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The Historical Significance Behind NFL Team Names: A Deeper Look

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

AFC East:

  • Buffalo Bills: Named after William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, a legendary figure associated with the American West.

  • Miami Dolphins: Reflects the marine life and the coastal location of Miami.

  • New England Patriots: Reflects the historical significance of New England in the American Revolutionary War.

  • New York Jets: Named to represent the "jet age" of the 1960s when the team was founded.

AFC North:

  • Baltimore Ravens: Named after Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem "The Raven" and his connection to Baltimore.

  • Cincinnati Bengals: Reflects the tiger, a symbol of strength and agility.

  • Cleveland Browns: Named after the team's first coach and co-founder, Paul Brown.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers: Reflects the steel industry and blue-collar heritage of Pittsburgh.

AFC South:

  • Houston Texans: Reflects the state of Texas and the cowboy and ranching culture.

  • Indianapolis Colts: Named after the city's rich history in horse racing and its association with the "Circle City."

  • Jacksonville Jaguars: Named to symbolize the speed and power of a jaguar.

  • Tennessee Titans: Represents the Titans of Greek mythology, symbolizing power and strength.

AFC West:

  • Denver Broncos: Named to reflect the iconic image of the wild horses found in the Rocky Mountains.

  • Kansas City Chiefs: Named to honor Native American culture and heritage.

  • Las Vegas Raiders: Named for the team's reputation as renegades and raiders of opposing teams.

  • Los Angeles Chargers: Named to represent the "charge" and energy of the team.

NFC East:

  • Dallas Cowboys: Reflects the cowboy and ranching culture of Texas.

  • New York Giants: Represents the team's historical ties to New York City and its aspirations to be a "giant" in the sport.

  • Philadelphia Eagles: Named to symbolize freedom and strength, drawing on the city's connection to American history.

  • Washington Commanders: Previously known as the Redskins since the 1930s changed given it's an offensive term for Native Americans. The Commanders name was chosen because it reflects "leadership, unity and courage of our armed forces."

NFC North:

  • Chicago Bears: Reflects the city's connection to the bear as a symbol of strength.

  • Detroit Lions: Represents the lion as a symbol of courage and strength.

  • Green Bay Packers: Named for the team's early sponsorship by the Indian Packing Company.

  • Minnesota Vikings: Represents the Norse heritage of Minnesota.

NFC South:

  • Atlanta Falcons: Named for the falcon's speed and agility.

  • Carolina Panthers: Represents the black panther, a symbol of power and stealth.

  • New Orleans Saints: Reflects the city's cultural and religious history.

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Named for the historical pirates who roamed the Gulf of Mexico.

NFC West:

  • Arizona Cardinals: Named for the vibrant red cardinal bird, the state bird of Arizona.

  • Los Angeles Rams: Originally the Cleveland Rams, then the St. Louis Rams, and now Los Angeles Rams; the name reflects the image of a ram, symbolizing power and determination.

  • San Francisco 49ers: Named for the miners who participated in the California Gold Rush of 1849.

  • Seattle Seahawks: Represents the agility and grace of the seahawk, a fictional bird of prey.

Check out the other sport name rationale:

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