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.
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