09 February 2016

How Team Names Travel: American Football

Since team franchises often are moved from one city to another, team names often move and are sometimes changed.

In 1936, Cleveland’s new AFL franchise decided to take its name from one of the top collegiate teams of the era, the Fordham Rams.

The Rams name stuck even with a move to Los Angeles in 1946. The team became the St. Louis Rams in 1995.

After more than a decade without a football team, Baltimore acquired an NFL team in 1996 when the Cleveland Browns relocated.

Owner Art Modell allowed the Browns’ name, colors and history to remain in Cleveland, so Baltimore set up focus groups and fan polls to decide on a new name. Baltimore Ravens was the winner, beating out Americans and Marauders. The name refers to the mythical bird in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven.” Poe lived and died in Baltimore.

When an NFL franchise was bought for Boston in 1933, the team was set to play at the home of the baseball Boston Braves so it adopted the same name. The following year, the Braves moved to Fenway Park and changed their name to the Redskins. The Redskins name traveled with the team to become the Washington Redskins.

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