The most American sport, the game that the world identifies
The NFL is comprised of 32 professional football teams, each of which is designated by their location and a team name. Here are a few selected NFL teams and the stories behind their team names.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs started out in the American Football League (AFL) as the Dallas Texans when owner Lamar Hunt was originally denied an expansion franchise by the NFL. Just a few years later, the Texans were relocated to Kansas City, Missouri, and a contest was held for a new team name. The Kansas City Mayor at the time, Harold Roe Bartle, was known as “The Chief” — and his efforts to bring the team to KC inspired fans to name the team the Kansas City Chiefs.
Green Bay Packers
Located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Green Bay Packers are the third-oldest franchise in the NFL — they started play in 1919. The team was founded by Earl “Curly” Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun. Lambeau asked his employer, the Indian Packing Company, to help fund uniforms for the team, who was subsequently named after their first sponsor.
The Oakland Raiders are not the only team to have been named by a public naming contest. The first-place winner was the Oakland Señors, but this fell out of favor after becoming the butt of local jokes and accusations of the contest being fixed began to fly. Ultimately the third-place winner, the Oakland Raiders, was chosen.
The Chicago Bears started out as the Decatur Staleys after they were established as the company team of the A. E. Staley food starch company. They relocated to Chicago, where (after a short stint as the Chicago Staleys) they were ultimately renamed the Chicago Bears — team officials were inspired by the city’s baseball team name, the Chicago Cubs.
The team was officially named the Minnesota Vikings in 1960, in part to signify Minnesota and its place in Scandinavian-American culture.
An earlier Philadelphia NFL franchise, the Frankford Yellow Jackets, went bankrupt, and a new team took over the assets of the former team. Founders Lud Wray and Bert Bell drew inspiration from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s National Recovery Act symbol, which featured a prominent blue eagle.