What’s in a name? Plenty. Some names have evolved from a byname, where a person’s surname derives from their occupation, such as Baker, Fletcher, or Smith; others may originate from their ancestral location.
But what makes a great name? That’s hard to define. Ethnic names such as Tshimanga Biakabutuka sound cool, and to hear an announcer yell it was fun, but that’s in part because Americans spend most of their time interacting with people named Joe and Steve, three+ syllable names tend to stick out in a single and double syllable world.
The greatest of a player can elevate a bland name, the awfulness of one can lower what would be otherwise a cool name. There’s nothing particularly great about the individual names “Reggie” or “White”, but Reggie White is an iconic name in Eagles history; Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie is a potentially cool name that is blemished by a forgettable tenure with the Eagles.
But some names are just plain great, while others are unfortunate to awful.
Air Force safety Weston Steelhammer is on tryout with the Eagles. “Weston Steelhammer” sounds like a bad porn star name from the 80s or 90s. Or a bad early career wrestling name, like “Sexton Hardcastle.” It’s an amazing name, and should Steelhammer make the team, he would immediately slot into the upper echelon of great names to wear an Eagles uniform. These names are based solely on their aesthetic quality. Randall Cunningham wouldn’t be a cool name if he had the career of Mike McMahon, and vice versa.
K Happy Feller. Sounding like someone out of the Andy Griffith Show, Happy Feller didn’t have a happy career. In three seasons in the NFL he converted just 37.2% of his field goal attempts, one of the worst marks in NFL history.
DE Kimo von Oelhoffen and DB Von Mansfield. Kimo is just a cool name, as any Flyers fan will agree (though that was Kimmo). von Oelhoffen, along with Von Mansfield, sounds like a Vincent Price or Christopher Lee character.
Head coach Greasy Neale. Sounds like a cousin to the drink Rusty Nail.
QB Bubby Brister. “Bubby Brister” sounds like a fat guy from the South who enjoys driving his ‘78 Silverado with his dog listening to Charlie Daniels on cassette. Which is pretty much who Bubby Brister really is.
KR Vaughn Hebron. A slick name, like a secondary character in a blaxploitation film.
WR Art Monk. An epoxy name, where individually they don’t do much but together they form a cool name. Perhaps this is inflated by his stature as a player, though as an Eagle he was washed up.
P Jeff Feagles. Feagles was destined to play for the Eagles.
TE Vyto Kab. I swear that’s a real name and not a character from Star Wars.
WR Guido Merkens. Who names their kid Guido? Especially in the 1950s, when Merkens was born. I’d give examples of what this would sound like with other cultures, but then I’d get fired.
LB Moise Fokou. Yeah Fokou too pal.
K Nick Mike-Meyer. Dude, pick a name.
WR Marvin McNutt. No name can sound good with nutt in it.
DE Joe Jones. I fell asleep writing his name.
DE Blenda Gay. That’s Madden created player level of unfortunate for Gay, who even more unfortunately was killed in 1976 when his schizophrenic wife murdered him in his sleep.