How Iron Man and Dr. Octopus help the Patriots

Some names just sound like they belong on a football field – and some sound like they belong in a deli…and still others sound like they belong in an office cubicle…

…some need ominous nicknames if their real name doesn’t sound tough enough.

Chandler “Dr. Octopus” Jones is back at practice and will play in this Sunday’s Title tilt.. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Dont’a Hightower doesn’t have to worry about a nickname, nor does Brandon Spikes…both of their names suggest dark malfeasance.  Hightower could be referenced to Bubba Smith’s character in the old Police Academy films, while Spikes just sounds tough.

You could even make a case for Vince Wilfork not needing a nickname, but because of the play on words, it’s difficult to omit.

And only for the defense.  Offensive guys don’t get nicknames, unless it can’t be helped.

You have Gronk and Hernando, though some prefer Rainmaker for Hernandez – and that’s about it.  The Stupid and wrong “Brady Bunch” nickname will never be uttered in my presence again – though I just did to make my point.  That’s just…bad.

Most of the time, offensive linemen have gritty names, but the Patriots are lacking in that department as well…Mankins is kind of tough sounding and Vollmer sounds like the name of a bad prison guard…but Nate Solder?  Dan Connolly?  Ryan Wendell?  Sounds like the boys sitting around the table on an episode of Roseanne, playin’ poker…decidedly not tough.

The receivers?  Welker and Lloyd sounds like a British funeral home.  Hoomanawanui doesn’t count because no one can pronounce his name.  Fells?  Makes me think of that evil sitcom Three’s Company – so, no spank you.

Ridley, Boldin and Woodhead sounds like the law firm that they all replaced and there’s really nothing you can do with Vereen – his name conjures up images of his famous cousin Ben tap dancing all over the joint…

Brady?  Like I said, let’s not even go there…

…but despite the fact that the offense just doesn’t have any really, really cool names – nicknames are only for the defense, so the offense will just have to keep kicking it, then retire to the nerdery…

And after 16 regular season games and one playoff game of hearing the same old drab Patriot Way, what with all of their scoring and winning and such nonsense, the thing to do is to get bent on old Police Academy films, watch many sitcom reruns, eat many honey buns and ponder these nicknames for the New England Patriots’ defense:

DE Chandler “Dr. Octopus” Joneslong limbs and he clings to the quarterback…

DT Kyle “Tough” LoveThat one was obvious…

DT Vince “Forklift” WilforkHe picks ‘em up and shoves e’m back, right, Mark Sanchez?

DE Rob “Ironman” Ninkovichlabored as an iron worker in Junior College

OLB Dont’a “Bubba” Hightowerin honor of Sgt. Hightower, Bubba Smith

MLB Brandon SpikesHe doesn’t need a nickname – impressively tough sounding…

OLB Jerod “Extra” MayoYup, that’s where the deli reference came from

CB Alfonzo “The Shark” DennardThe Fonz, jumpin’ the Shark…

SS Steve “Joey Tribiani” Gregorylooks just like the guy, don’t you think?…

FS Devin “D-mac” McCourtyHe already had a nickname, so let’s go with it

CB Aqib “The Last” TalibTranslation of his name – or, that’s the last ball you’re gonna see…

DB Patrick “Cheech ‘n”ChungI couldn’t help it…

And now that I look at this ridiculously talented lineup with the goofy nicknames, the solid inner core and infusion of youth at each level…I still can’t figure out a good name for the defense as a whole…

…although I could just call them the best defense this team has seen in many years – physical, young and violent – so young that they’re only going to get better, which is why the Patriots will be a force for years to come.

Hopefully on Sunday night at around 10:00pm, we can call them AFC Champions as well.

Topics: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers

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