Born and raised in the well-mannered dairyland of Wisconsin, John moved to Brooklyn in 2003 to face his fear of large crowds and to pursue a career in music and audio engineering. After two years working a major recording studio, the now defunct Right Track Recording, John began his freelance career at WNYC. He contributed sound design to American Icons: The Great Gatsby. (He also found himself unwittingly tasked with preventing a tempestuous Courtney Love from smoking in the studio.) After a stint as the Technical Director for PRI’s Fair Game with Faith Salie, John worked with On The Media, Soundcheck, Freakonomics, Radiolab, Spinning on Air, Radio Rookies, and WNYC’s newsroom, before joining the staff of Studio 360 in 2012. John writes and performs literary folk rock as The Reverend John DeLore. He enjoys reading Dostoevsky by moonlight, and still dislikes large crowds.
Hey! Ho! Let's Poe! Remixing NFL Names
Monday, January 28, 2013 - 12:00 PM
I am an English major. I am also a fan of professional football.
I was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, so I'm not sure if I really had a choice; my crib was painted green and gold. As I developed an interest in fiction and poetry, I noticed that most literary-minded individuals dismissed football as a pastime for those of limited vocabulary. I even tried keeping my football fandom a secret, but eventually I just accepted who I was. I made room for quarterbacks and paperbacks, for the voices of John Madden and John Steinbeck. To punt, or not to punt.
So for this year’s Super Bowl, it will come as no surprise that I'm rooting for the Baltimore Ravens (alas, poor Packers...). I revel in the irony of a professional football team, comprised of large muscled men, named after a bird in a poem by a slender, alcoholic poet who died after being found face down in a Baltimore gutter in 1849 (NB: 1849 is also the year after which the San Francisco Forty-Niners are named). The team name was selected by the people of Baltimore through a telephone poll conducted by the Baltimore Sun. It's true that Poe was born in Boston, and lived and wrote in Philadelphia and New York City, but Baltimore has claimed him as its own. Fittingly, the Ravens’ mascot is a bird named "Poe." He's a bit too cheery-looking for my taste, but I guess something more ghostly wouldn’t go over so well with the kiddies.
In the spirit of Baltimore's wonderful marriage of literature and gridiron, I want to re-name all the NFL franchises.
What's a new, literary-themed name for your city's team? (Extra points for a great mascot!)
Tell us in a comment below — or via Twitter:
A couple ideas to get you going:
The New York Moby-Dicks — in honor of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick
Bears are big. Giants are giant. But you can't get a bigger animal mascot than a white sperm whale. Picture a behemoth in shoulder pads and an oversized helmet moving (ever so slowly) out of the tunnel at the beginning of a game. It takes 30 people to operate the mascot, including one to launch t-shirts into the crowd from its blowhole. Yes, the fans will have to chant, "Let's go, 'Dicks!" On the other hand, there's the easy-money sponsorship of Starbucks.
The St. Louis Stetsons — after Stetson from T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land
First of all, Eliot suffered from a congenital double inguinal hernia (read: messed up gut) and was unable to participate in sports as a child. So it'd be a nice gesture to name a professional sports team after him. Second, Stetson is the ghost of a soldier with a corpse planted in his garden. This offers some particularly terrifying options for a mascot. I’d go with a zombie-like ghoul carrying a shovel; any time the opposing quarterback gets sacked, Stetson would dig a grave. Fans could also dress up as various ghosts from the poem and hold signs with phrases such as: "November is the cruelest month!" "Unnatural vices are fathered by our heroism!" "Datta, dayadhvam, damyata. (Give, sympathize, control.)"
Top selling point for this team name: St. Louis fans could nickname their home field "The Waste Land." Wait. Make that “The Busch Waste Land.”
UPDATE 2/2: With your help, we've renamed all 32 teams in the NFL. See the list.