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The Tennessee Titans Have the Worst Name in All of Sport

Nov 28, 2007 – 10:00 AM
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Stephanie Stradley

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Last year, Deadspin highlighted the issue of wimpy team nicknames and highlighted these as the wussiest. It was an incredibly popular subject, and Deadspin's commenters found some truly awful names. Recently I gave some thought to what the worst team nickname of all--high school, college, professional sports included.

I think the worst name in sports is the Tennessee Titans. Before you disagree with me, here's the video evidence to prove it (maybe a little NSFW):


Video Link

Yeah, the Redskins have a name that is basically a Native American slur, but at least they have an excuse that it dates back to the 1930's and is intended to honor native peoples rather than offend.

When NFL owner Bud Adams moved his team, he wanted to keep the name Oilers but the folks in Tennessee wouldn't allow it. So in 1998, he put together an advisory counsel to come up with names and had a "Guess The Name" contest to get more feedback. Later that year, the name "Tennessee Titans" was chosen, meant to reflect, as Adams said, "strength, leadership and other heroic qualities."

Apparently, Adams isn't particularly familiar with the sordid details of Greek mythology.

Tennessee is a lovely state with beautiful urban centers. To much of the country, however, Tennessee might be considered backwards and hillbilly. So, I am wondering why you would name your team after Greek gods who had, uh er, lots of improper sexual relationships between family members and other bad stuff.

The best I can figure is that Bud Adams likes alliteration, doesn't know much about Greek mythology, but figured "Tennessee Tuxedos" was out of the question.

To add insult to injury, the logo choice of a flaming tack/flaming meatball might also be one of the worst logos in sport too. Adams said, "I feel we have developed a logo that fans throughout the state of Tennessee and around the country will embrace for years to come."

Of course, if you have seen the clothes that man has worn over the years, you can understand why he thought people might like that logo. Besides, he couldn't have chosen a logo that involved improper sexual relationships between family members because I think that would be really hard to draw and merchandise.

There's tons of awful sport nicknames out there. Check out this website for nicknames of every college team in America, which includes some wildly questionable ones.

All that being said, I think the Titans name is the worst name of all factoring in: 1. Value of team; 2. They actually spent time, consideration and money choosing this name; 3. That the naming was done in the 1990's and not more than a half century ago; 4. Tennessee folks sensitive to hillbilly talk pick a Greek myth chock full of inbreeding and assorted ook.

So, after watching the video, have I convinced you? If not, tell me some worse sports nicknames. And if you were given the choice of naming the Tennessee franchise, what name would you have picked?
Filed under: Sports

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