I am about to commit the ultimate heresy as a 50-year keeper and chronicler of baseball funny names.
This post is about funny names in football, which I admit concede nothing to baseball in this post-post-modern era. One has simply to look at just a few of the names in the recent history of the game to get the drift. Plaxico Burress. Osi Umenyiora. Mathias Kiwanuka. Santana Moss. D’Brickashaw Ferguson. And this list is only a partial accounting of the unusual and funny names that have passed through just one NFL city–New York–over the past decade.
The NFL draft begins tomorrow evening. We would be remiss in not giving it its due. Further, we will involve you, the reader in a stirring competition: a poll to pick the funniest name in the 2013 NFL draft. So without further banter, here are the nominees for Funniest Name in the 2013 NFL draft.
The nominees (listed in the order they are likely to go in the draft):
- Barkeveious Mingo, Defensive End, LSU. Mingo is widely regarded as one of the top defensive ends in the draft. with many mock drafts projecting him as a top ten first round pick, and almost all of them putting him in the top 15.
Too bad, because my beloved NY Giants, picking 19th, could use his skill and his awesome name to replace the departed Osi Umenyiora. Oh, and if the name Barkevious isn’t enough, he has two older brothers named Hugh and Hughtevious. If the latter was in the NFL, too–what a pair that would make!
- Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle, Utah. Another defensive lineman likely to be selected in the first 15 selections of the first round, he will join a handful of other NFL players born in the Kingdom of Tonga. (Other Tongans in the NFL include Deuce Lutei, Haloti Ngata and Naufahu Tahi among others. The place is a veritable font of funny names.) His family moved to Utah when he was nine and he has been there ever since. It is also noteworthy that he added to his funny named glory by marrying one Fuiva Hola.
- Manti Te’o, Inside Linebacker, Notre Dame. This poor guy. If he didn’t get enough press for being victimized by an insensitive prank, now he gets victimized by his name. But we consider this an honor, even if he doesn’t. Te’o led Notre Dame’s strong defense to the national championship game in January of this year. He is a likely choice for the latter stages of the first round or early in the second round. Manti is Hawaiian, and he’s got some other funny names in the family: mother Ottilia, sister Tiare and brother Manessah. Well, they’re funny if you’re not Hawaiian.
- Cornellius Carradine, Defensive End, Florida State. A probable second-rounder, Carradine was only slated for honorable mention on my original list. But then I read the Corneli are Never Superfluous Truism and realized this guy had to be in the fight. The only detraction is that his nickname is “Tank.” Heck, why ruin an awesome name like Cornellius with a rather hackneyed nickname? Oh well, after baseball hall-of-famer Cornelius McGillicuddy, A.K.A. Connie Mack, the name Cornelius should have been retired from all sports, even if spelled with two l’s.
- Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Cornerback, Connecticut. You have to help me on this. I can’t decide if this name would be funnier if it was just Blidi Wreh. Does the -Wilson help or hurt here? You, the voters must decide. Hey, there is less bio information online about this guy, so I had to say something besides just “GO UCONN!” (Oh yeah, “Go UCONN.” My wife and daughter are both alums.)
- Bacarri Rambo, Safety, Georgia. Wow! There really is somebody named Rambo in real life–and with a better first name! I’m also guessing he is probably more dangerous on a football field than Sylvester Stallone. Like Wreh-Wilson, he is projected for about the third round–he probably would be rated higher if not for a drug suspension last year.
Honorable mentions…Shariff Floyd…D.J. Fluker…Chance Warmack…Luke Jaeckel…Ezekial Ansah…Darius Slay…the list goes on and on, and that’s just in the first two rounds.
We can make a couple of observations from the above, both possibly fodder for Funny Names Theory. First, the best funny names tend toward the higher rounds in the draft and second, funny names tend to run in the family, at least with football players. The voting begins now and will run through next Wednesday. The results will be announced in next week’s Funny Names in the News. As Al Capone said, vote early and vote often; there is no limit. (This means you can vote as many times as you like.)