List of All Team Names in NFL History

I’m going back to my team name penchant for this post.  I’m not sure why, but team names (and their history) are a bit of a fascination for me.  There are 80 separate and distinct franchises that are recognized as having played in, and been part of, the NFL.  Of those franchises, 76 different team names have been used.  This post includes an alphabetical list of every one of them.  (See below.)

The awesome logo of the NFL Brooklyn Tigers (1944-1945)

The awesome logo of the NFL Brooklyn Tigers (1944-1945)

The name that’s been the most popular in the NFL, and used more often than any other, is the Tigers.  Five franchises have used this name.  The Chicago Tigers were among the first.  The Chicago franchise played in only the 1920 season before folding.  The Cleveland Tigers also played in 1920, changed their name to the Indians in 1921, only to go “belly-up” prior to the ’22 season.  The Detroit Tigers joined the NFL in 1921 – their one and only season.  A Columbus franchise used the moniker during the 1923-1926 seasons.  Lastly, the Brooklyn Dodgers changed their name to the Tigers in 1944, merged with the Boston Yanks for the 1945 season, and then folded before the 1946 season began.

A few team names caught my eye.  The Louisville Brecks are one, probably because I didn’t know what the heck a ‘Breck’ was.  After some research, I learned that it’s short for Breckenridges, and the team was officially known as the Louisville Breckenridge Club.  The name Breckenridge is taken from former United States Vice President from Kentucky, John C. Breckinridge.  (I’m not sure why the two are spelled slightly differently.  It’s very odd.  You’ll even find both spellings on a map of Louisville.  For example, Breckinridge Inn is located on Breckenridge Lane.  It’s enough to bring a blog poster to drink!)

The Duluth Eskimos were the first NFL team to put team logos on the sides of their helmets.

The Duluth Eskimos were the first NFL team to put team logos on the sides of their helmets.

Another odd team name was the Duluth Kelleys.  Actually their official name was the Kelley Duluths, with the name coming from the Kelley-Duluth Hardware Store.  The Duluth franchise played under the name Kelleys for the 1923-1925 seasons.  In 1926 the franchise name was changed to the Duluth Eskimos.  Well, again, that’s not totally accurate.  Their actual name was Ernie Nevers’ Eskimos, named after their star player, Ernie Nevers.  An incidental side note: The Duluth Eskimos were the first NFL team to sport a team logo on the sides of their helmets – an igloo.

The St. Louis Gunners' team colors were red, white, and blue.

The St. Louis Gunners’ team colors were red, white, and blue.

With all the recent clamor for more strict gun control legislation, the St. Louis Gunners would not be very politically correct nowadays.  The name was taken from their sponsor, the 126th Field Artillery unit of the Missouri National Guard.  The club was originally called the Batter A Gunners, and their team colors were a patriotic red, white, and blue.

The Tonawanda Kardex hailed from a suburb of Buffalo, NY, called (you guessed it) Tonawanda.  Their team’s name was taken from their sponsor, American Kardex, an office supply company that is still in business today.  Perhaps Tonawanda’s biggest claim to fame is that their stint in the NFL was the shortest in league history.  They played one NFL game on November 26, 1921, and the results were a disastrous 45-0 loss to the Rochester Jeffersons.

A guy could get carried away exploring the history of NFL team names.  The more I look, the more interesting information I seem to find.  The best part is that it will be a very long time before I exhaust all the potential topics that I can address for this blog.  You can be sure I’ll be covering more NFL team name/franchise history in the future.

That will do it for this post.  As always, run to daylight.

The 76 team names that have been used in the NFL:

  1. 49ers (San Francisco)
  2. All-Americans (Buffalo)
  3. All-Stars (St Louis)
  4. Badgers (Milwaukee)
  5. Bears (Chicago)
  6. Bengals (Cincinnati)
  7. Bills (Buffalo)
  8. Bisons (Buffalo)
  9. Blues (Hartford, Kansas City)
  10. Braves (Boston)
  11. Brecks (Louisville)
  12. Broncos (Denver)
  13. Browns (Cleveland)
  14. Buccaneers (Los Angeles, Tampa Bay)
  15. Bulldogs (Boston, Canton, Cleveland, New York)
  16. Cardinals (Arizona, Chicago, Phoenix, St Louis)
  17. Celts (Cincinnati)
  18. Chargers (Los Angeles, San Diego)
  19. Chiefs (Kansas City)
  20. Colonels (Louisville)
  21. Colts (Baltimore, Indianapolis)
  22. Cowboys (Dallas, Kansas City)
  23. Crimson Giants (Evansville)
  24. Dodgers (Brooklyn)
  25. Dolphins (Miami)
  26. Eagles (Philadelphia)
  27. Eskimos (Duluth)
  28. Falcons (Atlanta)
  29. Flyers (Muncie)
  30. Giants (New York)
  31. Gunners (St Louis)
  32. Heralds (Detroit)
  33. Independents (Rock Island)
  34. Indians (Akron, Cleveland, Oorang)
  35. Jaguars (Jacksonville)
  36. Jeffersons (Rochester)
  37. Jets (New York)
  38. Kardex (Tonawanda)
  39. Kelleys (Duluth)
  40. Legion (Racine)
  41. Lions (Brooklyn, Detroit)
  42. Marines (Minneapolis)
  43. Maroons (Kenosha, Pottsville, Toledo)
  44. Oilers (Houston, Tennessee)
  45. Packers (Green Bay)
  46. Panhandles (Columbus)
  47. Panthers (Carolina, Detroit)
  48. Patriots (Boston, New England)
  49. Pirates (Pittsburgh)
  50. Pros (Akron, Hammond)
  51. Raiders (Los Angeles, Oakland)
  52. Rams (Cleveland, Los Angeles, St Louis)
  53. Rangers (Buffalo)
  54. Ravens (Baltimore)
  55. Red Jackets (Minneapolis)
  56. Reds (Cincinnati)
  57. Redskins (Boston, Washington)
  58. Saints (New Orleans)
  59. Seahawks (Seattle)
  60. Senators (Washington)
  61. Spartans (Portsmouth)
  62. Staleys (Chicago, Decatur)
  63. Stapes (Staten Island)
  64. Stapletons (Staten Island)
  65. Steam Roller (Providence)
  66. Steelers (Pittsburgh)
  67. Texans (Dallas, Houston)
  68. Tigers (Brooklyn, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit)
  69. Titans (New York, Tennessee)
  70. Tornadoes (Newark, Orange, Racine)
  71. Triangles (Dayton)
  72. Vikings (Minnesota)
  73. Wolverines (Detroit)
  74. Yankees (New York)
  75. Yanks (Boston, New York)
  76. Yellow Jackets (Frankford)


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