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XFL names much better this time


The XFL announced its team names on Wednesday – Bob Stoops will coach the Dallas Renegades, and I’ve got to say, the XFL is showing signs of growing up from the frat-house mentality it showed in 2001, its first excursion into a spring pro football league.

The new XFL’s other names are the New York Guardians, the D.C. Defenders, the Tampa Bay Vipers, the Los Angeles Wildcats, the Seattle Dragons, the St. Louis BattleHawks and the Houston Roughnecks.

Not great. Not terrible. And a lot better than the names of the XFL I teams.

The original XFL included the Birmingham Thunderbolts, the Chicago Enforcers, the New York/New Jersey Hitmen, the Orlando Rage, the Las Vegas Outlaws, the Los Angeles Xtreme, the Memphis Maniax and the San Francisco Demons.

The XFL was trying to be edgy, and edgy were those names. Hitmen? Enforcers? Maniax? Demons? Was this a football league or the groups banished to some penal colony?

The new XFL is much better.

Dallas Renegades: maybe the closest thing to the original XFL, since a renegade is not necessarily all that endearing. “A person who deserts and betrays an organization, country or set of beliefs.” But it sounds rather cool, sort of like the Mavericks.

New York Guardians: I sort of like it. Harkens back to the Guardian Angels, the crime-prevention organization that was founded in New York in 1979. And to some Batman comics, where the Guardians of Gotham were a recurring theme.

D.C. Defenders: Uh, no. I like Avengers better than defenders.

Tampa Bay Vipers: People have a phobia about snakes, so this probably won’t be too popular. I always thought the Thunder should have been named the Spiders, but the same problem exists. The Arizona Diamondbacks are the only major-league snake team.

The Los Angeles Wildcats: This name has been widely panned, but it is cool for two reasons. A) LA is cursed with a bunch of names that don’t fit. The Brooklyn Dodgers and the Minneapolis Lakers kept the names when they moved to LaLa Land, even though Dodger was germane to Brooklyn – residents who jumped out of the way of trolleys were called “trolley Dodgers – and Laker was germane to Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes. So Wildcats seems OK. B) Wildcats is the most common American mascot that hasn’t made its way to major-league status. Think of all the Wildcats you know. Kentucky, Kansas State, Arizona, Northwestern, Villanova, Davidson. All are the Wildcats. Good for Los Angeles to get such a classy name.

Seattle Dragons: I like it. I’ve always liked the Purcell Dragons. I like this. And all those flying dragons on “Game of Thrones” have made dragons cool again.

Houston Roughnecks: Excellent name, befitting Houston’s oil heritage. Wildcatters would have been good, too, but you can’t have Wildcatters and Wildcats in the same league.

St. Louis BattleHawks: I have no idea what a battlehawk is. So I looked it up. Wikipedia says battlehawk could refer to The Battlehawks, a fictional fighter squadron in the video game “Secret Weapons Over Normandy;” Battlehawks 1942, a video game; the Battlehawk, a fictional aircraft carrier featured in the television series “Terrahawks;” Battle Hawk, a Japanese television series; or Battlehawk, a drone capable of being backpack carried, directed to targets, and delivering explosives.”

Related Photos
Mick Cornett listens to Bob Stoops during a media conference before the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame ceremony at Riverwind Casino in Norman Monday, August 12, 2019. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]

Mick Cornett listens to Bob Stoops during a media conference before the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame ceremony at Riverwind Casino in Norman Monday, August 12, 2019. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a544ea9b5e49d2c400cf7d08cc52e728.jpg" alt="Photo - Mick Cornett listens to Bob Stoops during a media conference before the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame ceremony at Riverwind Casino in Norman Monday, August 12, 2019. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]" title="Mick Cornett listens to Bob Stoops during a media conference before the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame ceremony at Riverwind Casino in Norman Monday, August 12, 2019. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>Mick Cornett listens to Bob Stoops during a media conference before the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame ceremony at Riverwind Casino in Norman Monday, August 12, 2019. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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