So, the NFL season is set to begin Thursday night followed by a full slate on Sunday, which means that we’re about to get a whole lot of branding shoved in our faces. As the biggest moneymaking TV enterprise in a country dominated by corporations, the NFL is a branding behemoth. To that end, it has seen fit to give every one of its teams an official emoji, so that all social media engagement can be just as regulated as touchdown celebrations.
The real gem of this release is not the emojis, which I’m sure have some utility for fans texting each other and such. No, it’s the centralized database of each team’s NFL-approved hashtag, so that all fans looking to their corporate overlords for the most likely way for their tweets to be featured on local talk show scrolling feeds finally have their language. Of course, most of them are terrible. Let’s see which are the best of a truly uninspiring bunch.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers, #HereWeGo — From personal experience living in Pittsburgh, I know that it’s a reference to a truly awful fight song that plays in Steelers merch shops. In hashtag form, it’s even worse because it sounds like a knockoff beer ad slogan.
31. Seattle Seahawks, #WeAre12 — Years old. That’s what it sounds like you’re saying. We Are 12 Years Old. But hey, if that’s what you’re into.
30. Tennessee Titans, #TitanUp — IT’S NOT A VERB! Hell, even #ThunderUp from the NBA uses a team name that’s a singular concept. I have literally no idea how to Titan Up, or what that would look like. Oh wait, is it a play on “Tighten Up?” God. That doesn’t help.
29. Los Angeles Rams, #MobSquad — Is this a reference I should be getting? Seriously, what’s the connection? The only reason it’s this high is because it sounds cool free of context. Good luck explaining why it’s your thing, though.
28. New Orleans Saints, #Saints50 — Is that a reference to how many fans will be left once Drew Brees finally retires?
27. New York Giants, #GiantsPride — I know I’ve already hammered teams for trying to get cute, but Giants Pride is crushingly boring. What about #BeGiant? At least it’s not #GiantUp.
26. New York Jets, #JetUp — *sigh*.
25. Arizona Cardinals, #BeRedSeeRed — I don’t consider either being red or seeing red to be good things at all. I guess Cardinals fans have a lot to be angry about, knowing that their team concept this year is “We hope Carson Palmer stays healthy!”
24. Indianapolis Colts, #ForTheShoe — I know it’s because of the helmet horseshoe, and it gets bonus points for being something that I’m pretty sure was used before the NFL prescribed it. But “For The Shoe!” is something that the unofficial ref yells at the start of a hobo fight.
23. Houston Texans, #WeAreTexans — Yes you are!
22-15. Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers — All of these are just the team’s name, sometimes with “Go” in front. Participation trophies, all.
14. Oakland Raiders, #RaiderNation — This is very much A Thing for that fanbase, but “*blank* Nation” is a horrifically played out fanbase term.
13. Baltimore Ravens, #RavensFlock — Strong conceptually, but there’s nothing that flocks that inspires fear or even respect in rivals. “Watch out, that flock of bikers is coming to town”? Don’t buy it.
12. Detroit Lions, #OnePride — Again, very strong conceptually. A pride of lions, sure, but “pride” is just about the last word I’d use for this fanbase. #OneSelfLoathingMaskedAsPackersHatred doesn’t quite have the same ring, though.
11. Washington Redskins, #HTTR — It stands for Hail To The Redskins, which has very much been a thing for years and years and is even part of their college-style fight song. The branding is strong here, as this hashtag got plenty of organic use already. Still, a racial slur-invoking hashtag is banned from the top 10 and only made it this high because of the paucity of entertaining options.
10. Chicago Bears, #FeedDaBears — I appreciate the reference to an all-time SNL sketch, but why not just leave it at #DaBears? It still gets relatively high placement because it makes me giggle to say it out loud.
9-8. Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers, #FlyEaglesFly and #GoPackGo — Sure.
7. Miami Dolphins, #FinsUp — If this is a call and response cheer in whatever they’re calling the Dolphins stadium these days, I hope the crowd doesn’t respond with waves of their hands with the fingers pushed together to resemble a fin. Try to imagine it, and you’ll see the problem.
6. Cleveland Browns, #DawgPound — I bet the original members of the Dawg Pound, who comprised one specific section of the Browns stadium, are furious that their thing has been co-opted for the whole fanbase. The games would be a lot more fun if all the fans wore those horrifying dog masks, is all I’m saying.
5. Cincinnati Bengals, #WhoDey — This is A Thing, and their ranking is proof that the Saints should have just gone with #WhoDat. I thought the Saints’ thing came first, anyway? Did Roger Goodell mandate that only one team could use the “Who+nonsense word” construction? That would make sense, because Tom Benson would have definitely forgot to file the papers for the Saints’ thing.
4. Carolina Panthers, #KeepPounding —
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, #SiegeTheDay — I know this is probably an unpopular opinion, but I love this. By itself, “Seize the day” is an extremely lame thing to cheer. Adding a war pun to it in an attempt to connect it to your team concept is even more try-hard dorkiness. BUT WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME PIRATES LAID SIEGE TO ANYTHING?! It is literally antithetical to the guerrilla war concept of piracy. Even a reddit post claiming pirates did lay sieges was actually referring to raids, which are a different thing. So, to recap, a nonsense usage of a pun of a lame cheer. Brilliant.
2. Atlanta Falcons, #RiseUp — That’s just strong, and just as applicable to stadium cheers as fan tweets. Good hashtag.
1. Minnesota Vikings, #Skol — Same as above, only with far more conceptual depth. Skol was an actual Viking war cry, and here it is in hashtag form. A whole lot of points for its accuracy, but when you think about it, it is incredibly depressing to think that’s how society has advanced. Hashtags in place of battle cries. THE WUSSIFICATION OF AMERICA, I TELL YA.
In summation, organizationally-mandated hashtags are lame and you should probably just tweet your team’s name if you want to be picked up by search services. Otherwise, just watch the damn game.