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The Football Name Game

By Randy Snow

Original to theworldoffootball.com, Sunday, October 1, 2000

You just can't keep a good name down! When the NFL made the announcement on September 6, 2000 that their new expansion team in Houston was going to be known as the Houston Texans, I thought to myself, "Where have I heard that before?" After a little research, I discovered that there are many professional football teams have used the same names over the years. Here's a look at the history of some team names.

Texans and Titans

The Houston Texans was the name used by a World Football League team back in 1974. They played their home games in the Astrodome and had a record of 3-7-1 before being taken over by the league due to financial problems. They were moved to Louisiana and became the Shreveport Steamer where they remained until the league folded the following season.

Another team that fared a little bit better was the Dallas Texans, one of the original American Football League teams in 1960. They won the league championship in 1962 by beating the Houston Oilers. The team moved to Kansas City the following year and became what we know today as the Kansas City Chiefs. 

There was also an Arena Football League team from 1990-1993 called the Dallas Texans. They had an overall record of 20-25 in their 4 seasons. They made the playoffs three out of four years, losing to the Detroit Drive in the 1990 ArenaBowl. In 1995, there was even a Canadian Football League team in Texas called the San Antonio Texans.

The Tennessee Titans name is not a new one, either. From 1960-62 the New York Titans played in the American Football League. In 1963, the Titans became the New York Jets, who went on to win Super Bowl III in 1969.

Outlaws and Outlawz

In 1983 and 1984, the United States Football League had a team in Phoenix known as the Arizona Wranglers. In 1985, they merged with the Oklahoma Outlaws to become the Arizona Outlaws. During the 2000 Arena Football League season, an expansion team from the Sooner State was fielded. They were known as the Oklahoma Wranglers. In 2001, the Extreme Football League (XFL) had a team called the Las Vegas Outlaws. That team featured a player named Rod Smart, who was more famous for wearing the words "He Hate Me" on the back of his jersey. 

Colts and Stallions

And who could ever forget the 1994 Baltimore CFL Colts of the Canadian Football League? When the CFL was looking to expand into the United States, they placed a team in Baltimore hoping to capitalize on the rich football history of the city and fans that had been starving for a new team since the city had been without a team for 10 years after the original Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984. During their first season, the NFL took them to court and forced them to stop using the name Colts, saying that they owned the name Baltimore Colts. In 1995, the team name was changed to the Baltimore Stallions and they even won the Grey Cup, defeating the Calgary Stampeders. The following year, the CFL folded its teams in the United States and returned north of the border. The Stallions were moved to Montreal and became the new Montreal Alouettes, a CFL team that had folded 9 years earlier in 1987. Even before the Baltimore Stallions there was the Birmingham Stallions in the USFL from 1983-1985.

Finally, there is the World Bowl. That was the name of the championship game used by the 1974-75 World Football League. Today, the World Bowl is the name of the NFL Europe championship game. The league was formerly known as the World League of American Football.

These are just some of the examples of team names that have been reused over the years. I guess it's true what the old song says. That "everything old is new again."


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