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Published: July 2, 2013 at 03:03 p.m.
Updated: March 30, 2015 at 01:22 p.m.

Best team nicknames

Happy birthday to Richard Sherman, the leader of the “Legion of Boom”. We’re kind of chagrined because we forgot his birthday and really don’t have time to run out and grab a gift card. (All right, we were never going to give him a gift card, but play along.) So instead of said gift card, how about we rank the greatest team nicknames of all-time? No? Well, too bad, we’re doing it anyway. You might think that we are just re-gifting this photo essay from another time. But I refuse to confirm or deny that.

21 Photos Total

  • 21. The Fun Bunch 21

    Associated Press

    21. The Fun Bunch

    This was the nickname of the Washington Redskins receivers of the 1980s. And, if you must know, the name of my famed intramural teams while at Cal State Fullerton. So, it will lead off the list. The Redskins receivers, not my intramural teams.

  • 20. SWAT Team 20

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    20. SWAT Team

    The Cincinnati Bengals defense under Dick LeBeau took this nickname during the 1980 season. Then it kind of went away. Why, what happened to the Bengals defense in 1988? Oh, right.

  • 19. The Aint's 19

    Bill Feig/Associated Press

    19. The Aint's

    I'm going to stay away from derisive nicknames for the most part. But this one was embraced by New Orleans Saints fans during their down times, and eventually became a positive. So, it plays.

  • 18. New York Sack Exchange 18

    Kevin Reece/Associated Press

    18. New York Sack Exchange

    Our own Dave Dameshek has dismissed this because it tries too hard and there is Mark Gastineau, who isn't exactly Deacon Jones in the cool department. Still, I think it's kind of cool. Thus, it's here.

  • 17. The Triplets 17

    Tim Sharp

    17. The Triplets

    We'll start with one of three monikers from the Dallas Cowboys on this list, this for the famed Hall of Fame trio of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. I kind of resented the name (and usage by other teams) because it seemed to slight Jay Novacek. I guess Four Horsemen was already taken.

  • 16. Legion of Boom 16

    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    16. Legion of Boom

    The current Seattle Seahawks defensive secondary carries this nickname for obvious reasons. I like it, but it would seem more fitting for the St. Louis FC to use this seeing that James Laurinaitis plays for the team. If you need me to explain that joke, well, we can't be friends.

  • 15. The Killer Bs 15

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    15. The Killer Bs

    Normally we hate nicknames lazily taken from initials (looking at you, A-Rod). But when six of your starters on defense have a last name that starts with the letter "B", well, that's pretty cool.

  • 14. Orange Crush 14

    National Football League

    14. Orange Crush

    Many people think of Cal State Fullerton when they hear "Orange Crush" ... all right, I'm one of like eight people who think that. Anyway, this was a pretty cool nickname for the Denver Broncos defense. Actually, shouldn't they use this again since they went back to the orange uniforms? Seriously, two CSF references? I'm at my moratorium.

  • 13. Doomsday Defense 13

    National Football League

    13. Doomsday Defense

    A second appearance by the Dallas Cowboys comes from their imposing defense from the 1970s of Ed "Too Tall" Jones, the "Manster" Randy White, John Dutton and Harvey Martin.

  • 12. Purple People Eaters 12

    National Football League

    12. Purple People Eaters

    This is a fun nickname for the Minnesota Vikings' legendary defensive line of Alan Page, Jim Marshall, Carl Eller and Gary Larsen. I would give it more points if it was original, but it was taken from a popular song. That would be akin to the San Francisco 49ers calling their defense "Locked Out of Heaven."

  • 11. Monsters of the Midway 11

    National Football League

    11. Monsters of the Midway

    Love this nickname of the Chicago Bears. Loved it even more when it was the nickname of the University of Chicago. This is why you're not No. 1.

  • 10. Million Dollar Backfield 10

    Associated Press

    10. Million Dollar Backfield

    This name applies to the Chicago Cardinals of the late 1940s which included Elmer Angsman, Paul Christman, Pat Harder, Marshall Goldberg and the Pro Football Hall of Famer Charley Trippi. It harkens back to a time when a million bucks was a lot of money for an entire backfield. The San Francisco 49ers also stole this in the 1950s, but we'll overlook that.

  • 9. No-Name Defense 9

    Associated Press

    9. No-Name Defense

    It's ironic that the No-Name Defense is a nickname for the Miami Dolphins, no? Or have I once again confused myself by what ironic actually means?

  • 8. Air Coryell 8

    Denis Poroy/Associated Press

    8. Air Coryell

    Folks remember the San Diego Chargers offense of the late 1970s and early 1980s, which included Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, Kellen Winslow, John Jefferson and Chuck Muncie among others under coach Don Coryell. They also forget this nickname applied to quarterback Jimmy Hart's St. Louis Cardinals of the mid-70s.

  • 7. Over the Hill Gang 7

    Paul Vathis/Associated Press

    7. Over the Hill Gang

    Hall of Fame coach George Allen didn't care for rookies, and would instead stock his team with veteran players. Hence the name for his Washington Redskins of the 1970s.

  • 6. Greatest Show on Turf 6

    Tom DiPace/Associated Press

    6. Greatest Show on Turf

    This is a tough one for me to admit, considering my ties back to the Los Angeles Rams. Seriously, this is a pretty cool nickname for the high-powered St. Louis offense during the Kurt Warner era.

  • 5. The Hogs 5

    National Football League

    5. The Hogs

    The Washington Redskins offensive line of the 1980s carried this colorful moniker. Though, not as colorful as the dresses worn by superfans, the Hogettes.

  • 4. America's Team 4

    Associated Press

    4. America's Team

    Yes, this might be a little trite and a nickname not really earned. But there is no more polarizing team in the NFL, and maybe all of sports. That's certainly American.

  • 3. Steel Curtain 3

    Associated Press

    3. Steel Curtain

    Awesome nickname of the Steelers defense which still carries on to this day.

  • 2. The Fearsome Foursome 2

    National Football League

    2. The Fearsome Foursome

    The famed defensive line of Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Lamar Lundy of the Los Angeles Rams was an obvious choice for this list. I bet you're kind of surprised that I didn't make this No. 1, right?

  • 1. The Fearsome Foursome 1

    National Football League

    1. The Fearsome Foursome

    Gotcha. There was no way any other team was going to take this top spot. I got you good! (Odds are you haven't read any of this and you've already scurried to the comment section to let me know I listed the Fearsome Foursome twice. And then asked why I still have a job. Or that your brother earned $9,543 working from home last month.)

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