Waiting for the team name

Atlantic City's Arena Football League franchise is expected to reveal its team name in early March. Pictured is Trifecta Sports & Entertainment President George Manias, whose company will operate the league-owned franchise.

Atlantic City’s new Arena Football League franchise said it received more than 1,750 submissions for its name-the-team contest.

According to Trifecta Sports & Entertainment President George Manias, whose company will operate the league-owned franchise, the name already has been chosen and will be announced in early March, along with the official logo, team colors, etc.

FYI, considering the signs that adorned the news conference at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall on Thursday, it’s almost certain they’ll wear gold and navy blue uniforms, a la the University of Notre Dame and Holy Spirit High School.

Given the league’s belief that sports betting will help make it a success, it should come as no surprise the five finalists are the Blackjacks, Gamblers, High Rollers, Jackpot and Royals.

Rumor has it the Atlantic City Money Lines, Over/Unders and Point Spreads just missed the cut.

It’s a good bet that if New Jersey had not legalized sports betting last summer, the Atlantic City Blackjacks/Gamblers/High Rollers/Jackpot/Royals would not exist.

Every AFL game will be listed in Atlantic City sportsbooks, as well as with online sites in New Jersey. Assuming officials will be able to update the technology inside the antiquated arena — Wifi connections are spotty at best — fans will be able to place in-game bets from their seats.

“The Atlantic City franchise and sports betting is a match made in heaven,” AFL Commissioner Randall Boe said Thursday. “It will be the greatest thing in sports.”

I just wish they had considered other names since landing the franchise is part of Atlantic City’s quest to become known as more than just a gambling town.

Some of the previous professional sports franchises that were based in the resort failed for a variety of reasons, but they at least had cool, creative names.

The Atlantic City Surf baseball team had a great logo — I think I still have one of their blue baseball caps with the wave on the front — and naming their ballpark the Sandcastle was genius.

Upon acquiring the naming rights to the field, Bernie Robbins Jewelers had the opportunity to come up with its own, unique name — Bernie Robbins Diamond would have been a home run — but struck out with Bernie Robbins Stadium.

The Boardwalk Bullies hockey team was also a perfect fit, incorporating the iconic Boardwalk with the tough, physical image the sport embodies. The bulldog mascot on the front of the jerseys sported an anchor tattoo on its forearm, a bandage on its jowl and a spiked collar.

Two franchises were called the Seagulls. Boardwalk Hall was home to an Eastern Hockey League team from 1933-53, then the United States Basketball League franchise used it from 1996-2001.

If you don’t think of a seagull as menacing, trying sitting at the beach with a plate of french fries and escaping unscathed.

The introduction of casinos in 1978 brought the influx of related nicknames for teams such as the Aces (basketball), Hi-Rollers (basketball) and Cardsharks (indoor football).

And all of them crapped out.

Given the ties to sports betting, I understand the decision to stick with the gambling theme, though I would have preferred another name that would pay homage to the city and other aspects of the Jersey shore.

I was one of the 1,750-plus folks who entered the naming contest and offered the Atlantic City Wave. I envisioned a logo similar to the Surf’s, a huge, heavy swell similar to those ridden by local surfers such as Andrew Gesler, Zack Humphreys, Rob Kelly and Cassidy McClain.

Atlantic City LandSharks wouldn’t be a bad choice. It might work even better if you could talk Jimmy Buffett, whose businesses include the Margaritaville restaurant and accompanying LandShark Bar & Grill at Resorts Atlantic City, plus LandShark Beer, into a sponsorship.

Fins up.

If they really wanted to get creative, they could have gone with the Atlantic City Diving Horses, which was an amazing attraction on Steel Pier from 1923 to 1978.

Then again, given the Arena Football League’s marriage to sports betting, it might not be the best idea to have a mascot that is famous for taking a dive.

David Weinberg’s Extra Points column appears Wednesdays and Sundays in The Press.

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Contact: 609-272-7201 DWeinberg@pressofac.com Twitter @PressACWeinberg


Member of The Press sports staff since 1986, starting my 27th season as The Press Eagles' beat writer. Also cover boxing, MMA, golf, high school sports and everything else.

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