I was watching one of the "Top 10" episodes on the NFL Network the other night, and one of the top 10 things missing from the NFL is nicknames. In fact, Phil Villapiano related the story behind his nickname "Foo." That got me to thinking that Raider Nation has some of the best nicknames ever:
- Skip "Dr. Death" Thomas - Check out the YouTube tribute. If you're a DB and your nickname is Dr. Death, I don't know how it gets any better. Unless you happen to be...
- Jack "The Assassin" Tatum - We've all seen the footage of the hit on Earl Campbell at the goal line (I still don't know how he scored) and on Sammy White in the Super Bowl. I don't want to get carried away because I am aware and sensitive to what happened to Darryl Stingley. I just don't think I've seen anyone who could hit harder.
- Ted "The (Mad) Stork" Hendricks - One hell of a player and a great Raider character. I still love the NFL Films footage of "Kick 'em in the Head Ted" sitting on the sideline with the Joker(?) mask. I think that he may have been one whose elevator didn't go to the top, as Madden would say. If I remember correctly, he hired a woman to ride naked on a horse through a training camp practice.
- Kenny "The Snake" Stabler. I cannot believe that he is not in the Hall of Fame. I'm not sure I'd leave my girlfriend unattended around The Snake, but I'd take him for my quarterback any day. If you don't have time to read the article, it quotes Gene Upshaw as saying "When we were behind in the fourth quarter, with our backs to our end zone, no matter how he had played up to that point, we could look in his eyes and you knew, you knew, he was going to win it for us. That was an amazing feeling."
That's only scratching the surface. Hell, even our fans have nicknames (Gorilla Rilla, anyone?)
Of course, not all nicknames are cool or flattering. I played football with a ginormous, pigeon-toed guy whose nickname was "Fat Nasty." Once he said, "I know I'm fat, but why I gotta be nasty?" Among other things, anyone who had the misfortune of standing behind him in a 3-point stance knew why. It gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "just say no to crack." Another teammate was dubbed "Chow Head" because he had the most wrinkly-ass neck that we'd ever seen, kind of like a Chow dog. In fairness, he was more of a Shar Pei, but what the hell did we know? Lastly, there was a guy in basic training that our drill sergeant called "Lizard" because he had a nervous habit of licking his lips. Visualize a dog eating peanut butter and you've got a pretty good approximation.
But, I digress. I know that I've reminisced about past players and their nicknames, but we've got current players that have some good ones:
- Jared "The Hulk" Veldheer - If you missed Levi's article, check it out. All that's missing is green face paint and a pile or rubble. I imagine that Jared's birth was much like when the Kool-Aid Man used to bust through a wall and yell "Oh yeah!"
- Darren "RunDMC" McFadden - I see that Marcel Reese calls him DMAC, but I've always thought RunDMC was cool dating back to his days at Arkansas.
- Charles "C-Wood" Woodson - Truthfully, I'd like to give him a nickname like "Thank you for coming back, you magnificent bastard," but that's a little unwieldy. C-Wood works just fine until something better comes along. "The Godfather" maybe?
- Sebastian "Seabass" Janikowski - Hey, he's a kicker. I think that's pretty damn good under the circumstances.
We're all aware that many so-called "experts" have described our roster as the worst in the NFL and, if I may, they can kiss my ass until their lips are chapped. We have some studs, unfortunately not all of them have nicknames, or at least that I'm aware of. So, I put it to you, Raider Nation, to enlighten us on some nicknames that we may not be aware of or otherwise suggest some that fit.