans, NFL; a reference of the team's name before it moved to Tennessee, the Houston Oilers
  • "The Tennessee Titanics"* – NFL, reference given to the team after their 0–6 start in 2009 including a 59–0 loss to the Patriots, this after going 13–3 in 2008
  • "The Pack" – Green Bay Packers, NFL; abbreviation of name, and a play on the collective term for a group of animals such as dogs or wolves[48]
  • "Pats" – New England Patriots, NFL; abbreviation of team name
  • "The Patsies" – New England Patriots, NFL; play on nickname "Pats" (above) and the term patsy, "a person who is easily manipulated or victimized"[49]
  • "The Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons" – Washington Redskins, NFL; translation of team name into politically correct terms,[34] popularized by NFL columnist and Washington, D.C. resident Gregg Easterbrook in his weekly column Tuesday Morning Quarterback.
  • "Seagulls" – Seattle Seahawks, term often said by detractors when Seahawks are playing poorly.[50]
  • "The Silver and Black" – Oakland Raiders, NFL; from the colors of the uniforms[51]
  • "Silver Rush" – Detroit Lions
  • "Sinners" – New Orleans Saints, NFL; "sinner" is often a paired opposite of "saint"; used by detractors,[52] but also as a result of New Orleans Saints Bounty Scandal
  • "'Skins" – Washington Redskins, NFL; abbreviation of team name
  • "'Stillers" – Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL; how native Pittsburghers (Picksbergers) pronounce the name of their team[53]
  • "Tennessee Traitors " * – Tennessee Titans, NFL; derisive nickname of the former Houston Oilers, usually aimed at owner Bud Adams by former Oilers fans
  • "Vikes" – Minnesota Vikings, NFL; abbreviation of team name[54]

Canadian football[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Adrian Peterson: Son's death is 'devastating'". USA Today. Associated Press. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Jimmy Graham Talks Drew Brees' Nickname for him, Rob Gronkowski and More from Super Bowl Week". February 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Marshawn Lynch and the evolution of 'Beast Mode'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  5. ^ "Brees flattered but thinks T-shirts may go too far". WWL-TV. December 16, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Clay Matthews: The Predator". May 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Purdue Graduation Briefs — Brees throws touchdowns in game of life". Purdue University. April 27, 2001. 
  8. ^ "Justin Smith just does his job". Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Hall of Famers — Dan Hampton
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Eli Manning had Super sense of future while still in high school". New York Daily News. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "SEAHAWKS PREVIEW: Meet the ‘Legion of boom'". September 3, 2012. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. 
  14. ^ Large, Larry (2007-10-22). "Calvin Johnson shows why Lions made him No. 2 pick in the draft". Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  15. ^ Rothstein, Michael (22 November 2013). "Calvin Johnson of Detroit Lions gets Megatron action figure of his own". ESPN. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  16. ^ Smith, Michael David (6 November 2012). "Doug Martin: I can’t shake Muscle Hamster, "worst nickname ever"". ProFootballTalk. NBC Sports. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Hall of Famers — Dick (Night Train) Lane
  18. ^ Astleford, Andrew (3 September 2013). "Bucs have talent, but will they mesh to make playoffs?". Fox Sports. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  19. ^ Kreck, Dick (13 January 2008). "True gridiron grit". Denver Post. 
  20. ^ "Player On Spot: Peyton Manning, Colts". Chicago Tribune. September 9, 2004. 
  21. ^ "How Deion Conceived of 'Prime Time'". San Francisco Chronicle. January 24, 1995. 
  22. ^ "Deion's drive fueled by bond with mom". ESPN. August 7, 2011. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Sweetness, Till the Bitter End". The Washington Post. 14 June 2000. 
  25. ^ - Your expert source for NFL Football stats, scores, standings, blogs and fantasy news from NFL Football columnists
  26. ^ NFL Films: The Dallas Cowboys
  27. ^ "The Out Route - Shattering The Cbrushers baked beans murluulture of Losing". Retrieved 2006-11-15. 
  28. ^ Big Blue Interactive » The Latest News, Analysis and Discussion of the New York Football Giants
  29. ^ Welcome To The Black and Gold Brigade!
  30. ^ [1]
  31. ^ Mehno, John (5 December 2011). "Cincinnati looks like same old ‘Bungles’". Altoona Mirror. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ - Memory Company Kansas City Chiefs Cookie Jar
  34. ^ a b
  35. ^ This N' That with Tony Mack:NFL Picks: Week 11
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ Atlanta Falcons | Media Lounge | We're Sorry
  39. ^
  40. ^ Pittsburgh Dish: Bra Rah Rah: The Flaming Thumbtacks
  41. ^ Miami Dolphins | Sun-Sentinel Blogs: Friday night football?
  42. ^ G-Men Have Carolina In Their Mind - NFL - New York Giants News Story - WBAL Baltimore
  43. ^ a b Tailgate Crashers: Second And Long - 10.27.04
  44. ^ McCarthy, Iris (2012-09-18). Food Lovers' Guide to Philadelphia: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings. Globe Pequot. p. 9. ISBN 9780762788965. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  45. ^ New Page 2
  46. ^ MAC Attack! | Out on a Limb: Fantasy Football Predictions - Fantasy Information Central
  47. ^ "Monsters of the Midway". 
  48. ^ - Football - New leader of the Pack
  49. ^ "Sport: New England: Patsies No More". Time. 1976-10-18. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^ Not to mention the New Orleans Sinners
  53. ^
  54. ^ - Your expert source for NFL Football stats, scores, standings, blogs and fantasy news from NFL Football columnists