Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Five Best NFL Player Names EVER!

Their on-field performances may range from decent to outstanding, but when it comes to the LOLZ, all of these guys are first ballot Hall of Famers...


This season, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will take the backfield for the Green Bay Packers. While the Alabama cornerback's moniker sounds like something Mad Magazine made up (or perhaps even a belittling remark from Monica Lewinski), the frank reality is that within the pantheon of pro-football names, Mr. Clinton-Dix is hardly an oddity. In fact, looking at the the NFL history books, that's hardly even a front runner for best-sounding name.

Just in time for the start of the pro football season, I present for your consideration my countdown of the five best NFL player names ever...

#005
T.J. Houshmandzadeh
(pronounced "Tee-Jay Hoosh-Man-Za-Duh")

With a name so goddamned long even "Madden" can't fit it on a virtual jersey, the Hoosh was a Pro Bowl wide out for the Cincinnati Bengals who started sucking and ended his career hopping from doomed franchise to doomed franchise before finally retiring as an Oakland Raider in 2011. He currently holds the Bengals' record for most receptions in a single season, with an impressive 112 catches in 2007.

Half African and half Iranian, his last name roughly translates into "son of wisdom," which is pretty fitting since he's a high school dropout. Of course, proving physical ability trumps IQ, he wound up kicking ass on a junior college team and thusly earning a free ride to Oregon State University while some really smart Asian immigrant that would've cured cancer wound up working at Sizzler's instead.

It's also worth noting that he once boycotted Electronic Arts because he thought his player rating in "Madden '10" was too low. And for those of you curious about Mr. Hosuhmandzadeh's initials? It actually don't stand for shit, since his full first name is the rather mystifying "Touraj."

#004
Manu Tuiasosopo
(pronounced "Man-Eww Two-Eee-Oz-Ah-So-Poe")

Manu is sort of like Johnny Appleseed, only instead of planting trees, he keeps populating the planet with really talented, yet underperforming, offspring. Two of his sons, Marques and Matt, are one-time Raiders who did very, very poorly at quarterbacking and fullbacking, respectively. His other son, Zach, is an infielder for the White Sox. Or is it the Mariners now? Eh, I don't really have the time or energy to look it up on the ESPN website, so never mind.

Starting off as a defensive lineman for the Seahawks in 1979, Manu wound up sitting on a San Francisco 49ers squad that won the Super Bowl in the early 1980s. With 9 and half sacks over 119 games and a lone, piddly 22-yard interception, its rather safe to say that Mr. Tuiasosopo, depsite his championship ring, had anything but a storied career in the pros.

Per the Wikipedia, he's still in the Seattle area, where he was last seen coaching a high school line in Redmond. Oh, and if the name "Tuiasosopo" sounds hauntingly familiar, it should -- Manu's nephew, Ronaiah, is the jealous Samoan homosexual largely credited with starting the scandalous "Manti Te'o dead girlfriend" hoax a few years back.

#003 
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
(pronounced "Kuh-Beer Guh-Ba-Ha-Bee-Uh-Mill-Uh")

Lovingly referred to as "KGB" by American fans that are afraid of anything Moslem-sounding, the one-time Pro Bowler and all-time sack leader for the Green Bay Packers actually has one of the League's more interesting back stories.

Raised a Sunni Muslim, KGB started an organic food company while he was still in high school. After launching a successful salad dressing line throughout Southern Cal, KGB played at San Diego State and got picked up by the Pack in the 2000 draft. He retired in 2008.

He converted to Christianity his rookie pro season (I'm guessing Reggie White may or may not have had something to do with that), and started a fund for Wisconsin's homeless and helped arrange a very Doug Ramsey-like "Christian finance" gatherting at Lambeau Field in 2007. Per the Wiki, he adheres to a "Leviticus diet" to this day, which I'm assuming means he only eats fruit out of trees he's known for more than three years. His younger brother Akbar, rather ironically, didn't play all that great in his brief five-year NFL career.

Oh, and if you're wondering? His last name means "big man come save me," which is actually a reference to his great-great-grandfather, who allegedly was an Andre the Giant sized Leviathan who used to run around Nigeria helping villagers resolve disputes.

#002 
Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala
(pronounced "Kris Foo-Mott-Eww-Maw-Ah-Fall-Ah")

Growing up in Oahu, Mr. Ma'afala lived in what was more or less the slummiest part of Hawaii. He would go on to be a star fullback at the University of Utah before becoming a sixth round pick for the Steelers in 1998.

A decent ball-carrier, he would sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2003 and retire a year later. Fans were fond of cheering him on with a thunderous "Foo" chant, whereas famed TV personality and all-around piece of shit Chris Berman celebrated him with the nickname "One Bad Ma'fala" -- presumably, because his surname sounds like someone with a lisp trying to say "mother fucker."

According to the Wikipedia, today Ma'afala resides in Honolulu, where he runs a sports camp for army brats and plays racquetball with old people, He also runs a separate camp for at-risk youth, whom I assume he reprimands by forcing them to spell his name left-handed or some shit.

#001 
Dick "Night Train" Lane
(pronounced "Bad Mother-Fucker")

In the old Street & Smith season preview magazines, they used to list all of League record holders in the back. As a testament to just how great Dick "Night Train" Lane's name was, they included his full nickname in his entry -- the only player in the entire publication to receive such an honor.

Whereas the exotic qualities of the also-rans on this list are pretty much the reason for their inclusion on the countdown, it's the blunt manliness of Dick "Night Train" Lane's namesake that rocketed it to the undisputed title as best pro football name ever. The name "Dick Lane" alone just reeks of testosterone, the kind of moniker that could serve a pro wrestler and a porn star equally well.  With "Night Train" as  an addendum, the cornerback's name is transformed into the linguistic equivalent of a gun that shoots knives -- a title so unbelievably manly, it literally rapes you a little every time you speak it.

Of course, Mr. Lane more than lived up to his vaunted moniker. Like Superman, he came into this world an abandoned infant, eschewed junior college to fight in Korea and just goddamn walked on to to the field one day because he was bored with his job and motherfucking got a starting position from it. He would then proceed to break the NFL record for most interceptions in a single season his rookie year, get selected to eight Pro Bowls, become enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and pioneer a deadly, neck snapping tackling technique forever known as "the Night Train Necktie."

But the best part about the name? As unbelievably ferocious a player Lane was, the nickname is actually derived from his own fear of flying -- hence "Night Train" is a reference to his preferred form of transportation to away games, and not a nod to how hard he knocked the fuck out of people for a living.

And in that, there's something so intrinsically beautiful, I could almost weep.

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