How Our Favorite NFC North Football Teams Got Their Names
Opening weekend of the 100th season of the National Football League got us so giddy we decided to find out how some of our favorite football teams got their names. We found out some cool stuff we didn't know.
To find out how the Green Bay Packers got their name we have to go back to the year 1919. There was a meat company in Green Bay Wisconsin that was known as the Indian Packing Company. Two years later it was renamed the Acme Packing Company. The company specialized in canned meats but went belly up after World War II. But there was a pretty neat football team in the area, they just didn't have a name - or jerseys yet. Except one football fan who worked at the Acme Packing Company worked up the nerve to ask his boss for a little money so his favorite football club could get some nice jerseys. That man's name is Curly Lambeau. The move was such a nice gesture they named the field after him and the team became the 'Packers.'
The Minnesota Vikings history doesn't involve canned meat but credit for it's name can go back to the newspaper Minneapolis Tribune in 1960. The newspaper merely suggested some names for their new team like Voyagers, Miners, or the Chippewas. None of those names really tickled the public's fancy until 'Vikings' was suggested. Everybody liked it because it reflected Minnesota's place as a center of Scandinavian American culture. They played their 1st game against the Dallas Cowboys in 1961. That game was played at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls!
The Chicago Bears, much like the Green Bay Packers, were named after a food company. Back in the good old days before football became a billion dollar business, aspiring football clubs were financed by well-to-do companies. Take the Decatur, Illinois Food Starch Company, where owner A.E. Staley decided to finance the team and named them to Decatur Staleys. In 1922 after a move to Chicago they named themselves after the city's baseball team, the Cubs - presumably, because bears were just a little bit bigger than cubs.
The Detroit Lions were named in 1934 when a radio executive bought a team from Portsmouth named the Spartans. He move them to Detroit and said "the lion is the monarch of the jungle, and we hope to be the monarch of this league." Perhaps taking a cue from the the Bears, Detroit's new football team borrowed from their baseball team as well. After all the Tigers had a nice fan base. Let's be lions.
You can find more about the origin of some other teams here.
Sources: Mental Floss and Wikipedia.