American probably doesn’t need more football. And when the Alliance of American Football (AAF) folded back in April, it seemed all hope for a secondary pro football league were doomed. But that hasn’t stop Vince McMahon from forging ahead with his XFL revival project, slated to begin play in February 2020. McMahon says the league will retain little of the original XFL’s extreme past, and will actively discourage and punish players for making political statements on and off the field—a direct appeal to fans still upset about Colin Kaepernick’s (and other players) national anthem protests. And after much anticipation, the league has finally released its team names and logos.
— XFL (@xfl2020) August 21, 2019
Football logos and names can’t get much blander. They range from vaguely intimidating to downright lazy. The logos look like the graphics you’d choose from while creating a custom expansion team in Madden, while the names slide between corny adjectives and overused animals. You’ll barely recognize it when the league kicks off in six months, but once the NFL season ends football seasons going through withdrawal won’t care. So we might as well rank ’em.
8. Los Angeles Wildcats. Weak as hell. The interlocking “LA” logo has been perfected and shouldn’t be attempted again, ever. Wildcats is also easily the laziest name of the bunch, almost as if the franchise will inherit its uniforms from a cancelled network television football drama. 20-to-1 odds on that actually happening.
7. New York Guardians. Big Blue Lives Matter/Sphinx energy going on here. Don’t the guardians defend the galaxy? And if they were going to choose a lion for the logo, they could’ve done a better job ripping off the New York Public Library’s iconic insignia.
6. D.C. Defenders. What makes a Defender different from a Guardian? Apparently 4 hours of New York to D.C. traffic. The logo is decent, but the alliterative name is downright corny. The only way this team moves up the list is if the lightning bolts are homages to D.C. punk legends Bad Brains. But until we confirm that info, they sit at six.
5. Dallas Renegades. It makes sense to piggyback off the Dallas Cowboys, the most popular team in the NFL (and possibly the world). But did the XFL have to do it so…generically? Dallas’ is by far the XFL’s most video game-generated looking logo, which is saying something.
4. Seattle Dragons. The name is decent enough, even if it’s a little plain. You can’t go wrong with a the University of Alabama at Birmingham mythical creature as deadly as a dragon. But something tells me someone in the Seattle organization might’ve gone to .
3. Tampa Vipers. Do vipers even live in Florida? I guess it doesn’t matter, because the logo is decent—the two little slits at the top of the “V” look like snake fangs. And in this league, that’s enough to shoot you to the top, mascot habitats be damned.
2. St. Louis Battlehawks. I don’t think anyone knows what a Battlehawk is. But like the Vipers, it doesn’t much matter. The logo is pretty slick and the name is just weird enough to keep you wondering.
1. Houston Roughnecks. Major points repurposing the Houston (later Tennessee) Oilers use of an oil rig. Roughnecks might not mean anything in a football context, but it’s miles ahead of any other nickname in the bunch. Make the collars of the team’s jersey’s out of leather and I’m completely sold.