Twitter runs a partnership with organizations where a certain hashtag can be suffixed with a logo. All 32 NFL teams have done this. However, I’ve found that the hashtags that they use vary in quality. So I thought I’d put together a completely subjective ranking of how well teams are doing in branding their identity on Twitter.
(Note that the logos seem to be disabled for all the non-playoff teams for now, but I previously verified that these were the hashtags that once had logos based upon ESPN’s venerable @NFLMatchup account that regularly used them during the regular season.)
The Top Ten
I feel that these teams are above average in the hashtag branding that they are trying to form.
1. #Skol (Vikings)
Four letters. One syllable. Very identifiable with the team and its region. Forms a chilling chant, especially when led by their players. This is what building a strong football fanbase is all about, right here.
2. #DaBears (Bears)
Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned reference to Bill Swerski’s Superfans? This is the type of marketing that teams should definitely seize upon: when your team makes it in pop culture, ride the wave and take advantage of it.
3. #GoPackGo (Packers)
A nice and simple, and highly identifiable phrase played to a catchy, jazzy chant. That’s what you want.
4. #FlyEaglesFly (Eagles)
Historical fight songs that unite the fanbase should always be utilized if available. Other than “E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles!” (which would be difficult to put in a hashtag), nothing brings together Eagles fans more than the title and first three words of their song.
5. #HTTR (Redskins)
Say what you will about the team’s name (and I don’t think much of it myself), but like their division rivals in Philadelphia, Hail to the Redskins is a very well crafted fight song, in spite of its lyrics, and initializing the song title has long been the fans’ way to unite via text, which is what Twitter’s all about.
6. #HereWeGo (Steelers)
“Here we go [team], here we go!” has long been a common chant in standings, but give the Steelers credit for taking the phrase and making it their own.
7. #RaiderNation (Raiders)
[Mascot name] [geographical area] is a tried and true formula to build fanbase identity and cohesion. Nothing fancy here from the Raiders, just doing something that’s long worked for them.
T-8. #BroncosCountry (Broncos), #ChiefsKingdom (Chiefs)
Once again, we see the simplicity of the [mascot name] [geographical area] work very well, and both teams should continue to push the phrases. However, both are just below their most hated AFC West rival because it does give the feeling that they are trying to mimic what the Raiders have already done. Still, you certainly can’t surrender the concept to them.
10. #KeepPounding (Panthers)
The phrase by itself isn’t that notable (and is loaded with double entendre potential). But when you realize that the origin of the phrase comes from the enduring story of the life of Sam Mills, it makes much more sense why this has become an important Panthers tradition.
The Boring Middle
These twelve teams only use their mascot name, or just prepend “Go” to it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in many of these cases there are some missed opportunities that could be had.
Seattle gets a pass here for two reasons. One is that their identifying chant is simply “Sea! Hawks!”, and it works well in that loud stadium that they have. The other is that they’re the only team that’s not using their logo, but instead the increasingly iconic “12s” flag. (By the way, “12s” is much better and more inclusive than Texas A&M’s “12th Man” phrase that they have been excessively litigious over.)
I feel bad for the Jets here, thus I’m giving them a mulligan. Obviously, “J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!” is the long enduring chant of this team. But technical difficulties with Twitter make this unworkable. Hyphens break a hashtag, and a replacement like #J_E_T_S just isn’t going to be feasible for all to easily use. #JetsJetsJets is another option, but it loses its flair without the spelling beforehand. Sometimes life isn’t fair, and Jets fans likely know that all too well.
T-13. #Texans, #Colts, #GoBucs, #GoNiners
I can’t think of any identifying phrase that would go to any of these teams, so they take the most boring awards right smack in the mediocre range. If anyone does know of one, I’ll dock these teams accordingly. In any case, the marketing departments in Houston, Indianapolis, Tampa, and Santa Clara should get to work on developing something.
When your own players form their own identity in a simple phrase that matches well with both the mascot and the attitude, you should work on getting that to take off. #MobSquad has a lot of potential to bring together a fanbase in a city they’ve still just barely returned to.
Seems like they need to do something to honor their ridiculous run of success under Bill Belichick. #WereOnToCincinnati is the most famous Belichickism, but that obviously has flexibility problems. Instead, I’d recommend #DoYourJob as a classic and simple Belichick message to carry on into their future.
C’mon, is there anything more identifying with this team’s fanbase than #BillsMafia? I realize that the team is likely not thrilled with the reputation that phrase has, but a savvy marketing department should seize the phrase’s popularity, sand off the rough edges, and make it their own.
“Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say they gonna not use #WhoDat?” Apparently the Saints marketing department says dat. Quite the failure on their part.
Is there any question that this shouldn’t be anything else than #DawgPound? What else is more identifiable to this fanbase? The only other thing I could think of would be #GPODAWUND.
This team spent decades cultivating itself as America’s Team. Why not go with #AmericasTeam? Yes, it’s highly arrogant, but isn’t arrogance and pride a key characteristic of being a Cowboys fan?
The Bottom Ten
I feel that these teams are below average in the hashtag branding that they are trying to form.
23. #SeizeTheDEY (Bengals)
What’s with taking an iconic phrase in their franchise history, and ruining it with a punny hashtag? At least they’re referencing #WhoDey, but this should be absolutely nothing else but that.
24. #RavensFlock (Ravens)
[Mascot] [group of mascot] has the potential to work, but “flock” simply falls flat due to being such a broadly generic name for any group of birds. I feel like they need to delve deeper. In their own town, the Baltimore Bird Club identified it as “an unkindness of ravens”. That’s a fairly fierce word. Or how about #RavensConspiracy, that’s pretty foreboding. Or, to borrow from their crow cousins, #RavensMurder. Oh, wait…
25. #OnePride (Lions)
This isn’t too bad, with “a pride of lions” being the obvious reference here. But it just doesn’t seem to take off like other phrases do. Maybe with more work it will improve. But it doesn’t bode well when a Google search for the phrase is dominated by MMA results.
26. #GiantsPride (Giants)
More pride again, but unlike the Lions there’s no connection to the mascot to work with here. But far worse, they already have a highly identifiable message used among the fanbase: #BigBlue. Why mess with something that doesn’t need to be messed with?
27. #InBrotherhood (Falcons)
I get what they’re trying to go for here, these videos are quite compelling. I just don’t get why they went with this instead of the #RiseUp phrase that they’ve been pushing for a while, that is both descriptive of their mascot and has identifiable Atlanta roots.
T-28. #FinsUp (Dolphins), #TitanUp (Titans)
[Mascot] Up is another pretty generic, boring name, and neither team really seems to be linking it well to the team identity. They would have been better just sticking with the even more generic Boring Middle than this.
T-30. #BeRedSeeRed (Cardinals)
I…have no idea what this means. And I’m having difficulty even learning about what it is. A Google search of this phrase limited to their website brings up zilch. But something like this has been a thing for a while, as in their endzone they have on each side “‘C’ Red” and “‘B’ Red”. But even with the weird letter substitution for words…what does this mean? Again, a Google search of their website brings up nothing other than two fan comments using it. Cluelessness is one of the worst things a branding campaign can do.
31. #FightForEachOther (Chargers)
32. #DUUUVAL (Jaguars)
Uh…what’s a Duuuval? Apparently, it is a vowel stretching of Duval County, where Jacksonville is seated. Where did this come from? A DJ by the name of Easy E. (No, not Eazy-E.) In any case, they had something going really well with #Sacksonville back in 2017. I get that you have to keep getting sacks to keep that reputation going, but it was still sad to see it abandoned.