Opinion: The XFL team names must be worth the wait

In 2001, the New York/New Jersey Hitmen had a great team name, but many other XFL team names were ridiculed. Will the team names of the 2020 version of the XFL be any better?

The XFL hasn’t yet named their eight inaugural franchises, and continue to refer to the teams as XFL Houston, XFL Dallas, XFL St. Louis, etc. Although league staff had conveyed plans to announce actual team names prior to August, it is now the middle of August and the names remain unannounced.

There has been a few rumored names, and leaks such as trademark registrations for Seattle franchise names, but nothing has been confirmed.

We can only assume that the league has delayed the official team name announcement for a good reason. Right? It’s not like they’re deliberately trying to tease us.

High-level league officials are very tight-lipped about the situation, and will only give overall reasons for the delay, such as legal and trademark concerns. Actually, it makes sense that legal ramifications are a major part in their decision, but one would hope that this would have been completed already.

Presently, some fans are bothered by the delay of the announcement. But, not all. A straw poll currently running on Twitter is showing that the fan reaction is almost split in half.

However, there are some murmurings among staff on XFL teams that show anxiousness toward the lack of an announcement.  Most recently, Houston Head Coach June Jones declared that the team name announcement would take place on August 21st.

However, once this date was shared on Twitter, Jones’ statement was quickly retracted. It seems that Jones was gleeful in making this proclamation, but, either it was not his to make, or he was talking about a date that no longer worked.

Regardless of when the league finally names their eight franchises, the most important judgement will be the quality of the names, not the timeliness of the announcement.  That being said, it is hoped that the XFL has taken the time to test their chosen names with focus groups comprised of both fans and business partners.

One thing we should all remember is how the original XFL team names are now legendary in their “badness.” In fact, whenever any sports team is given a substandard name, the collective reaction is to compare the bad naming to the XFL, i.e., “That sounds like an XFL name.”

That’s right. The original XFL is remembered for many things, but mainly for its horrible team names. Granted the 2001 XFL team names were not all bad. However, with the genuine greatness of the New York/New Jersey Hitmen, Chicago Enforcers, and Las Vegas Outlaws, we had the very unconventional Memphis Maniax, Orlando Rage and Los Angeles Xtreme. It is a given that fans of these teams grew to love the names, but there was room for ridicule, and the ridicule came… and stayed.

In August 2000, the original XFL team names were announced with great fanfare, but it wasn’t done without a little drama. Just a week prior to the official announcement, the team names were leaked in the XFLBoard forum, including the name of the Birmingham franchise, which was to be the “Birmingham Blast.” Quickly, in the message board, fans begin to point out the inappropriateness of the word “blast,” especially considering past deaths that had been caused by bombings in the city. The XFL took note and quickly changed the name to “Birmingham Thunderbolts.” With some minor changes, they even used the same graphics as the original name. This was all done within the span of a week.

The moral of the story is that team names can be done quickly, but be ready for problems. Doesn’t it then follow that when team names are done slowly and methodically, they should be as good as we have ever seen?

After so many delays, we should be expecting quality team names. Then, maybe the XFL will finally be able to shed the weight of being known as the “bad team name league.”

3 comments on “Opinion: The XFL team names must be worth the wait

  • The Alliance did not announce their team names and logos until the middle of September 2018 for their February 2019 start. For the XFL to announce their team names in August is still early, actually!

  • I really don’t care what D.C. team name is as long as they win my Redskins have let me down so many times it will be awesome to see a winning football team in D.C. again. HOPEFULLY

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