The “Cardinal Rule” revisited.

The Anaheim Ducks’ Stanley Cup championship provided a bit more support for my belief that “bad uniforms will make teams play worse.” The evidence is statistically weak but anecdotally strong, and it allows me to add “stupid team names” to what makes teams play worse.

The Team With The Silliest Name in Professional Sports, the “Mighty Ducks of Anaheim,” wore these undignified kiddie jerseys from 1993 to 2006 and even used this monstrosity as a third jersey for a season or two. During that time they had an overall record of 409 wins, 451 losses, 107 ties, and 37 overtime losses. That works out to earning 47.9% of all possible points. In a league where over half the teams get into the playoffs, they only had four playoff appearances in their first twelve seasons. (In fairness, they were a game away from winning the Stanley Cup back in 2003.)

In 2006, the new, non-Disney ownership jettisoned the duckified hockey mask logo, and went with plain, boring, yet dignified uniforms and logos. They also removed “Mighty” from the team name, creating a little more distance between the team’s identity and a series of children’s movies. Result? The team’s best season ever: 48 wins, 20 losses, 14 overtime losses, 67.1% of all possible points, a 16-5 playoff record, and their first Stanley Cup title.

Hopefully teams such as the Minnesota Wild will catch on to the idea.

2 Responses to “The “Cardinal rule” revisited.”

  1. gatorbob Says:
    June 9th, 2007 at 11:35 AMUnfortunately, American soccer franchises have always been the worst offenders in this regard. MLS have followed the dubious legacy of NASL teams such as “Chicago Sting” and “New England Tea Men” with a series of silly monikers such as the late lamented Dallas Burn and San Jose Clash. My least favorite habit is the tendency to try to ape traditional European team names without any knowledge of those traditions. Thus, we have D.C. United with any apparent merger of teams, F.C. Dallas and, worst of all, Real Salt Lake, which begs the question – “Who is the royal family of Utah?”
  2. VDV Says:
    June 9th, 2007 at 3:37 PMMLS ruins my observation, because in a league full of terrible team names, somebody still has to win the title. That said, it could be argued that the silly unis and team names turn off potential fans, and make MLS even less popular than it already is.

    However, they are open to improvements: “Kansas City Wizards” is an improvement over “Wiz,” “FC Dallas” is an improvement over “Dallas Burn,” and San Jose Earthquakes was an improvement over “Clash,” until they moved to Houston (who had their own little naming controversy with “1836″).

    I dislike the name “Fire” for Chicago–naming a team for a city’s worst disaster? Please. I dislike “Revolution” for New England; it’s too abstract. “Columbus Crew” sounds like a Sunday league team, not a professional team.

    I think the worst offender in MLS’s brief history was “Tampa Bay Mutiny.” Is that supposed to inspire loyalty?

    There should be a “Rename everything in the MLS” contest.