Published on October 20th 2010 by Leon Shepherd

This list consists of my “Top 10 Favorite NFL Team Nicknames”. There are two things to consider when viewing the list. Number 1, the list is based solely on how catchy and memorable the nickname of the team, not which team was better, or more dominant. And number 2, to be considered for the top 10, a team had to have at least 2 African-American standouts that helped popularize the nickname of the team. Therefore nicknames such as, “No-Name Defense”, “Orange Crush”, and several others were excluded. So, without further ado, let the top 10 debate begin.



 10. The Dirty Birds



 ”Dirty Birds” was the nickname of the 1998 Atlanta Falcons (but is still used to this day to describe the Falcons). The name originates from an endzone dance started by Jamal Anderson that was adopted by all the players upon scoring.



9. The Fun Bunch



“The Fun Bunch” was the nickname for the wide receivers and tight ends of the Washington Redskins of the National Football League during the early 1980s. Known for their choreographed group celebrations in the end zone (usually a group high-five) following a touchdown, the Fun Bunch’s actions eventually resulted in a league-wide ban of “excessive celebration” in 1984. The members of the Fun Bunch included the Redskins’ wide receivers Art Monk, Virgil Seay, Charlie Brown, and Alvin Garrett, and tight ends Rick Walker, and Don Warren. Each won a Super Bowl with the Redskins, and three were chosen for the Pro Bowl. Art Monk was recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 


8.  Air Coryell 


 Nickname given to the high powered passing offenses of the early 1980s San Diego Chargers, led by quarterback Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow, and Charlie Joiner. The name specifically refers to San Diego’s 1981 season coached by Don Coryell.


7. The Greatest Show on Turf 


 “The Greatest Show on Turf” was the nickname for the St. Louis Rams  offense during the 1999, 2000, and 2001 National Football League seasons. The offense employed a high-scoring attack designed by offensive coordinator Mike Martz. The offense relied on getting all five receivers out into patterns that stretched the field, setting up defensive backs with route technique, and the quarterback throwing to a spot on time where the receiver could make the catch and turn up field. This explosive offense featured Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, and Terry Holt.



6. The “Monsters of the Midway”


The “Monsters of the Midway” is most widely known as the nickname for the National Football League’s Chicago Bears—particularly in 1985. That year the Bears went 15–1 in the regular season. In the playoffs the Bears posted two shutouts against the New York Giants (21–0) and the Los Angeles Rams (24–0). This culminated in the Super Bowl, wherein they defeated the New England Patriots 46–10. The 1985 Bears defense was ranked first in the NFL in points allowed and yards allowed, naturally making them first in defense overall. The team’s starting middle linebacker, linebacker Mike Singletary was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year and the UPI Defensive NFC Player of the Year. Running back Walter Payton won the NFC Offensive Player of the Year, head coach Mike Ditka was named NFL Coach of the Year and defensive end Richard Dent was named Super Bowl MVP.


 5. Doomsday Defense 


The 1970s Dallas Cowboys defensive team. Doomsday I, the unit that led the Cowboys to victory in Super Bowl VI, was anchored by future Pro Football Hall of Fame members Herb Adderley, Bob Lilly, and Mel Renfro, while Doomsday II, which spearheaded the drive to the title in Super Bowl XII, featured Hall of Famer Randy White and fellow defensive linemen Harvey Martin and Ed “Too Tall” Jones.



4. America’s Team



 Nickname given to the Dallas Cowboys for having a large number of fans outside its The term America’s Team is a popular nickname in American sports that most often refers to the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. The nickname originated with the team’s 1978 highlight film, where the narrator opens with the following introduction: They appear on television so often that their faces are as familiar to the public as presidents and movie stars. They are the Dallas Cowboys, “America’s Team.”



3. The Fearsome Foursome


The “Fearsome Foursome” was a title first used in reporting American Professional Football, when referring to the dominating defensive lines of the San Diego Chargers of the American Football League in the early 1960s, the New York Giants, Detroit Lions and most widely, the Los Angeles Rams of the 1960s and 1970s. The 1960s Los Angeles Rams defensive line consisted of Rosie Grier, Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen and Lamar Lundy.



2. The Purple People Eaters 


 Purple People Eaters is a term for the defensive line of the Minnesota Vikings from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. The term was coined due to the superb efficiency of the defense and the color of their uniforms. The Purple People Eaters motto was “Meet at the quarterback.” The 1970s Minnesota Vikings defensive line, specifically the combination of Alan Page, Jim Marshall, Carl Eller, and Gary Larsen. In 1969, All Four members of the Vikings front line made the Pro Bowl. The Vikings were ranked the number one overall Defense and led the league with least points given up and sacked the opposing quarterback 50 times. In 1971, the Vikings defense was so dominant, that Defensive tackle Alan Page was voted NFL MVP and defensive end Carl Eller was voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year.



1. The Steel Curtain


The 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers defensive team considered to be one of the most dominant defenses in the history of the NFL, primarily because in 1978 the league had to make rule changes for offenses to be able to combat the Steel Curtain. These rules included allowing offensive linemen to use their hands to block pass rushers like “Mean” Joe Greene, and restricting defensive backs like Mel Blount from being able to bump receivers more than 5 yards past the line of scrimmage (as DB’s had been allowed to do before). In 1976 during a 9 game stretch, the Steel Curtain allowed only 28 points, including 5 shut-outs. The Steel Curtain of the ’70s produced 4 Hall of Fame players (more than any of the vaunted defensive units of the time): Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Joe Greene, and Mel Blount. LC Greenwood and Donnie Shell have both been Hall of Fame finalists several times.




Sports | Comments (10)

10 Responses to “Top 10 Favorite NFL Team Nicknames”

  1. Shack Says:

    Not just because he was a relative but the Late Great Dwight White’s name as well as Ernie Holmes since they helped comprise the “Steel Curtain”

  2. grapevine Says:

    Leon, here a couple of names that could make this list “Cardiac Cards”, St Louis Cardinals of the early to mid 70′s, “The Electric Company” name given to the 70′s Buffalo Bills offensive line, because they turned on the juice for OJ.

  3. Shack Says:

    Thx.for putting together such a nice list!
    I also recall the Hogs, the Over the Hill Gang (Redskins)and the Dog Pound/House (Cleveland)

  4. Leon Says:

    Thanks, it was fun putting the list together.
    And yes, the Hogs, the Over the Hill Gang, The Dog Pound, The Electric Company, Cardiac Cards, many others had nice nicknames, but they were not considered because they did not meet the criteria stated in the introduction.

  5. Lenora Dorsey Says:

    I did not know any or did not remember any of these nicknames. Awesome list!

  6. Rod Moore Says:

    Whats up fellas. Been on vacation the past 3 wks so I’ve been out of place (no leon I didnt encounter the “why are you packing so much” conundrum) lol. Next year for sure. Cant add to this list that already hasnt been said but what about the dome patrol for the saints? Yeah I know its the saints. One more even though it doesnt meet the critera but the new york sack exchange was totally cool. Peace

  7. Leon Says:

    Thanks Lenora!

  8. grapevine Says:

    Leon, The Electric Company featured, OJ Simpsom, Reggie Mckenzie, JD Hill (All African Americans), The Cardiac Cards featured Mel Gray, Terry Metcalf, Sid Edwards, (All African Americans). Both names are catchy, so they do meet the criteria. Besides, other than Art Monk, everybody else on the FunBunch are a bunch of nobodies.

  9. Leon Says:

    Grapevine, The Electric Company, as you stated in a previous comment, was a name given to the 70′s Buffalo Bills offensive line There was only one African American on that line, Reggie Mckenzie. Therefore, the nickname does not qualify for the list.

    The Cardiac Cards meet the criteria.

    And, the members of the Fun Bunch included the Redskins’ wide receivers Art Monk, Virgil Seay, Charlie Brown, and Alvin Garrett, and tight ends Rick Walker, and Don Warren. Each won a Super Bowl with the Redskins, and three were chosen for the Pro Bowl.

  10. Shack Says:

    A bit of clarification (sometimes I am rushed and don’t make complete sentences) On Comment#1 I was stating the names of two AA players whose names wern’t included in the write-up (White & Holmes).

    Comment#3- wasn’t attempting to include them in this EXCELLENT TT…was just thinking of a couple of team nicknames i could remember.