“What’s in a name?” Juliet says to Romeo, contending that labels are arbitrary in nature. In all due respect to Bill Shakespeare, the sports world disagrees.
One of the NFL’s more heated conversations at the moment concerns not player safety or bullying but the Washington organization’s nickname. Living in anonymity since basketball’s return in 2004, Charlotte’s revival of its past sobriquet has its fan base rejuvenated. In the days following the venerable Tony Gwynn’s death, the hitter’s “Mr. Padre” moniker was ubiquitous in his memorials, with the title embodying what the man meant to his city.
A name can convey strength, veracity, character. Or, in the case of Glen “Big Baby” Davis, a lack thereof. This isn’t an opinion: studies imply the eponyms of people, businesses, places, etc., are vital to that entity’s perception. It’s science.
So while preparing for your draft, observing the waiver wire and constructing trades are imperative for fantasy success, choosing the proper squad handle will set the tone for your campaign. Like all roto-related ventures, we at FOXSports.com have you covered. Take into account the following advice when choosing your fantasy team name for the 2014 NFL season:
Brevity is a virtue
FOXSports.com fantasy football leagues offer managers up to 24 characters for their team names. But, like ordering Taco Bell breakfast, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Amplification is the vice of modern oratory.” (I believe my bosses feel the same way about my work.) As a majority of owners use their club’s title in an entertaining manner, aim for briefness.
Beware the limits of topical events
As I compose this column, it is the third week of June. In today’s now-now-NOW news cycle, affairs from a week ago seem like months. With such hastening of expiration dates, conferring a name based on current events in August will seem flat by September and archaic by December. That means a no-go to any mentions of Johnny Manziel’s Herbie Hancock or Aldon Smith’s frequent run-ins with local law enforcement. Manti Te’o jokes were worn-out before last year began. Furthermore, similar to the Michael Vick references in 2007 or Aaron Hernandez issues last season, please don’t be “That Guy” who drops Ray Rice or Darren Sharper innuendos. Yeah, assaults against defenseless women are hysterical.
This last thought concurs with…
Avoid the unimaginative
Almost as bad as Hernandez or Rice ribs are cognomens emitting from auto-generating name websites. Warning: if you use one of these forsaken machines, there’s a 39 percent chance that “The Beer-Belly Busters” will be your provided banner. I understand creativity is not everyone’s forte, but this is a deplorable exercise. YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS.
Stick with one team name
You know who else goes through names like turnstiles? Professional wrestlers and Puff Daddy. Not exactly a celebrated group. Nothing lamer than altering your pseudonym every other week.
Aggravation of other owners is encouraged
Targets include your buddies’ alma maters, personal shortcomings and family members. Three areas that are out of bounds:
– Ridiculing a seemingly-platonic relationship where one party is secretly infatuated with the other but has lacked the guts to bring this sentiment to light
That final caveat seem specific? Let’s just say I’ve seen fisticuffs derive from the above situation. And I gotta tell ya…it was AWESOME. In fact, I take it back; let the digs fly.
Subtlety is your friend
Twitter is doing its best to eliminate nuance, but it’s not a dead art yet. The written word is a powerful tool, as the perfectly-placed remark can pack a punch. Why spell things out when overtones can transform an ostensibly harmless expression into a jab? Moreover, when your boss catches you messing with your lineup at work, you don’t want to compound the problem with a blatant inappropriate team name. Intricacy is an elegant dance, my friends.
However, if you want your jeer a tad more illustrated, the logo option under team info provides a suitable canvas. Let’s just say this works well with the “provocation of other managers” item from above.
Puns: The Great Debate
In reference to your personal name or that of another owner, I can jump on this train. Using a football player’s name? That deserves a big ol’ Dikembe Mutombo finger wag. What if that player gets hurt or severely underwhelms? All of the sudden, “Foster’s AustrARIAN For Beer!” looks idiotic. Likewise, do you know how many teams across the country are named, “Forgetting Brandon Marshall” or “Corn on the Randall Cobb”? A lot. A LOT.
I know I’m in the minority in this regard and that many will employ “Stafford and Son,” “Double Dwayne Bowe,” “Dezed and Confused,” and “Brady Gaga” to some extent. I get it. In general, puns are sharp, shrewd and, most importantly, endorsed by Charles Barkley. All I ask is if you go this direction, roll with something outside the box. If I see one more “InstaJimmyGraham,” I’m going to lose it.
Private jokes are allowed as long as more people are “in” than “out”
If the collective response to your name is, “I don’t get it,” sorry buddy, you’ve dropped the ball.
Don’t replicate actual NFL team names
It’s bad enough the Cleveland Browns exist in reality. No need to acknowledge their being in the fantasy realm as well.
Finally, here’s a list of the most common team names from the past three seasons in FOXSports.com fantasy football leagues:
Bulldogs, Steel Curtain, Da Bears, Mean Machine, Warriors, Victorious Secret, Cowboys, Wildcats, Dream Team, Orange Crush, Mustangs, Big Blue, Knights, Steelers, Eagles
Don’t become a statistic. Use our advice to, ahem, make a name for yourself.
Joel Beall is a writer for FOXSports.com and WhatIfSports.com. He lives with a Golden Tee machine and a jump shot that’s broken. Reach Joel on Twitter @JoelMBeall