Jennifer Bubel

How The NFL Teams Got Their Names

The AFC Teams

The Bills were the Buffalo Bisons for one year in 1946 when they were part of the AAFC. It was changed to the Bills after William "Buffalo Bill" Cody.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills

622 of 20,000 votes in a 1965 contest for the AFL expansion team were for Dolphins. Owner Joe Robbie loved it because they're fast and smart.

AFC East

Miami Dolphins

They were the Boston Patriots until 1971 when they moved to Foxborough. Bay State Patriots was rejected, so they became New England Patriots.

AFC East

New England Patriots

They were the Titans until 1963 - their colors went from blue and gold to white and green, they moved to a nicer stadium, and they became the Jets.

AFC East

New York Jets

The Ravens name was chosen in 1996 as a tribute to Edgar Allen Poe, who wrote the poem "The Raven" while living in Baltimore.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

Founder Paul Brown chose Bengals in honor of a former pro team. "Buckeyes" was submitted by fans but rejected since Ohio State was already using it. 

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals

Founder of the Bengals, Paul Brown, also founded the Cleveland Browns, who named the team after him in 1945, despite wishes to the contrary.

AFC North

Cleveland Browns

In 1933, they were the Pirates after Pittsburgh's MLB team, but they changed it to the Steelers in 1940 to represent the city's steel industry.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers

Houston's 1999 expansion held a naming contest and the finalists were these: Bobcats, Stallions, Wildcatters, Apollos, and Texans. The owner chose Texans.

AFC South

Houston Texans

The 1947 AAFC Baltimore Colts were named for  horse breeding and racing in the city. In 1984, when they moved to Indianapolis, they kept the Colts name.

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts

The Jaguars name was chosen 2 years before Jacksonville was awarded its expansion team. Other finalists were Sharks, Stingrays, and Panthers.

AFC South

Jacksonville Jaguars

Originally  in Houston as the Oilers, they moved to Tennessee with the same name before changing to the Titans, to reflect strength, leadership, and heroic qualities.

AFC South

Tennessee Titans

The Broncos name was chosen in a fan contest in 1960 by the original AFL team. Denver also used to have a Broncos baseball team. 

AFC West

Denver Broncos

Originally the AFL Dallas Texans, they moved to Kansas City and the name Chiefs was chosen in a fan contest in 1963 in honor of owner "Chief" Lamar Hunt.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

The Oakland team had a brief stint as the Señors before changing to the Raiders, which they kept in Oakland, then LA, Oakland again, and Vegas.

AFC West

Las Vegas Raiders

Owner Barron Hilton liked the name because USC fans would yell "Charge" during games. They kept the name in LA, then San Diego, and back to LA.

AFC West

Las Angeles Chargers

Best kicker in the NFL and world-class opera singer


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