Too bad we can't drop 'Bombers'

KEN ROSENTHAL

October 02, 1993|By KEN ROSENTHAL

What's the logo, a mushroom cloud? Who's the mascot, Sgt. Slaughter? What's the phone number, 1-800-DIAL-F16?

Bombers.

Forget Super Bowl XXXLLVIII.

Bring on World War III.

Our coach will be Norman Schwarzkopf. He won't carry a clipboard, he'll carry a little black box. Fans will chant, "Push the button!" and, on surprise pass plays, "Incoming!"

Bombers.

No animals, vegetables or minerals were available, so we took the name most preferred by war criminals.

Bombers.

Charlotte gets endorsed by the NAACP, we'll settle for the NRA.

Bombers.

L It'll make for an interesting promotion on Pearl Harbor Day.

How did this happen? Rhinos was the compromise choice of the two ownership groups. Ravens was the winner of The Baltimore Sun poll. But, faster than you can say, "Go to war, Miss Agnes," both were shot down.

Bombers.

A little tougher to explain than, say, Red Sox.

"Why are they called the Bombers?" generations of young Baltimore football fans will ask their parents if Baltimore lands a .. franchise.

There won't even be a pause.

"Jackets," the parents will respond.

As usual, it's all about marketing. Prospective owner Boogie Weinglass got a trademark on the name more than a year ago. He loves the alliteration. He loves the reference to the city's role in military aviation history.

Mostly, he loves the jackets.

Alliteration?

"Baltimore Orioles" works fine without alliteration. So did "Baltimore Colts."

Military aviation history?

Like when Donald Croner crashed his plane into Memorial Stadium?

To hear Boogie tell it, one would think the Battle of Britain was staged over Fort McHenry. Actually, all Baltimore did was serve as headquarters for defense contractors that invented and built war planes.

Makes your heart swell with pride.

Martin Marietta announced it would close its Glen Burnie plant with 481 workers on the same day Boogie revealed this wonderful nickname. Nice timing. The Cold War is over, Israel is making peace with the PLO, but here in Charm City, we're climbing into the cockpit for battle.

Can't wait for Bombers-Redskins.

The Politically Incorrect Bowl.

At first, the NFL didn't like Bombers, and not just because of the military connotations. The league headquarters is in New York, a few miles from the World Trade Center.

"That place was bombed!" some public relations whiz in the league office noted.

But now, seven months later . . .

"It was unanimous in the league office," Weinglass said. "They loved the Bombers."

"It's a whole combination of the name, the history of the city and the look," Joel (son of Malcolm) Glazer gushed.

The look? Ask the Pentagon. It's top secret, of course.

All right, maybe there's no reason to get upset. But in an age of street violence, domestic violence and TV violence, it's possible to find a better nickname than one that brings to mind a jet fighter laying waste to Iraq.

Bombers.

Are we sure Tom Clancy isn't behind all this?

The highlight film will be called "Thirty Seconds Over Baltimore." The first 1,000 fans to place orders will receive a free "Top Gun" video, plus an autographed picture of Rambo.

The training site?

Forget the old Colts facility in Owings Mills. We're heading straight for the Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Bombers.

Ah, not to worry, all the other prospective expansion team nicknames stink, too.

St. Louis Stallions, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars. Two alliterations, three abominations. Memphis is considering several names, including Grizzlies and Gamblers.

Gamblers?

They'd better cover the spread.

Anyway, Baltimore Bombers it is.

The headline writers can't wait:

"Bombers Eject Pilot"

(When the coach gets fired).

"Bombers Launch Offensive"

(In tribute to a rare touchdown).

"Bombers Crash and Burn"

(After the team finishes 0-16).

What the heck, it's only a name.

We can always blow it up.

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