The 4 Biggest Sports Team Downgrades

Remember the Cleveland Naps? No, and that’s the point.

Remember the Cleveland Naps? No, and that’s the point.

The New Orleans Hornets officially announced their name change for the 2013-14 season to the New Orleans Pelicans. While pelicans are truly scary birds, gulping down fish and smaller birds to the tune of half their body weight a day, the name doesn’t seem to carry the same weight as it did when they were named after hornets. If you claimed you were chased by hornets, you would be met by concern: “Holy shit man, hornets? Are you ok?” However, claim you were pushed around by a bird with a beak-bag and you’ll likely get a few sneers and giggles.

Here are some other teams that drop a few rungs on the ladder of intimidation with their name changes.

Denver Rockets to Nuggets

Denver’s basketball team started strong, by changing their name from the Larks to the Rockets in the first season. They even had a hilarious basketball-playing rocket logo to go along with it. However, when trying to execute a move to the NBA, they changed their name to the Nuggets, as those selfish Houston jerks were already the Rockets. We get that it’s in reference to gold, but all kinds of immature (and really funny) other images come to mind.

New York Titans to Jets

The Titans came into the league after the Giants and were named so because “Titans are bigger and stronger than Giants.” Admittedly, spite is not the ideal way to choose a team name, so when the team came under new ownership three years later (shocking, right?) they changed the name to the Jets, the newest and coolest technology of the time. Of course, that is now a bit outdated, much like the current coaching staff.

Cleveland Broncos to Naps

The Tribe, aside from having one of the more racist names in sports today, had a varied history of team names. They came into Cleveland as the Lake Shores, which is not great, but was definitely an improvement over the last team in Cleveland – the Infants. They were quickly changed to the Bluebirds – which most shortened to the Blues. In 1902, the team was changed to the Broncos, but bailed on that name before anyone could buy into it. Their new name – the Naps – was chosen in a newspaper write-in contest. It’s said that it was named after a player named Napoleon, but we know the truth – Cleveland was trolling and had (rightly) already given up on their professional sports franchises.

Houston Colt .45s to Astros

A team would have to be pretty archaic to name itself after a gun, right? The Colt .45s were probably founded way back in the day, like when dysentery was still a thing, right? Wrong. This is Texas, and they were founded in 1962. The name only lasted two seasons when the team decided to name itself after where it plays, a model also followed by the Houston Texans, Montreal Canadians, and our favorite – the Illinois Fighting Illini.

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