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Top 5 Manliest Three-Syllable Names in NFL History
The NFL doesn't need more reasons to be loved. Already America's favorite pastime, the NFL offers decent parity, made-for-television game play, and players with freakish athletic gifts. But since I first heard the name Dick Butkus as a young child watching Sunday broadcast games with my dad, I've kept a list of the best names in football. Here's a group of the manliest names in NFL history - that each contain just three syllables.
(Why three syllables? A three-syllable name is perfect for announcers who often hold a middle syllable for dramatic effect: "Tom Braaaaa-dy").
Chicago Bears Hall of Fame middle linebacker Dick Butkus has one of the manliest names of all-time. His first name is not only a common nickname for traditional men, it also, well, is a slang term for male genitalia. But what really makes Dick Butkus such a manly name is a sound effect called cacophony. This effect is created by a (manly) combination of harsh, discordant sounds. The "d," "k," and "b" sounds give "Dick Butkus" its bruising, confident tone.
Known via his three-syllable moniker "Iron Mike," Hall of Fame player and coach Mike Ditka has a name nearly as cacophonous as Dick Butkus. The "k" and "d" sounds give the name a tough edge worthy of Ditka's manly sideline scowl. Also, Ditka gets bonus points for lending his name to a totally manly campaign to raise awareness about prostate cancer.
Okay, I'm cheating here by leaving out Vince Lombardi's first name from the syllable count. But the name Lombardi is synonymous with the great qualities of manliness: toughness, success and perseverance. Lombardi's teams won the first two NFL Super Bowls, cementing by association the manliness of his name for eternity.
The two consecutive "b" syllables in the name of Boss Bailey, the former outside linebacker for the Denver Bronos and Detroit Lions, create an attention-grabbing name. But it's the first name that makes Bailey's name so manly. Come on - he is, literally, "Boss." Hard to argue with that.
The name of one of the toughest and most storied quarterbacks in NFL history might be three syllables. Or it might not. The former quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings isn't even sure how to pronounce Favre. And that, in and of itself, is manly: a name so well known that it doesn't even need a fixed pronunciation. A phonetically impossible name, Brett Favre defies expectations and conventional wisdom. Just like Favre did as a player. Totally manly.
So, what are your favorite three-syllable names in NFL history?
S. Alexander Cooke is a lifelong fan of the Chicago Bears and NFL football. He also teaches high school English, where he makes his students learn literary terms such as "cacophony."
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