Nfl Teams Named After Birds

With avian-inspired names like the Eagles, Falcons, Ravens, Cardinals, and Seahawks, the National Football League has its fair share of teams named after birds. These high-flying monikers capture key attributes like speed, pride, and predator instincts.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals, and Seattle Seahawks all have bird-related names. These names were chosen to represent the teams’ characteristics and local culture.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a closer look at each of these teams, exploring the history behind their ornithological names. We’ll examine why birds like eagles, falcons, ravens, cardinals, and seahawks made ideal symbols for NFL franchises seeking to convey values like leadership, aggression, and aerial skill.

Philadelphia Eagles

Origin of the Name

The Philadelphia Eagles, one of the most iconic teams in the National Football League (NFL), derived their name from the majestic bird of prey, the eagle. The team was established in 1933 and was originally named the “Philadelphia Football Club.”

However, in 1933, the team’s owner, Bert Bell, was inspired by the symbolism and strength associated with the eagle, and decided to rename the team as the Philadelphia Eagles.

The name change not only represented a rebranding effort, but it also reflected the team’s desire to embody the characteristics associated with eagles – power, agility, and tenacity. Since then, the Philadelphia Eagles have become synonymous with the city’s sports culture and have built a strong fan base known for their unwavering support.

Eagle Symbolism and Significance

The choice of the eagle as the team’s mascot holds deep symbolism and significance. Eagles are known for their grace and ability to soar high in the sky, symbolizing freedom and ambition. They are also recognized for their sharp vision, keen instincts, and fearless nature, all traits that can be attributed to the Philadelphia Eagles’ playing style on the football field.

Eagles are often associated with power, leadership, and victory, making them an ideal representation for a competitive sports team. The team’s logo, featuring a fierce-looking eagle with outstretched wings, further reinforces this symbolism.

It serves as a reminder of the team’s commitment to excellence and their relentless pursuit of success.

Over the years, the Philadelphia Eagles have had several notable achievements, including multiple Super Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl victory in 2018. The team’s mascot, Swoop, a larger-than-life eagle, has also become a beloved symbol of the team’s spirit and resilience.

If you want to learn more about the Philadelphia Eagles, you can visit their official website here.

Atlanta Falcons

Backstory of the Name

The Atlanta Falcons, a team in the National Football League (NFL), derived their name from the falcon, a bird known for its speed, agility, and grace. The team was established in 1965 and has been a prominent presence in the league ever since.

The name “Falcons” was chosen through a fan contest, and it perfectly captures the energy and spirit of the Atlanta team.

Falcon Attributes and Meaning

The falcon is a symbol of power, precision, and determination, which aligns with the qualities of the Atlanta Falcons team. Falcons are known for their exceptional hunting skills, as they can dive at incredible speeds to catch their prey.

This bird’s ability to swiftly change direction in mid-air also reflects the team’s agility and adaptability on the football field.

The falcon’s distinctive features, such as its sharp eyesight and keen instincts, are reminiscent of the team’s focus and strategic approach to the game. The Atlanta Falcons have been known for their explosive offense and relentless defense, showcasing the same intensity and drive that falcons exhibit in the wild.

Moreover, the falcon symbolizes victory and success, which are aspirations shared by the Atlanta Falcons. Over the years, the team has achieved numerous accomplishments, including division championships and Super Bowl appearances.

The falcon’s symbolism resonates with the team’s ambition to soar above their opponents and emerge victorious.

To learn more about the Atlanta Falcons and their journey, visit their official website:

Baltimore Ravens

History of the Name

The Baltimore Ravens are a professional football team based in Baltimore, Maryland. The team was established in 1996 when Art Modell, the owner of the Cleveland Browns, decided to relocate the franchise to Baltimore.

The name “Ravens” was chosen through a fan contest, with over 33,000 entries submitted.

The name “Ravens” holds historical significance for the city of Baltimore. Edgar Allan Poe, the famous American writer, spent a significant portion of his life in Baltimore and was buried there after his death. He wrote a poem called “The Raven,” which is considered one of his most famous works.

The team’s name pays homage to Poe and his literary contributions to the city.

Raven Symbolism and Imagery

The raven is a bird often associated with mystery, intelligence, and adaptability. In many cultures, it is believed to be a symbol of wisdom and transformation. The choice of the raven as the team’s mascot reflects these qualities and adds an air of mystique to the franchise.

The team’s logo features a stylized raven with its wings outstretched, ready for flight. The color scheme of black and purple further reinforces the team’s association with the bird. The team’s uniforms and merchandise prominently feature the raven imagery, creating a strong visual identity for the Baltimore Ravens.

The Baltimore Ravens have embraced their avian namesake, incorporating the raven into their brand and creating a sense of unity and identity among their fans. The team’s success on the field, including two Super Bowl victories, has further solidified the association between the team and the powerful symbolism of the raven.

For more information about the Baltimore Ravens and their history, visit their official website:

Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals are a professional football team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They are one of the oldest and most respected franchises in the National Football League (NFL). The team was established in 1898 in Chicago and moved to St. Louis in 1960 before finally settling in Arizona in 1988.

The name “Cardinals” has a rich history and holds special significance for the team and its fans.

Name Origin and Evolution

The Cardinals’ name has its origins in the vibrant red bird known as the cardinal. The team was originally named the “Racine Normals” in 1898, but changed its name to the “Racine Cardinals” the following year.

The name was chosen to pay homage to the vibrant red color of the cardinal bird, which is also the state bird of Illinois. Throughout the years, the team went through several name changes before officially becoming the Arizona Cardinals in 1994.

Fun Fact: The Cardinals are the oldest continuously run professional American football team in the United States.

Cardinal Traits and Representation

Just like the bird they are named after, the Arizona Cardinals exhibit certain traits that reflect the spirit of the cardinal. The cardinal is known for its bright red plumage, which symbolizes passion, energy, and intensity.

These qualities are often associated with the team’s playing style and their never-give-up attitude on the field.

The cardinal bird is also known for its beautiful and melodious song. This attribute reflects the team’s commitment to entertaining their fans and putting on a show during games. The team’s fans, known as the “Birdgang,” proudly wear red and cheer on their beloved Cardinals with unwavering support.

Did You Know: The Cardinals have had some notable success, including a trip to the Super Bowl in 2009, where they narrowly lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Arizona Cardinals’ logo features a fierce-looking cardinal bird with its wings spread wide and its head held high. This logo represents the team’s determination, strength, and resilience. The cardinal bird is a symbol of good luck and is often associated with loyalty, which resonates with the team’s loyal fan base.

For more information on the Arizona Cardinals, visit their official website:

Seattle Seahawks

Story Behind the Name

The Seattle Seahawks are one of the 32 teams in the National Football League (NFL) and are named after the majestic seabirds commonly found in the Pacific Northwest. The team was established in 1976 and chose the name “Seahawks” through a fan contest.

The name was selected to reflect the strong ties between the team and its local community.

The winning entry was submitted by a woman named Lorraine Nordstrom, who drew inspiration from the region’s Native American culture. “Seahawk” is an alternative name for the osprey, a large bird of prey that is known for its agility, speed, and hunting abilities.

The team’s logo and colors were also influenced by Native American art and symbolism.

Since its inception, the Seattle Seahawks have become synonymous with the city and its passionate fan base, known as the “12th Man.” The team’s success on the field, including multiple Super Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl championship in 2014, has further solidified their place in the hearts of Seattle sports fans.

Seahawk Characteristics and Metaphor

The seahawk, or osprey, is a remarkable bird known for its hunting skills and adaptability. They are highly skilled fishers, diving into the water from great heights to catch their prey. This characteristic of the seahawk is often associated with the team’s aggressive and relentless playing style.

Furthermore, the seahawk’s ability to thrive in diverse environments, from coastal areas to inland lakes, represents the team’s resilience and ability to overcome challenges. Just as the seahawk can adapt to different surroundings, the Seattle Seahawks have shown their ability to compete and succeed against a variety of opponents.

The seahawk also serves as a metaphor for the team’s connection to the city of Seattle. The bird’s presence in the Pacific Northwest is a constant reminder of the region’s natural beauty and the team’s commitment to representing their community.

The Seahawks have embraced this symbolism, creating a strong bond between the team and their fans.

For more information about the Seattle Seahawks, you can visit their official website here.


The eagle, falcon, raven, cardinal, and seahawk encapsulate attributes like leadership, speed, and aerial skill that NFL teams aim to embody on the field. Their selection as franchise names reflects a desire to harness the symbolism and imagery of these majestic birds.

Whether tracing back to local ties, relocation stories, or efforts to convey competitive edge, the bird names chosen by these NFL teams provide poignant representation of team identities and regional pride.

So next time you cheer on your favorite NFL team, consider the storied ornithological origins of their moniker. With names evoking the regality of eagles, the velocity of falcons, the cunning of ravens, the vibrance of cardinals, and the dexterity of seahawks, these avian nicknames capture the essence of each franchise and fanbase.

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