Thursday, December 11, 2008

The perils of nicknames

I've got to weigh in on this "Smash and Dash" nickname story. If you haven't been paying attention, Panther RBs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have been christened "Smash and Dash" by some as a backfield combo, but Tennessee's LenDale White says -- and is apparently correct -- that he came up with this for The Titans' backfield combo.

DeAngelo knows this, by the way, and mentioned it late Monday night when an online reporter was trying to get him to expound on the "Smash and Dash" nickname. "I think the Titans may use that," Williams said. He said Wednesday that fans could choose the new nickname and so The Observer is running a poll with some of the "finalists" Williams picked (you can vote here).

Anyway, nicknames are fun, and fans LOVE to try and come up with them -- check the "Inside the Panthers" blog for the dozens, maybe hundreds of suggestions.

But here's the problem -- nicknames can also set you up for a fall. I asked fans for suggestions for a Panther defense nickname prior to the 2006 season. I got more than 4,000 votes -- the top two vote-getters were "Southern Discomfort" and "Black and Blue Wrecking Crew."

You know what nickname I ultimately picked as the winner of the contest, though? No nickname at all. That defense wasn't good enough to deserve a nickname (and the current version isn't either).

Now Stewart and Williams just might be. The choice I like the most among those suggested so far is "Hit and Run." It's simple. Easy to say and remember. "Fast and Furious" wouldn't be bad, either. Of the ones in our poll, I'd pick "Boom and Zoom."

But a nickname gets opposing teams' attention, too -- you can bet on that. I think it's one reason why there are fewer of them around these days -- NFL players and teams don't embrace them with the fervor that they used to in the '70s, when Mean Joe Greene, the Steel Curtain, the Doomsday Defense, the Purple People Eaters, etc., rolled off everyone's tongue.

Bottom line: I think it's fine for Williams and Stewart to have a nickname if they want one. And if they want fans to choose it, more power to them. But nicknames are tricky -- they better be careful what they wish for.

16 comments:

lucas said...

how about Hoover's Movers

Nathan Dove said...

Whit just needs to lay off. If Williams and Stewart never claimed to be Smash and Dash then whats his problem? And I like what Smith said Razzle and Dazzle.

Nathan Dove said...

I meant White sorry.

Rob said...

Much ado about nothing. Seriously.

EnderJSC said...

I have to wonder if the reason group nicknames are no longer popular is because of free agency and the fact that groups almost never stick together for an extended period anymore. I can think of plenty of individual nicknames that have popped up relatively recently... The Bus, Ocho Cinco, PrimeTime... Anyway, hope fully DeAngelo Stewart will stay together for awhile.

Chris said...

It's a nickname. Seriously!

Okay, in all seriousness, if Lendale White really has it licensed and plans to do business practice with it, then he could potentially have a claim. But against who? The media? Steve Smith?

And what if someone else comes out of the woodwork with something like "Smash and Dash" Home & Car Security Systems...hey, you never know.

This is called the middle of the week. What else are sports writers going to be talking about?

Chris said...

One more thing: Smash and Dash probably doesn't fit the Panther's backfield like it would the Titans. After all, which moniker applies to whom? Last I saw, DWill and JS could both lower their shoulder and run over you, and both have breakaway speed.

jimmys01jc said...

HOW ABOUT SLAM AND SCAMPER

jimmys01jc said...

HOW ABOUT SLAM AND SCAMPER

bart said...

"slam and scamper" is almost as bad as fowler's column. remind me, when was the last good thing this guy wrote?

"slam and scamper," seriously?

Daniel said...

I still really like the idea of "Shake & Bake"

MC said...

I really like Hasty and Efficient. Whatever you choose, please be sure to let me know so I can file it in the Who Gives A Sh!t drawer.

PantherAppFan said...

I read a article from panthers.com, "When you come in the game -- trouble," Muhammad told Williams. "When Stewie comes in the game -- trouble.

"Double Trouble!"

I felt that is just right nickname that fits both of them since I can't tell which dash or smash for William or Stew...

Here it come Double Trouble but in future it will be Triple Trouble since we have Steve Smith other little men

Gabriel McKee said...

Nicknames are silly. Just win baby.

secret_oyster said...

Calling grownups "baby" is silly. Just win, gentlemen.

Beans said...

I like Cruise and Bruise.