Team Names That Make No Sense

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Calgary Flames
> First season: 1980-1981
> Notable players: Jarome Iginla, Al MacInnis
> Moved from: Atlanta

Before they moved to Calgary, the Flames played in Atlanta, beginning in 1972. Their nickname is a reference to the burning of Atlanta during the Civil War by General William T. Sherman. Since moving to Calgary, the Flames have won the Stanley Cup once, in 1989.

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Cleveland Browns
> First season: 1946
> Notable players: Clay Matthews, Jim Brown
> Moved from: N/A

The Cleveland Browns made this list because their namesake spent more time resenting the team than leading it. Cleveland got its “Browns” nickname in honor of Paul Brown, its first coach and general manager. Brown was initially opposed to the choice, but relented. Brown was a great coach, but was fired in 1963 after butting heads with management. He went on to found the Cincinnati Bengals — the Browns’ big in-state rivals. His son Mike still owns the Bengals, who play in Paul Brown Stadium.

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Indianapolis Colts
> First season: 1984
> Notable players: Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison
> Moved from: Baltimore

Thirty-five years ago, Colts owner Bob Irsay ordered his team to pack up and move in the middle of the night and head to Indianapolis from Baltimore. The team retained the Colts nickname, which is connected to Baltimore because of that area’s horse-breeding tradition. Indianapolis is known more for an event featuring a different kind of horsepower — the Indianapolis 500.

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Los Angeles Clippers
> First season: 1984-1985
> Notable players: Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan
> Moved from: San Diego

Before the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1984 to make that city a two-team NBA town, the Clippers played in San Diego. Their nickname made sense in San Diego, where clippers, fast-sailing ships in the 19th century, made port. San Diego is also home to one of the nation’s largest naval bases. In Los Angeles, a city not known as a major seaport city, the nickname makes less sense.

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Los Angeles Dodgers
> First season: 1958
> Notable players: Clayton Kershaw, Sandy Koufax
> Moved from: New York

The team got its nickname when it was based in Brooklyn, with the name referring to people who dodge street cars in the New York City borough. Los Angeles had little in the way of mass transportation when the Dodgers decamped to the West Coast after the 1957 baseball season. Nickname aside, the move has benefitted the Dodgers, who have won five world championships since moving to Los Angeles.