Do you remember Rod Smart? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. But you sure as hell remember HE HATE ME. One of the most defining elements of 2001’s XFL was the Nickname jerseys. Unlike the NFL, XFL players didn’t have to put their last name on the back of their jersey, they could put whatever nickname they wanted. It was a clever way to build characters in an alternative football league finding ways to set itself apart.
The new XFL (the neXtFL? anyone? no?) may have an updated rulebook and a strict code of conduct but one thing that won’t be changing are the Nickname jerseys! Here are our Top 5 picks for players that need to make it into the XFL on sweet nickname alone:
Honorable Mentions: ‘Super’ Mario Williams, ‘Smokin Jay’ Cutler
5. Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson
Too obvious? The only NFL player to get a cool nickname on his jersey, Chad Johnson did it by legally changing his name to Ochocinco. He might be 40 years old, but he’ll bring star power, veteran knowledge, and a killer jersey nickname to any team that signs him.
4. ‘Lights Out’ Shawne Merriman
‘Lights Out’ sounds like a nickname we would’ve seen on someone’s back the first time around in the XFL. Although we know defenders will have their work cut out for them in the new XFL, one of them deserves to make the list! Merriman is only 33 years old, and though he was plagued by injuries prior to his NFL exit, a few years off the field may have done him some good. We can definitely imagine ‘Lights Out’ on the same field as ‘He Hate Me’. Here’s hoping we see it!
3. Jared Lorenzen – Take Your Pick
The Hefty Lefty. The Abominable Throwman. The Round Mound of Touchdown. The Pillsbury Throwboy. He Ate Me. Luckily he wears a XXXXL jersey because Jared Lorenzen has a LOT of jersey-worthy nicknames. Plus, he comes with a bonus that any of the eight the new XFL franchises would love to have — he has experience in coaching AND team ownership in addition to manning the offense. Sign him for the nickname, keep him for the front office value!
2. ‘The Gunslinger’ Brett Favre
Although rumor has it he was trying to suit up for the Eagles prior to the Super Bowl, we think he’d look better in an XFL uniform with GUNSLINGER on the back. The XFL is going to need Quarterbacks who can sling it, and Favre is in the best shape of his life right now. If GUNSLINGER makes it onto the back of a jersey and onto an XFL field, then you can bet that will put butts in seats and eyes on sets!
1. ‘Megatron’ Calvin Johnson
Oh come on, we can dream, can’t we! One of the most prolific receivers of the modern era, Calvin Johnson can still play. After losing his smile and stepping away from the game early, we have to believe that deep down, there’s still an itch. Projected to go in the first round of our Book the XFL draft , you can’t deny that Megatron looks GOOD on an XFL field.