28 July 2008

MLS in Atlanta. What's in a Name?

Cobb Snobs. Gwinnett Traffic Jammers. Atlanta Flamers…ahem…these are few of the names (obviously tongue in cheek) that I’ve seen bouncing around several message boards of late as MLS expansion continues to be a hot topic.

I know I'm being unrealistically optimistic, but let's spend a few moments talking about team names. While the old storied clubs in Europe tended to be founded with their city names in the title and usually some other rather bland moniker such as "United" or "Football Club", American sports teams have historically picked up the name of some ferocious beast (Bears or Dolphins - ok, not Dolphins), city themed mascot (Packers, Patriots, Pistons), clothing articles (Sox – either White or Red), or the ever popular ethnically cleansed minority of the region (Chiefs, Braves, Redskins).

With that, we have a couple of years to think about the name of our MLS team in Atlanta, so let's get to it.

Atlanta's USL team, the Silverbacks, took their name from one of the city's great icons, the world famous silverback gorilla at the Atlanta Zoo, Willie B, who in turn was named for former mayor, William Berry Hartsfield.

I’ve heard the Atlanta Phoenix, which I get – rising out of the ashes and all that – and that might work until Phoenix gets a team - which might make it awkward when Phoenix play the Phoenix.

Atlanta is not a maritime city, but there were a lot of major ferry crossings along the Chattahoochee River. Hmmm, somehow I don't think the Atlanta Ferries are going to strike fear in the hearts of their enemies.

We could just copy what has worked for Europe and go with the obvious:
Atlanta Football Club (Atlanta FC)
Atlanta United

I also like the idea of looking in to Atlanta’s military history (ignoring the part where we were burned to the ground), so I’ll throw out:
Atlanta Rail Riders
Atlanta Light Guard
Atlanta Old Guard
Atlanta Grays
Atlanta Rebels (well, New York has the Yankees)
Atlanta Regulars
Atlanta Bell Bombers (nod to the Marietta plant's role in WWII)

The city is also known as a major transportation hub, so we could go with the more modern:
Atlanta International (we are home of Hartsfield/Jackson after all)
Atlanta Transporters (well, Jason Statham plays for Hollywood FC)
Atlanta Browns (sorry Cleveland, we are the home of UPS)

And finally there are the idiosyncratic New South emblems such as:
Atlanta Kudzu
Atlanta Rappers (we are home of So So Def Recordings you know)
Atlanta Coyotes (I realize we're back to animals, but I have a ton around my house and they are, if only slightly, more intimidating than deer or rabbits)
Atlanta Creed (shout out to Paul Gaston for that one)

Well, that’s quite enough from me and at the end of the day, it will most likely be up to Arthur Blank or whoever ends up bankrolling the eventual Peach State side.

But if you could choose the name for Atlanta's next major sports franchise, what would you pick?


Anonymous said...

Atlanta FC is already here. The club is a member of the NPSL.

Gruffgoat said...

Goes to show that even I have a lot to learn! Is NPSL amateur or professional? Just spent a few minutes on NPSL's website and I'm wondering how the heck do these guys afford to travel all over the country.

Anonymous said...

NPSL is amateur. Look Atlanta FC up on google. They have a Wiki page as well as Myspace.