While watching the Detroit Bankrupty, or whatever they're actually called, play the Chicago Pizza, or whatever they're actually called, in their traditional Thanksgiving professional football game this afternoon, you may find yourself wishing that more NFL teams would dare to jettison the corny animal, fish, and bird names under which they've heretofore done business, and renamed themselves for their distinguishing characteristics of their respective cities, or at least imaginatively.
Motoring back and forth across the American Southwest this week, I decided to invite the ideas of an innocent, and invited my bride, a Brit, to rename all 30 teams of the National Football League, though her idea of football is young, often very slight, men in shorts kicking a round ball back and forth. I’m sure that you will find many of her suggestions as delightful as I. Lou Reed fans, for instance, are apt to tremble with pleasure at the Seattle Lights of Love, while those who remember Dynasty will certainly chuckle at the Dallas Shoulderpads.
Puns, obviously, abound on her list. I am especially fond of the Minnesota Fountain and the Baltimore Poppadoms, which you are more likely to appreciate if you are yourself a Brit, preferably one from the Midlands, home to the most delicious balti (curry served in a wok-like bowl) in the United Kingdom. (I pause, self-congratulatorily, to note that, on espying a balti joint in my bride’s old neighborhood, Rayners Lane, I thought immediately of suggesting that it be renamed Balti Towers.)
Many of her suggested names refer to actual characteristics of the city involved, or to something for which it is celebrated, as witness the Tampa Bay Humidity, the Philadelphia Cheese, the San Diego Zoo, the New Orleans Voodoo, the Carolina Rednecks, the Washington Politicians, and the Chicago Pizza. In such cases as those of the Cincinnati Sugarplums and the Green Bay Mollusks, sheer whimsy seems to have seized the steering wheel.
Pop cultural references rear their lovely heads in the Kansas (City) Dorothies, the Miami Vice, and the New York New York. Speaking of the Big Apple, get a load of the Jacksonville Heights.
My own favorites are those that take the greatest chances, such as the Houston We Have a Problem, the Pittsburgh Er With Fries, and the Cleveland Of The Free. I am also enormously fond of the Tennessee Williams and the Oakland Furniture. Are you honestly able to tell me that you wouldn’t prefer living in a world in which not just one (the Baltimore Ravens, as in Edgar Allen Poe), but two pro football teams’ names are derived from literature?
Having derived such amusement and diversion from her NFL replacement names, I invited my bride to rename the National Basketball Association teams in cities that have no NFL team. My favorites here were the Brooklyn Canolis [sic], the Oklahoma City Is Oh, So Pretty, the San Antonio Burritos, and, best of all, the Memphis Elvis Has Left the Building. I appealed to her to change the Utah Polyamorists to the Utah Polygamists, but her mind was made up. I asked if she would like to include the Charlotte ‘sWeb, but she was steadfast in her reluctance to accept credit for something that I had in fact come up with.