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List of NFL nicknames

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The following nicknames are given to a unit (defensive, offensive and special teams) or a secondary nickname given to some teams used to describe a style of play or attitude of teams at times in accordance with phrases in popular culture of the time. They are not the official franchise nicknames of the National Football League (NFL). Since the NFL's inception in 1920, players, coaches, team executives, league officials and football games have earned nicknames based on either individual achievements, team achievements, historical events, etc.

Teams and units

Nicknames for entire teams, whole offensive units, defensive units or special teams. Names marked by asterix (*) is listed for team nicknames that may have been coined by team members or local media, but never became well known to the public outside of the teams media market for a multitude of reasons, but most likely due to poor performance. As the nickname becomes earned on deeds accomplished on the gridiron.

  • Crunch Bunch:The 1981–83 New York Giants linebacking corps noted for their hard-hitting play and for generating many quarterback sacks, Taylor in particular. Mario Sestito of Troy, New York is credited with coining the name after a NY Giants newsletter at the time called 'Inside Football' held a contest to name this defensive unit.
  • Da Bears:[20] Slang nickname given to the Chicago Bears made popular by the Bill Swerski's Superfans sketches of the early 1990s on Saturday Night Live. Sometimes used to retroactively refer to the 1985 Bears.
  • The Deadskins: Given to the Washington Redskins squads under Daniel Snyder ownership for the team's poor performances.


Nicknames for individual players, coaches and personnel.

Nickname Player(s) Description
A-Train[66] Mike Alstott How he was as difficult to tackle as a freight train; "A" is a reference to his surname initial
AB or Tony-Toe Tap Antonio Brown His initials and his alter ego for making catches on the sideline.
Ageless Wonder[67][68] Darrell Green His remarkable ability to maintain a high level of play during the latter years of his 20-year career.
Air McNair[69] Steve McNair Originally given to his older brother, McNair earned it due to his impressive throwing talent
Alabama Antelope Don Hutson Went to college at Alabama. Was a star receiver
Chicken Parm Donald Parham From a common mispronunciation of his last name
All Day[70] or AD / AP Adrian Peterson Given to him by his parents because he would run "all day" / His initials
Amblin' Amby[71] Ambrose Schindler Schindler was one of the earliest scrambling quarterbacks. He chose not to play in the NFL despite being selected in the 1940 NFL Draft, but would later return to professional football as an official in the 1960s.
Amish Rifle[72] Ryan Fitzpatrick Fitzpatrick has regularly grown a thick beard over the course of the football season, drawing comparisons to the Amish, who have a large community south of Buffalo, where he was playing at the time the name was bestowed in 2010.
Anytime[73] Devin Hester His ability to return kicks and punts for touchdowns any time. Inspired from his mentor Deion "Prime Time" Sanders.
The Assassin[74] Jack Tatum Given for his pure brutality.
Bad Man Aaron Rodgers Invented by Stephen A. Smith
Bad Moon[75] Andre Rison Given nickname by ESPN's Chris Berman in reference to CCR's song "Bad Moon Rising".
BallSoHard/T Sizzle[76] Terrell Suggs Suggs claims that the reason he plays so toughly and aggressively is because he went to BallSoHard University; however, he did admit in an interview during the 2011 NFL season that he got the name from the commonly known lyric in the Jay-Z song "Niggas in Paris", feat. Kanye West.
Ball Hawk[77] Ed Reed Reed was always there to make a play on the ball (i.e. pass defense or interception).
Bam Bam[78] Kam Chancellor For his devastatingly big hitting ability. Also referred to as 'Kamtrack' and 'Kam Chancellor the Touchdown Canceller'.
Bambi[79] Lance Alworth For his speed, and his spectacular and graceful moves.
Beanie[80][81] Chris Wells and Veryl Ebert
Beast Mode[82] Marshawn Lynch He used this term to describe himself during an interview; afterward, fans continued to use the term. Lynch later named his Fan Controlled Football franchise the Beasts in homage to the nickname.
Big Baller Beane[83] Brandon Beane Given to him during his time as Bills GM in the 2020s for his popularity with the team's players. The phrase "Big Baller B—" was originally popularized in 2016 by the Big Baller Brand founded by LaVar Ball.[84]
Big Ben[85] Ben Roethlisberger His imposing size; a nod to the large Big Ben structure in London.
Big Daddy[86] Dan Wilkinson His 6′5″, 340 lb frame
Big Daddy[87] Gene Lipscomb At 6′9″ and 290 lb, Lipscomb, a professional wrestler during the offseason, was one of the largest players in professional football during the 1950s.
Big Dick Nick Nick Foles Connor Barwin once stated that Foles had the largest penis on the Eagles roster.[88] The moniker became more used following Foles' improbable playoff run, culminating in the Eagles' first Super Bowl victory.[89]
Big Game[90] Torry Holt Goes back to his college career at North Carolina State when he had great performances in games, such as against No. 2 ranked Florida State. He also set rookie Super Bowl records for receptions and receiving yards in Super Bowl XXXIV .
Big Snack[91] Casey Hampton Apparent reference to his large size and penchant for eating
Bill Belicheat Bill Belichick Nickname given due to Spygate and several other Patriots scandals.
Black Unicorn[92] Martellus Bennett
Blitz Boy[93] Jamal Adams His tendency to blitz despite being a safety
Blonde Bomber[94] Terry Bradshaw His blond hair, combined with his tendencies to throw the ball down the field, hence "bomber".
Blood[95] John McNally Inspired by the film Blood and Sand, McNally took the first name to hide his identity while he first went professional, hoping someday to return to college football (he never did).
Boobie[96] Anthony Dixon The nickname comes from Boobie Miles, a character from Friday Night Lights, and was bestowed by his teammates in college.
Brass[97] Erik Kramer In his first play from scrimmage for the Detroit Lions, Kramer, the Lions' backup quarterback at the time, audibled out of the originally called play, prompting a teammate to remark about his audacity that he must have "brass balls."
Brickwall[98] Ray Lewis Lewis had the ability to hit players very hard and often injured them: many players compared one of Lewis's hits to the feeling of running into a brick wall.
Broadway Joe[99] Joe Namath Reference to the wide avenue that ran through New York, the city where he played QB with the New York Jets. An allusion to Broadway theater, Namath was known for his showmanship.
Breesus[100] Drew Brees Play on Brees's last name and his perception as the savior of Saints Football.
Brooklyn Bullet[101] Abraham Barshofsky The Russian Jewish immigrant spent his childhood in Brooklyn, and also went by the anglicized name "Johnny Barsha."[102]
Buck[103] Javorius Allen His high school teammates referred to him as "young buck" as he was a freshman on the varsity team.
Bullet Bob[104] Bob Hayes Reference to his incredible speed - won two gold medals and set world record in the 100 m at 1964 Summer Olympics.
Bum[105] Oial "Bum" Phillips A contraction of "bumblebee," based on his aunt's thick southern accent (common to many others in the Phillips family including his son Wade Phillips and grandson Wes Phillips)
Burner[106] Michael Turner Given both because of his ability to break long runs and because it rhymes with his last name. Got the name in college.
The Bus[107] Jerome Bettis Because of his ability to carry tacklers on his back like a "bus".
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid[108] Larry Csonka & Jim Kiick Miami Dolphins running back duo from 1968 to 1974; named after the movie about the famous outlaws.
Cadillac[109] Carnell Williams A high school broadcaster at Etowah High School in Attalla, Alabama compared Williams' running to a luxury car.
Captain Checkdown[110] Trent Edwards Name given to quarterback Trent Edwards for his refusal to throw the deep ball, preferring instead to dump off to running backs or tight ends.
Captain Chaos[111] Chris Cooley Adapted from Dom DeLuise's character in The Cannonball Run; possibly due to shared initials.
Captain Kirk[112] Kirk Cousins Nickname adapted from the Star Trek character James Kirk.
Captain Comeback[113] Roger Staubach Name given to quarterback Roger Staubach during his career with the Dallas Cowboys during the 1970s for his ability to bring back his team from being down during important games. Also referred to as Captain America for his strong old fashioned beliefs, likening him to the comic book hero.
CJ2K Chris Johnson Given to him after rushing for over 2,000 yards during the 2009 season.
Comeback Kid Joe Montana Nickname given for his affinity for having comeback wins during his career.
Concrete Charlie[114] Chuck Bednarik Bednarik worked as a concrete salesman during the NFL's offseason and was known for his hard hits and persistent endurance.
Crazy Legs[115] Elroy Hirsch Named for his unusual running style.
Crystal Chandelier[116] Chris Chandler Was plagued by concussions and injuries, referencing his presumed fragility
DangeRuss Russell Wilson For his playmaking ability.
Danny Dimes[117] Daniel Jones Coined by his team's (the New York Giants) social media department, allegedly for his ability to throw a football with precision as narrow as a dime.
David W. Gibson[118] Joe Montana A contestant in a San Francisco Chronicle contest to give Montana a nickname noted that Montana's real name sounded too much like a nickname and suggested the realistic-sounding "David W. Gibson" as an alternative. Montana was so amused by the suggestion that he had a placard of the name placed on his locker.
Deebo[119] James Harrison His similarity in appearance and demeanor to the character in the movie Friday played by Tom Lister, Jr.
Tyshun "Deebo" Samuel[120]
Diesel[121] John Riggins Because of his powerback style of play—compared to a truck that ran on diesel.
Dr. Death[122] Skip Thomas Because of his physical tackling, and apparent resemblance to the cartoon character.
Dr. Doom[123] Robert Brazile Taken from the cartoon character Doctor Doom because he was "death on offensive men".
Don't Cross The[124] Arthur Moats Name bestowed after Moats laid a clean, but particularly devastating hit on Brett Favre, ending Favre's streak of consecutive starts as well as leading to Favre's retirement at the end of the 2010 season. Moats are large trenches surrounding castles that served as a line of defense.
Double Trouble[125] DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart Carolina Panthers running back duo from 2008 to 2014, previously known as Smash and Dash
Dougie Fresh[126] Doug Pederson A play on the name Doug E. Fresh. Given to Pederson by Jalen Mills.
Duck[127] Devlin Hodges Hodges, in addition to his football playing, is a world-class champion duck caller.[128][129]
Dump Truck[130] Najeh Davenport Allusion to an incident which allegedly occurred when he was in college as well as a take on one-time teammate Jerome Bettis' nickname, "The Bus"
Dwight Hicks and the Hot Licks[131] 1984 San Francisco 49ers defensive secondary led by Dwight Hicks
Dynamic Uno[132] David Wilson His all-around skills at running back
Edge[133] Edgerrin James Shortening of his first name
Earth, Wind and Fire[134] Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, and Ahmad Bradshaw 2008 NY Giants running backs; Jacobs = Earth, Ward = Wind, Bradshaw = Fire
ELIte[135] Eli Manning Play on his first name, Eli, and the word Elite. Used by New York Giants fans in reference to quarterback Eli Manning claiming that he considers himself in the same elite class of quarterbacks as Tom Brady during a preseason interview. Manning backed up this claim by beating Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI
The Enforcer[136] Kenny Easley Easley rightfully earned his nickname as “The Enforcer” for this style of play on the field.

An all-around great athlete, he earned recognition for his abilities including 5 Pro Bowl selections, 5 total All-Pro selections, AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 1981, AFC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1983, NFL 1980s All-Decade Team honors, is in the Seattle Seahawks Ring of Honor and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, despite only playing for seven seasons.

The Face Cleaver[137] Leonard Weaver
Famous Jameis[138] Jameis Winston A nod to Winston's high public profile during his college and professional careers, as well as a play on the Famous Amos cookie brand. Winston has filed for a trademark on the nickname.
Fast Freddie[139] Jonathan Smith After Fred Flintstone—specifically, how Smith's choice of quick, short strides when running resembled Flintstone's when operating the Flintmobile.
Fast Willie[140] Willie Parker His speed
Fatso[141] Art Donovan A reference to his large frame.
Feeva Island[142] Jason Verrett During his media session at the combine, Verrett explained that his nickname is Feeva Island because he's "a player that's always hot" like he has a fever and he often plays man-to-man coverage "on an island."
Fitzmagic[143] Ryan Fitzpatrick Fitzpatrick has had brief spurts of resounding success, notable examples being his time with the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Miami Dolphins throughout his long career as an NFL journeyman quarterback.
Fitztragic[144] Ryan Fitzpatrick Along with those brief spurts of success, Fitzpatrick is also notorious for going on cold streaks and drastrically underperfoming in games for multiple weeks.
Flash 80[145] Jerry Rice His stunning plays combined with his number, 80
Flash Gordon[146] Josh Gordon After the early 20th century multimedia hero Flash Gordon
The Samoan Headhunter[147] Troy Polamalu His style of diving into receivers and diving into pass paths for interception, and for Polamalu's Polynesian ancestry
Fragile Fred[148] Fred Taylor Perception of being injured constantly
Fredex[149] Freddie Mitchell A play on his first name and FedEx.
The Freezer[150] B. J. Raji A play off the nickname of William "The Refrigerator" Perry whom the Bears utilized in a similar manner during the 1980s. "Freezer" also alludes to the Packers home stadium, Lambeau Field, which is known for its freezing temperatures in December and February.
Galloping Ghost[151] Harold "Red" Grange
The General / General Lee[152] Sean Lee The nickname was given to Lee by Bruce Carter, a former teammate of Lee's on the Dallas Cowboys. Carter says that Lee is always in charge and is a great leader. When he talks, everyone listens — "General Lee." The name is also derived from General Robert E. Lee, a former General during the Civil War. But in no ways is the middle linebacker specifically named after the war general.
Ghost Dave Casper A reference to his last name and to the cartoon and movie "Casper the Friendly Ghost".
Golden Boy Paul Hornung A reference to his blond hair and his alma mater, Notre Dame, with its gold helmets and the golden dome of the main building on the Notre Dame campus. Notre Dame students and alumni are also referred to as "Golden Domers".
Golden Wheels[153] Elbert Dubenion Johnny Green, a backup quarterback on Dubenion's Buffalo Bills, gave Dubenion a backhanded compliment admiring his exceptional speed while claiming he couldn't catch a football: "he's sure got those golden wheels."
Gronk[154][155] Rob Gronkowski Shortening of his last name which is Gronkowski. Also a play off of the Incredible Hulk due to Rob's size, power, and dominance.
Greg the Leg Greg Zuerlein The nickname in question refers to Zuerlein's ability of making field goals from a distance.
Hausch Money[156][157] Steven Hauschka Pete Carroll, head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, coined the nickname in response to Hauschka's ability to kick field goals in clutch situations. The name was revived, possibly independently, when Hauschka joined the Buffalo Bills and continued to make key field goals, often from long range.
Headhunter[158] Jackie Wallace Wallace led with his head frequently during his playing career, a tactic that in hindsight Wallace suspected may have caused brain damage later in life.
He Hate Me[159] Rod Smart Self-bestowed nickname Smart used on the back of his jersey during his time in the XFL. Smart credits the nickname with helping him break into the NFL after the XFL folded.
Honey Buns[160] Ben Cavil Nickname given to him for his sweet tooth.
Hopalong[161] Howard Cassady A play on his last name and famed Western character Bill "Hop-Along" Cassidy.
Horse Whisperer[162] Ed Oliver In March 2019, Oliver posted a picture on Twitter of him standing on the back of a horse as a demonstration of his confidence.
The Human Joystick[163] Dante Hall Nickname given to him by coach Vermeil because of his big play ability in the return game.
Iceman[164] Carlos Huerta Bestowed in college, Huerta was renowned for keeping his composure (staying cool) in stressful situations.
Intellectual Assassin[165] Ron Mix Mix had a degree in law at the time he played professional football.
Iron Head[166][167] Craig Heyward Heyward had an unusually large head, which he often used as a battering ram.
Iron Mike Mike Ditka
Jackrabbit[168] Janoris Jenkins
Jet Jones Julio Jones Julio Jones's speed and size earned him the nickname.
Joe Cool Joe Montana and Joe Flacco Joe Montana's ability to remain calm in pressure situations earned him the nickname. It has been used for Joe Flacco for his cool demeanor, especially during the postseason. The name is an allusion to a Vince Guaraldi song of the same name.
Joe Shiesty and Joe Brr [169] Joe Burrow Given to him in a viral TikTok by user TrapHouse Sports. Reasons for the nickname are unknown.
The Juice O. J. Simpson A play on the initials he had used as his de facto first name since infancy,[170] a common abbreviation for orange juice.[171]
Kansas Comet[172] Gale Sayers "Kansas Comet" was stuck on him by the Director of Sports Information at the University of Kansas.
The Kitchen[173] Nate Newton Since he was presumably larger than "William "Refrigerator" Perry"
King Henry Derrick Henry
The King[174] Jim Corcoran A journeyman quarterback whose NFL career was quite brief, Corcoran earned a reputation for pomposity in high school when, coming onto the field in a clean uniform after a rainstorm, he drew a cheer of "hail to the King!" from a spectator.
The King[175] Hugh McElhenny Because he was "the most feared running back in the NFL."
L.T. Lawrence Taylor His initials.
LT, LDT LaDainian Tomlinson His initials. Outside of the team's home market LDT was, and is, sometimes used to differentiate the player from Lawrence Taylor (L.T.)
Law Firm[176] BenJarvus Green-Ellis Play on the length of his full name and its resemblance to the name of a law firm
Lights Out[citation needed] Shawne Merriman Because of his reputation of being a hard hitter; has been shortened to "Lights" by teammates in interviews
M-80[177] Malcom Floyd His first initial and jersey number combined, also for his deep play ability.
Machine Gun Kelly[178] Jim Kelly Jim Kelly was perhaps best known for running the Bills' "No-Huddle Offense", which was fast-paced and denied opposing defenses the opportunity to make timely substitutions, establishing the Buffalo Bills as one of the NFL's most successful and dangerous offenses. A reference to mobster George "Machine Gun" Kelly.
The Mad Bomber[179] Daryle Lamonica Lamonica tended to throw, or "bomb", the ball deep during unnecessary situations.
Mad Duck[180] Alex Karras Because of his short legs, he appeared to waddle like a duck.
The Mad Stork[181] Ted Hendricks While playing for the University of Miami, the tall, thin Hendricks gained the nickname “The Mad Stork.”
Majik (Man)[182] Don Majkowski A play on the quarterback's unwieldy Polish surname.
Manster Randy White Half-man, half monster
Mapletron Chase Claypool Combination of maple (due to his Canadian heritage) and Megatron (due to the similarities to Calvin "Megatron" Johnson's measurables).
Marion the Barbarian[183] Marion Barber III Because of his physical running style and reputation for repeatedly breaking tackles
Marks Brothers[184] Mark Clayton and Mark Duper Prolific Miami Dolphins wide receiver duo of the 1980s who shared the same first name (also a reference to the Marx Brothers. They were also christened "Mark Twain.")
Matty Ice Matt Ryan In reference to Matt Ryan's ability to have long game-winning drives under pressure (and pejoratively for Ryan's tendency to go "ice cold" during playoff games); also a play on "Natty Ice", a low-end beer brewed by Anheuser-Busch InBev
Mean Joe Greene Joe Greene Greene never cared for the nickname
Meast Sean Taylor Half Man, half beast
Megatron[185] Calvin Johnson A reference to his large frame, comparing him to a Transformers character
The Minister Of Defense Reggie White A reference to his Christian ministry as an ordained Evangelical minister and his preferred position as a defensive end on the teams for which he played
Minitron[186] Julian Edelman While not many would draw comparisons between the diminutive Julian Edelman and the monstrous Calvin Johnson, Tom Brady did just that by giving Julian a new nickname: "Minitron"
Mongo[187] Steve McMichael Taken from the character in the film Blazing Saddles, played by Alex Karras.
Moose[188] Daryl Johnston Given to him by Cowboys backup quarterback Babe Laufenberg for his blocking ability and opening holes for runningback Emmitt Smith.
Mormon Missile[189] Taysom Hill The utility player is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mudbone[190] Dave Krieg Given to him by Seahawks guard Bryan Millard. Krieg became a permanent consistent fixture at QB for the Seattle Seahawks, like a bone in the mud. He was also nicknamed “The Man From Milton” because he went to Milton College which no longer existed by the time he was a starting NFL QB.
Muscle Hamster[191] Doug Martin Originally the nickname of his college girlfriend who was a short but powerful gymnast and later became Martin's nickname as well due to his short stature.
Mr. Cowboy Bob Lilly First Cowboy to be drafted and in the hall of fame
Nickfoleon Dynamite Nick Foles A portmanteau on the names of Foles and the fictional character Napoleon Dynamite due to their similar appearance.
Nigerian Nightmare Christian Okoye To his homeland as well as to the difficulty he posed to defenses
Night Train Dick "Night Train" Lane Due to his fear of flying, Lane road a night train to away games while the rest of the team flew.
Nuk DeAndre Hopkins From his mother. Named after the brand of pacifier he enjoyed as a baby.
Ocho Cinco[192] Chad Johnson Self-bestowed pidgin Spanish reference to his uniform number (85); originally named Chad Johnson, legally changed name to "Chad Ochocinco" in 2008 (changed back to Johnson in 2012). Also self-refers as "Esteban Ochocinco".
One Man Gang[193] Lorenzo Alexander During his early career, Alexander played multiple offensive and defensive positions.
Pacman[194] Adam Jones Bestowed in childhood by his grandmother, who surmised he changed directions more often than the popular arcade game character.
Papa Bear[195] George Halas The founding father of the Chicago Bears
Pepper[196] Thomas Johnson From his peculiar childhood habit of seasoning corn flakes with black pepper.
Pillsbury Throwboy Jared Lorenzen One of the many nicknames the left-handed quarterback acquired during his playing career; he was obese his entire adult life and weighed an average of 300 pounds during his playing career (he was approximately 400 pounds at the time of his premature death). Other nicknames include : J-Load, Hefty Lefty, Abominable Throwman, Round Mound of Touchdown, Quarter(got)back, He Ate Me, and BBQ (Big Beautiful Quarterback).
Pinball[197] Michael Clemons The punt returner had a scattershot running style akin to a pinball. Though his NFL career lasted only one season, he achieved much greater fame in the Canadian Football League.
The Playmaker[198] Michael Irvin For his ability to defeat tight coverage, even double coverage, and make big plays.; possibly self-bestowed
Pooh Bear[199] Clarence Williams Bestowed by his grandmother due to a childhood resemblance to Winnie-the-Pooh.
Poop[200] Cory Johnson Johnson once joked that his often fluctuating weight was due to his frequent defecation.
Posse[201] Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders Trio of wide receivers on the Washington Redskins of the late 1980s through the early 1990s:
Predator Chase Young Young’s hair looks like the character
President[202] Jamal Adams His passion, intelligence, and vocal leadership: self-bestowed
Presto Podesto from Modesto[203] Johnny Podesto His last name and place of birth.
Prime Time[204] Deion Sanders His ability to step up at critical moments and make big plays; possibly self-bestowed
Punt God[205] Matt Araiza Araiza has an exceptionally long punting range.
Quiet Storm[206] Marques Colston Reference to Colston's shyness and ability to make big plays.
The Refrigerator or The Fridge[207] William Perry His immense size in comparison to other defensive linemen
Red Rifle Andy Dalton His ability to Rifle the ball downfield and his red hair.
Revis Island[208] Darrelle Revis His ability to cover wide receivers was compared to being stranded on an island
RG3 Robert Griffin III His name
Riverboat Ron Ron Rivera His aggressive nature in playcalling for 4th downs
Rocket Raghib Ismail "Rocket" is a close English approximation of his Arabic name Raghib. His brothers, who also played professional football, got similar monikers: Qadry Ismail became the Missile and Sulaiman Ismail (who never made the NFL) became the Bomb.
Run CMC Christian McCaffrey Reference to the hip-hop group Run-D.M.C.
Run DMC Darren McFadden His speed; given to him in beginning of 2011 season, also a play on his initials. Also reference to the hip-hop group Run-D.M.C.
Sammy Sleeves Sam Bradford Due to his tendency to wear jerseys with longer sleeves.
Sausage[209] Anthony Sherman Given to him by Kansas City Chiefs play-by-play announcer Mitch Holthus.
Shady LeSean McCoy His mother gave him the nickname as he had many mood changes when he was young.
The Sheriff[210] Peyton Manning Well known for calling his own plays at the line of scrimmage and hurry-up offense.
Shipwreck[211][212] John Simms Kelly A nod to famed pole-sitter Alvin Kelly, also popularly nicknamed "Shipwreck."
Shnowman[213] Dion Dawkins Dawkins coined the word "shnow"—a contraction of "should know"—that quickly became associated with him when he first used it in high school.
Silverback[91] James Harrison His strength, which is likened to that of a silverback gorilla
Sixty Minute Man[214] Chuck Bednarik Playing on both offense and defense (and thus playing all sixty minutes of the game); is sometimes applied generally to any player that does this. Bednarik is generally recognized as the last to have done so.
Slant Boy [215] Michael Thomas His tendency to run slant routes
Slingin' Sammy Sammy Baugh His affinity for passing the ball, particularly deep downfield
Smash and Dash[216] Chris Johnson & LenDale White Running back duo of the Titans starting in 2008; White being Smash for his 'power running back' skills and Johnson being Dash because of his astonishing breakaway speed
Smith Brothers or Smith Bros[217][218] Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith Former Green Bay Packers linebacker duo who shared the same last name.[219]
Smokey[220] John Brown Brown had jet black skin at birth, leading his grandmother to nickname him "Smokey."
Snacks, Big Snacks[221] Damon Harrison Based on his refusal to eat Rice Krispie Treats left for him by the coaching staff
Snake Ken Stabler Earned his nickname from his coach following a long, winding touchdown run
The Snake Jake Plummer His ability of "snaking" around out of pressure in the pocket; also a play on the wrestler Jake "The Snake" Roberts' nickname
Spiderman[222] Joe Webb Drafted as a wide receiver by the Minnesota Vikings, on Brett Favre's insistence Joe Webb was signed to the team as a back-up QB. Went on to lead Vikings to a win in Philadelphia, against Michael Vick and the Eagles playing a must-win game. Lovingly called Spiderman, due to his last name.
Stink[223] Mark Schlereth A nickname coined by his teammates on the Washington Redskins after peeing himself constantly during his career.
Superman Cam[224] Cam Newton Due to both his unusually athletic physique and habit of pretending to rip open his jersey to reveal a "S" underneath when scoring a rushing touchdown.
Swag Kelly Chad Kelly Kelly released a rap song about himself in 2012, and the nickname stuck afterwards.[225]
Sweet Feet[226] James White A nickname that carried on from high school to the pros due to his quickness while running the ball.
Sweetness[227] Walter Payton Earned in college at Jackson State University for his slick moves on the field, his amazing dancing skills, and his friendly personality.
Tank Demarcus Lawrence
Tannethrill Ryan Tannehill
The Diva Antonio Brown Nickname given to his frequent acts off the field and his huge ego.
The Kid[228] Jared Goff Often referred to by fans and anchors as "a" or "the" kid because of his facial young look to him.
Thor Chase Winovich His long blonde hair gives him a resemblance to the Marvel hero, Thor.
T-Mobile[229] Tyrod Taylor From the wireless carrier T-Mobile, Taylor's initials and his scrambling style of play
T.O. Terrell Owens His initials
Thunder and Lightning[230][231] Chuck Muncie and Tony Galbreath 1976–1980 New Orleans Saints dynamic running back duo known as "Thunder and Lightning". The nickname is credited to former Saints Head Coach Hank Stram.
Tommy[232] E. F. Hughitt The origin of this early NFL star's nickname remains unknown. It was popular enough that he legally changed his name to Tommy after his playing career ended.
Too Tall Ed Jones His tall height
Touchdown Jesus[233] Jake Kumerow Nickname given due to his long hair and thick beard resembling a common depiction of Jesus
Tuel Time[234] Jeff Tuel A play on the show-within-a-show Tool Time on the 1990s sitcom Home Improvement.
Tuna[235] Bill Parcells Bestowed in 1980, well after his (very brief) NFL playing career ended, when Parcells was an assistant with the New England Patriots, as an homage to the advertising icon Charlie the Tuna.
The Tyler Rose Earl Campbell Campbell is from Tyler, Texas
Two Point Tupa[236] Tom Tupa Tupa took advantage of the legalization of the two-point conversion in the 1994 NFL season; as holder on extra points, he picked the ball up and ran for the conversion three times that season, the first NFL player to score that way.
Uncle Rico[237] Kyle Orton Orton bore a resemblance to Uncle Rico, a washed-up former high school backup quarterback in the movie Napoleon Dynamite, especially during his time with the Buffalo Bills. Prior to his signing with the Bills, he earned the nickname Neckbeard for his facial hair.
Uptown Gene Upshaw A play on his name, but also his role as a guard when run-blocking.
Walrus Andy Reid His size and distinctive thick handlebar mustache
Weapon X Brian Dawkins His hard-hitting, game-changing play style. As well as his flying tackles.
The Wheaton Iceman[238] Harold "Red" Grange A part-time job he once held delivering ice in his hometown of Wheaton, Illinois
White Shoes Billy Johnson His choice of footwear at a time when most players wore black cleats
Whizzer[239] Byron White An alliterative play on his last name and his speed; White, who led the league in rushing in his short three-year NFL career, was dismayed to find the nickname stuck with him well into his legal career (eventually ending up a Supreme Court Justice).
Wildman[240][241] Ray Nitschke and Norm Willey
Williams Wall[242] Pat Williams & Kevin Williams The duo is largely responsible for the Vikings fielding such a stiff run defense, and they make it nearly impossible for the opposition to consistently gain yardage between the tackles.
Windy City Flyer[243] Devin Hester Hester's speed and a nickname for the city of Chicago, in which he plays; bestowed by WBBM 780 radio-announcer Jeff Joniak
Wink[244] Don Martindale Martindale shares a last name with media personality Winston "Wink" Martindale.
Winter Soldier[245] Josh Allen NFL Films gave Allen the nickname in reference to his strong arm, imposing size, and Buffalo's cold weather. The "Winter Soldier" name also refers to the Marvel Cinematic Universe character Bucky Barnes and his strong prosthetic arm.
WD40[246] Mike Alstott and Warrick Dunn For Dunn's initials and Alstott's jersey No. 40, a play on the proprietary lubricant of the same name.
World Jerry Rice He acquired the nickname "World" at Mississippi Valley State University because there was no pass in the world he could not catch.
X Factor[247] Dante Hall Hall's prolific special teams success during his prime was an "X factor," a facet of his team's attack plan that most other teams did not have. In acknowledgement of his nickname, he would make an X gesture with his arms during his touchdown celebrations.
Yoda[248] Steve Largent For his ability to use the "force" to visualize himself making any catch.
Zeus[249] Travis Kelce



  • The 12th Man/The 12's:[264] Nickname given to the fans of the Seattle Seahawks because of the impact of their loud cheering on the opposing team's offensive linemen, leading to false start penalties. Since 1990, the Seahawks have had to pay licensing fees to Texas A&M University at College Station, because of the college filing a trademark on the phrase that year.[265] Used to a lesser extent by the Buffalo Bills, also under license.
  • 4th Phase: Fans of the Chicago Bears. Infers the fans are the 4th phase of the game, after Offense, Defense and Special Teams.
  • Big Easy Mafia: (Motivated Authentic Fans In Alliance) is a premier New Orleans Saints fan club established in 2013. They hold massive tailgate parties before every home game in front of the Superdome, and also meet up in numbers at a local venue for the away games. The popular costume wearing "Saints Superfans" are also a big part of this club, participating in charity events and fundraisers in and around New Orleans.
  • Bills Mafia: A term for the broad community of Buffalo Bills fans, players, coaches and alumni. Prior to the 2010s, Bills fans were officially known as Bills Backers.[266] "Bills Mafia" originated among a group of Bills fans on Twitter circa 2010 and grew in popularity over the decade.
  • Bills Elvis:[267] Entertainer and Elvis impersonator John R. Lang, who appears with a large white guitar that he uses as a billboard. He is one of the Bills' most recognizable individual fans and appears regularly in NFL Films productions.
  • Black Hole:[268] Las Vegas Raiders fans who formerly sat in a section of the Oakland Coliseum known as the 'black hole' (sections 104, 105, 106, and 107) which is mostly occupied by rowdy fans when the team played in Oakland.
  • Boo Birds:[269] Philadelphia Eagles Though used by other teams as well, largely refers to Philadelphia Eagles fans who are known for their tendency to boo for almost any reason and especially at their own team when the Eagles are performing poorly.
  • Browns Backers: The fan club for the Cleveland Browns that has over 100,000 members[270]
  • Cheeseheads:[271] A name given to people of Wisconsin (mainly Green Bay Packers fans) by Chicago Bears fans after the Bears won the Super Bowl. The name mocks Wisconsin's love of cheese. The name eventually gained acceptance.
  • Chiefs Kingdom: Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Chief Zee:[272] Fan who attended nearly all Washington Redskins games from 1978 to 2016 and was considered the unofficial mascot of the team. He wore an Indian headdress, large rimmed glasses, with a red jacket and carried a tomahawk.
  • Fireman Ed:[273] Fan at NY Jets home games who wore a green fireman helmet with a Jets logo on the front. Known for leading the "J-E-T-S" chants. He retired the "Fireman Ed" character immediately after the infamous Butt Fumble game, although he still attends games.
  • Flameheads:[274] Fans of the Tennessee Titans wear hats made to look like flames. In Greek Mythology, fire was invented by Prometheus, who was a Titan.
  • Franco's Italian Army:[275][276] Fans of Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris.
  • Gerela's Gorillas:[276] Fans of Pittsburgh Steelers placekicker Roy Gerela.
  • Hogettes:[277] A group of about twelve Washington Redskins fans who dress in drag and wear pig-noses. The name is a takeoff of the Redskins' "Hogs" offensive line.
  • Mob Squad: Fans Of The Los Angeles Rams.
  • Never Miss a Super Bowl Club: An exclusive group, who have attended every Super Bowl game to date.
  • Niner Empire: Fans of the San Francisco 49ers. Due to the 49ers Super Bowl dynasty of the 1980s and part way into the 1990s.
  • 49er Faithful: Faithful fans of the 49ers no matter how they perform.
  • Packer Backer: Fan of the Green Bay Packers. Sometimes used derisively by Bears fans.
  • Pancho Billa: Ezra Castro (1979–2019), a Texas-based Buffalo Bills superfan with a trademark lucha mask whose unsuccessful fight against cancer earned him fame and an appearance at the 2018 NFL Draft.[278]
  • Pinto Ron:[279] Ken Johnson, a well-known fan of the Buffalo Bills known for appearing at all the Bills' home and away games, his bushy beard, his tailgating on a 1980 Ford Pinto (hence his name), and the infamous practice of serving shots of liquor out of a bowling ball, a practice that the league has since banned.
  • Ravens Flock: Fans of the Baltimore Ravens.
  • Raider Nation:[280] Las Vegas Raiders fans. The first team in the NFL to be characterized as a "nation". The rest of the teams quickly adopted the title and therefore coined a variety of various team "nations".[citation needed]
  • Steeler Nation:[281][282] Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • SuperSkin:[283] Die-hard Superfan of the Washington Redskins, who has attended each home game at FedEx Field since 1999 dressed in a burgundy and gold superhero costume while motivating other fans to cheer loudly.
  • The Jungle: Nickname given to fans of the Cincinnati Bengals.
  • The Sea of Red: Nickname given to the loudest NFL fans of the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
  • Who Dat Nation:[284] New Orleans Saints fans.

Rules named after NFL figures

Throughout the league's history, a number of rules have been enacted largely because of exploits on the field by a single coach, owner, player, or referee. The following is a partial list of such rule changes:

  • Baugh/Marshall rule: A forward pass that struck the goal posts was automatically ruled incomplete. Enacted in 1946, it is named after Washington Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh and team owner George Preston Marshall. In the previous year's NFL Championship Game, the Rams scored a safety when Baugh, throwing the ball from his own end zone, hit the goal posts (which were on the goal line between 1933 and 1973). The two points were the margin of victory as the Rams won 15–14. Marshall was so mad at the outcome that he was a major force in passing this rule change. (The rule is now mostly obsolete, as the goal posts are now on the end lines and thus out of the field of play.)
  • Bert Emanuel rule:[285] The ball can touch the ground during a completed pass as long as the receiver maintains control of the ball. Enacted in 2000 due to a play in the 1999 NFC championship game, where Emanuel, playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had a catch ruled incomplete since the ball touched the ground.
  • Bill Belichick rule:[286] Two defensive players, one primary and one backup, will have a radio device in their helmets allowing the head coach to communicate with them through the radio headset, identical to the radio device inside the helmet of the quarterback. This proposal was defeated in previous years, but was finally enacted in 2008 as a result of Spygate.
  • Brian Bosworth rule:[287] Linebackers are allowed to wear jersey numbers between 40 and 49. Named for Bosworth, who unsuccessfully sued the NFL, and had himself listed as a safety, to be allowed to wear the number 44 as a linebacker, the rule was passed long after Bosworth's retirement.
  • Bronko Nagurski rule:[288] Enacted in 1933, forward passing became legal from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage. Enacted in response to a controversial call in the 1932 NFL Playoff Game, in which Nagurski completed a two-yard pass to Red Grange for the Chicago Bears' winning touchdown. The rule at the time mandated that a forward pass had to be thrown from at least five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Nagurski appeared to have not dropped back five yards before passing to Grange, but the touchdown stood.
  • Calvin Johnson rule:[289] A receiver must maintain possession of the football throughout the completion of the play. This was more precisely a clarification of the existing rules regarding catches, made in 2010 in response to a play by Calvin Johnson, who made a falling catch in the end zone, and placed the ball on the ground soon after he hit the ground and before standing up. This was ruled incomplete upon review, and upheld, though it generated a lot of discussion about what constituted a catch.
  • Carson Palmer rule:[290] A rushing defensive player won't be allowed to forcibly hit a quarterback below the knees, unless they are blocked into. Enacted in the 2006 NFL season after Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer was injured in the 2005 AFC Wild Card game after he was hit below by Steelers defender Kimo von Oelhoffen, as well as similar injuries to the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger and the Bucs' Brian Griese.
  • Dave Casper rule: See the "Ken Stabler" rule.
  • Deacon Jones rule:[288] No head-slapping. Enacted in 1977 in response to the defensive end's frequently used technique against opponents.
  • Deion Sanders rule:[291] Player salary rule which correlates a contract's signing bonus with its yearly salary. Enacted after Sanders signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 1995 for a minimum salary and a $13 million signing bonus. (There is also a college football rule with this nickname.)
  • Ed Hochuli rule:[292] Instant replay can be used to determine whether a loose ball from a passer is definitely a fumble or an incomplete pass. This was enacted in 2009 in response to a play in the San Diego ChargersDenver Broncos Week 2 regular season game where, in the final minutes, referee Ed Hochuli ruled that Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler threw an incomplete pass. Replays clearly showed it was a fumble, but the play was previously not reviewable.
  • Emmitt Smith rule:[288] A player cannot remove his helmet while on the field of play, except in the case of obvious medical difficulty. A violation is treated as unsportsmanlike conduct. Enacted in 1997. The Dallas Cowboys running back was the most high-profile player who celebrated in this manner immediately after scoring a touchdown.
  • Fran Tarkenton rule:[288] A line judge was added as the sixth official to ensure that a back was indeed behind the line of scrimmage before throwing a forward pass. Enacted in 1965 in response to Tarkenton, who frequently scrambled around in the backfield from one side to the other.
  • Greg Pruitt rule:[293] Tear-away jerseys became illegal starting in 1979. Pruitt purposely wore flimsy jerseys that ripped apart in the hands of would-be tacklers. Such a jersey was most infamously seen in a 1978 game between the Rams and Oilers in which Earl Campbell's jersey ripped apart after several missed tackles.
  • Hines Ward rule:[294] The blocking rule makes illegal a blindside block if it comes from the blocker's helmet, forearm or shoulder and lands to the head or neck area of the defender. Enacted in 2009 after the Pittsburgh Steelers receiver broke Cincinnati linebacker Keith Rivers's jaw while making such a block during the previous season.
  • Jerome Bettis rule:[295] Enacted in 1999, the rule states all calls for coin flips will occur before the referee tosses the coin in the air, and at least two officials will be present during the coin toss. This is in response to a call considered one of the "worst in history."[296] In a Thanksgiving Day game with the Detroit Lions on November 26, 1998, Bettis was sent out as the Steelers' representative for the overtime coin toss. Bettis appeared to call "tails" while the coin was in the air but referee Phil Luckett declared that Bettis called "heads" and awarded possession to Detroit, who would go on to win the game before Pittsburgh had the chance to have possession.
  • Jim Schwartz rule:[297] Modifying the "no-challenge" rule adopted prior to the 2012 season to eliminate the automatic "no-review" penalty when a coach challenges a play that is subject to automatic review by the replay booth (turnovers, scoring plays, and any play inside of the two-minute warning). This change was prompted after the 2012 Thanksgiving Day game when Detroit Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag on a play where replay clearly showed Houston Texans' running back Justin Forsett's knee touched the ground, but was able to get up and score a touchdown. Due to the way the rule was written at the time the penalty for the errant challenge prevented the play from being reviewed.[298] Under the revised rule teams will be charged a time-out (or an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty if the team is out of time-outs) when a coach throws a challenge flag on a booth-reviewable play, but the play will still be reviewed if the replay booth believes a review is necessary.[299]
  • Jimmy Graham rule: Effective the 2014 NFL season, the action of "dunking" the football through the goal post/crossbar as a prop in touchdown celebrations is now considered an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (15 yards). This rule was in response to Graham's tendency to dunk the football after scores while playing for the New Orleans Saints. One of his dunks during the Saints' 2013 Week 12 Thursday Night Football game against the Atlanta Falcons bent the goal posts so much that the game was delayed several minutes in order for the stadium crew to make adjustments. Additionally, the league extended the height of the goal posts from 30 to 35 feet, adding extra weight and therefore increasing the chances that it could collapse.
  • Justin Tucker rule: First named during the controversial Sunday Night Football game between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots in Week 3 of the 2012 season (one of the most memorable games that took place during the 2012 NFL referee lockout), commonly referred to simply as the "Tucker Rule," and named after Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker, this rule states that if the ball is kicked directly over one of the posts during a field goal attempt, then the field goal is deemed good. This is, indeed, what happened during the game, as Tucker made a successful kick like this on the final play of the game.
  • Ken Stabler rule:[288] On fourth down at any time in the game or any down in the final two minutes of a half, if a player fumbles forward, only the fumbling player can recover and/or advance the ball. If that player's teammate recovers the ball, it is placed back at the spot of the fumble. A defensive player can recover and advance at any time of play. Enacted in 1979 in response to the 1978 "Holy Roller" play that resulted in a last-minute game-winning touchdown over San Diego, in which Oakland Raiders quarterback Stabler fumbled the ball forward, and tight end Dave Casper eventually performed a soccer-like dribble before falling on it in the end zone.
  • Lester Hayes rule:[288] No Stickum allowed. Enacted in 1981 in response to the Oakland Raiders defensive back, who used the sticky substance to improve his grip.
  • Lou Groza rule:[288] No artificial medium to assist in the execution of a kick. Enacted in 1956 in response to Groza, who used tape and later a special tee with a long tail to help him guide his foot to the center spot of the football.
  • Mel Blount rule:[300] Officially known as illegal contact downfield, defensive backs can only make contact with receivers within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Enacted in its current form in 1978. While playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, defensive back Blount frequently used physical play against receivers he was covering.
  • Mel Renfro rule:[288] Allows a second player on the offense to catch a tipped ball, without a defender subsequently touching it. Enacted in 1978. One of the first high-profile "victims" of the old rule was Dallas Cowboys defensive back Renfro in Super Bowl V; his tip of a pass allowed the Baltimore Colts' John Mackey to legally catch the ball and run in for a 75-yard touchdown.
  • NaVorro Bowman rule:[301] Enacted in 2014, this rule subjects plays in which a loose ball has been recovered to instant replay. Named for Bowman, who during an incident in the previous season's NFC Championship Game recovered a fumble after the officials had blown the play dead.
  • Neil Smith rule:[302][303] Prevents a defensive lineman from flinching to induce a false start penalty on the offense. Enacted in 1998. Smith had frequently used that technique while playing for both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. rule: Any player who accumulates two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in a game is automatically ejected. The original draft of the proposed rule would have counted any two personal fouls toward ejection and drew its name from Beckham, who committed three personal fouls during a game in the 2015 season. The rule, as enacted for 2016, would not have applied to Beckham.[304]
  • Phil Dawson rule:[305] Certain field goals can be reviewed by instant replay, including kicks that bounce off the uprights. Under the previous system, no field goals could be replayed. Enacted in 2008 in response to an unusual field goal by the Cleveland Browns kicker in a 2007 game against Baltimore: the ball hit the left upright, then hit the rear curved post (stanchion), then carried again over the crossbar, and landed in the end zone in front of the goalpost. It was initially ruled by the officials as "no good", but was reversed "upon discussion".
  • Red Grange rule:[306][307] Prohibits college football players from signing with NFL teams until after their college class had graduated and from playing both college football and in the NFL in the same season. The rule was enacted after Red Grange and Ernie Nevers joined the Chicago Bears and Duluth Eskimos, respectively, immediately after their final college football games in 1925.
  • Ricky (Williams) rule:[308] Rule declared that hair could not be used to block part of the uniform from a tackler and, therefore, an opposing player could be tackled by his hair. Enacted in 2003. Rule was so-named after running back Williams' long dread-locks.
  • (Dan) Rooney Rule:[309] Requires teams to interview minority candidates for a head coaching opportunity. Enacted in 2003. Pittsburgh Steelers owner Rooney was a major proponent of such a change.
  • Roy Williams rule:[310] No horse-collar tackles. Enacted in 2005 after the Dallas Cowboys safety broke Terrell Owens's ankle and Musa Smith's leg on horse-collar tackles during the previous season.
  • (Paul) Salata rule:[311] A team is not allowed to pass on a draft pick at the end of the draft in an effort to secure the last pick. Named after Paul Salata, who many years after his playing career established the Mr. Irrelevant ceremony; it became so popular that in the 1979 NFL Draft, the two teams with the last selections repeatedly passed to each other hoping the other would pick and they would get the Mr. Irrelevant publicity, necessitating the rule change.
  • Shawne Merriman rule:[312] Bans any player from playing in the Pro Bowl if he tests positive for using a performance-enhancing drug during that season. Enacted in 2007 after the San Diego Chargers linebacker played at the 2007 Pro Bowl after testing positive and serving a four-game suspension during the preceding season.
  • Steelers rule:[313] The details have yet to be finalized, but the NFL has announced that in coming seasons, not just players, but teams could face fines if a series of illegal hits is seen from any particular organization. The rule has been met with significant criticisms, understandably from the Steelers organization,[314] and from others[315] that fear the new rules will dampen the spirit of the game and make professional football "too soft".
  • Steve Tasker rule:[316] On punt returns, gunners receive a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for deliberately running out of bounds to avoid blocks, a tactic frequently used by Tasker before the rule was implemented.
  • Tom Brady rule:[317] A clarification to the Carson Palmer rule; prohibits a defender on the ground from lunging or diving at a quarterback's legs unless that defender has been blocked or fouled into the signal-caller. Enacted in 2009 in response to a play by Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard, who on the ground sacked Brady and injured the Patriots quarterback's MCL and ACL, sidelining him for the rest of the 2008 season.
  • Tom Dempsey rule:[318][319] Any shoe that is worn by a player with an artificial limb on his kicking leg must have a kicking surface that conforms to that of a normal kicking shoe. Enacted in 1977. Dempsey, who was born without toes on his right foot and no fingers on his right hand, wore a modified shoe with a flattened and enlarged toe surface, generating controversy about whether such a shoe gave him an unfair advantage kicking field goals. Dempsey's game-winning 63-yard field goal in 1970 was the longest in NFL history until the Denver Broncos' Matt Prater kicked a 64-yard field goal on December 8, 2013.
  • Ty Law rule (also known as the Rodney Harrison rule):[320] Enacted in 2004, placed more emphasis on the Mel Blount rule. Enacted after Law, Harrison, and the rest of the New England Patriots defense utilized an aggressive coverage scheme, involving excessive jamming of wide receivers at the line of scrimmage, in the 2003 AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.


  • Boise Rule: A rule instituted by the NFL in 2011 banning non-green playing surfaces. "Boise" refers to Albertsons Stadium (then known as Bronco Stadium), the home field of Boise State University, famous for its blue playing surface. The rule was viewed as a reaction to potential sponsor influence, as no NFL team had considered adopting a non-green surface.[321]
  • The Duke: A nickname for the late Wellington Mara, longtime owner of the New York Giants. The nickname stems from the Duke of Wellington, an actual English hereditary title. This nickname was extended to the official game ball used by the NFL "The Duke" named in honor of Mr. Mara. To this day one can notice the moniker "THE DUKE." branded into every official NFL football just to the left of the NFL Shield. (In Denver, the same nickname was given to quarterback John Elway, after a teammate noticed that his walk to the huddle before The Drive in 1987 looked like John Wayne's.)[322]
  • Harbaugh Bowl: Rare games when brothers John and Jim Harbaugh, both NFL head coaches, met as opponents, which included Super Bowl XLVII, the first Super Bowl in which brothers were opposing coaches. The games have also been given nicknames like the "HarBowl".[323]
  • Ickey Shuffle:[324] Dance done by Cincinnati Bengals running back Ickey Woods whenever he scored a touchdown. Woods was forced to move the dance to the sidelines behind the Bengals' bench after officials starting penalizing him for unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • K-Gun:[325] Nickname referring to the no-huddle offense used by the Buffalo Bills with quarterback Jim Kelly during the late 1980s and early to mid-1990s. The K in K-Gun comes from "Killer", the nickname given to Kelly's teammate Keith McKeller.
  • Lambeau Leap:[326] During home games at Lambeau Field, some players from the Green Bay Packers would leap into the stands after scoring a touchdown. Originally created by LeRoy Butler, it was made popular by Robert Brooks. Players in other stadiums imitate the leap.
  • Manning Bowl: Rare games when quarterback brothers Peyton (formerly of the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos) and Eli Manning (New York Giants) met as opponents.
  • Mile High Salute:[327] A touchdown celebration used by Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis during his playing career, in which he would salute his fellow teammates (and sometimes the fans). A simplified variant (including only the salute portion) has been used by Broncos players ever since.
  • No Fun League:[328][329] Used by various reports criticizing the league for its sanctions imposed on teams. Popularized by the XFL.
  • Red Gun: The offense of Jerry Glanville when he was with the Atlanta Falcons[330]
  • Sack Dance:[331] New York Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau was nationally famous for doing his signature "Sack Dance" after sacking an opposing quarterback. However, he had to stop when the NFL declared it "unsportsmanlike taunting" in March 1984 and began fining players for it.
  • Snoopy Bowl: Annual preseason game (week 3) between the New York Giants and the New York Jets. The name was coined in 2010 when New Meadowlands Stadium was renamed to MetLife Stadium (at the time Snoopy was the mascot for the company).
  • Tebowing:[332] A pose imitating Tim Tebow's stance when praying.[333]
  • Terrible Towel:[334] a banner conceived by the late Myron Cope (long time Steeler commentator) used by fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers to cheer for their team, consisting of a yellow towel with the words "Terrible Towel" in black, to be waved in the air. The Carolina Panthers also began a spin-off known as the "Growl Towel".[335] Also spoofed by the Packers following their third Super Bowl victory as the "Title Towel". Similar traditions have also started in other sports, as Towel Power used by the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League and the Homer Hanky used by Major League Baseball's Minnesota Twins.

See also


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External links

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