1. Sports

Tampa Bay and elsewhere react to XFL team name. Was Vipers the right choice?

Think you have a better mascot, color scheme or logo idea? Let us know in the comments.
Tampa Bay Vipers logo, released Wednesday. [XFL] [XFL]
Published Aug. 22

The XFL revealed the names and logos for its eight teams Wednesday, a long-awaited step toward the football league’s February 2020 debut.

Its team names, however, left a lot to be desired. Though not as much as elsewhere, this rang true in the Bay area, which is now the home of the ‘Tampa Bay Vipers.’

It’s better than being the Battlehawks (sorry, St. Louis), but not much about the Vipers — and its lime green and black logo — scream Tampa Bay. Residents, fans and journalists quickly noted, taking their complaints, suggestions and (occasional) praise to social media.

Here’s what they’re saying about the Vipers’ branding specifically, starting with bloggers and journalists.

Steven Ruiz, USA Today:

“These names sound like they were made up by an 8-year-old in 1997. Kids in the 1990s loved snakes. Well, let me tell you something: Teams named after snakes are always bad. Throw in the fact that they’re from Tampa and this team has no chance. I’m calling it right now: When this league folds after Week 6, the Vipers will be in dead last. You can take that to the bank — the bank that will seize all of the league’s assets when it goes bankrupt, that is.”

James Dator, SB Nation:

"Every single one of these names is giving me serious Stranger Things vibes. It’s like they were molded from a time I appreciate, but never got to live through. I enjoy the economy of syllables in “Tampa Vipers” — it makes it naturally fun to say.

Also I assume there are probably thousands of venomous snakes in Tampa. Bay snakes. Snakes which enjoy the bay. Possibly vipers. Also could be predatory lending, which also feels very Florida.

I’m also fully expecting someone to jump in the comments to tell me of the time their grandmother in Tampa had her chihuahua swallowed by a viper."

Khadrice Rollins, Sports Illustrated:

“Of all the names, this is the one that sucks the least. In fact, it’s actually decent. People love to make venomous snakes seem even cooler than they really are and Vipers is a swift enough nickname that it can actually sound respectable to people. The logo, however, is straight out of Microsoft Paint and is making my eyes bleed.”

Pete Blackburn, CBS Sports:

"Name: B+...Not bad, but why does Tampa Bay continue to get sports teams? I'm not saying Tampa doesn't deserve them, but why Tampa Bay? No other body of water gets as many sports teams as this one. It's ridiculous. Why not the Boston Harbor Vipers, huh?

Logo: A...We’ve got a winner. Awesome color scheme and the snake fangs seamlessly worked into the 'V' is very cool."

Rick Zamperin, Global News:

"At the bottom of the heap is Los Angeles and Tampa Bay. The L.A. Wildcats’ attempt to stylize the letters L and A into a memorable logo fell awfully flat. The Vipers’ logo may be the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.

A green and yellow letter V? Worst. Logo. Ever."

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News:

"Now we’re channeling roller derby, but this is still solid given there are many stories about snakes and toilets coming out of Florida. Names like Snakes, Cobras, Adders, Copperheads or Asps just don’t have the same hiss to them.

The V logo isn’t complicated, but it has simple verdant charm and stands well for Vipers. Look, the Rays also sounded weird at first. At least this team gets Ray Jay instead of the Trop."


Reaction on Twitter, as imagined, mostly varied on the team’s choice of a mascot, logo and colors. Some applauded its colors similarity to that of USF athletics, while others asked: ‘Why Vipers?’

Alternative names lobbied on Twitter included the Tampa Bay Barracudas, Burn, Bullsharks and even a return to being the Tampa Bay Bandits, which was Tampa’s United States Football League team in the 1980′s.

Perhaps the most fitting, however, came from Eric Dungy on Twitter: The Tampa Bay Florida Men.

Catchy? Meh.

Accurate to the region? Absolutely.

Here’s what others had to say:


  1. There was a time when Colin Kaepernick was a beloved player in San Francisco. He took the 49ers to the Super Bowl during the 2012 season and reached the NFC Championship Game the following year. If, after sitting out for three seasons, Kaepernick still has NFL-caliber skills, the Bucs should seriously consider signing him. File photo Times files
    John Romano | The Bucs still have not committed to Jameis Winston as their quarterback in 2020 so taking a flyer on the one-time 49ers star may not be a bad idea.
  2. By all indications, USF coach Charlie Strong has managed to keep his team unified during a miserable season. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    By all indications, Charlie Strong’s team hasn’t become fragmented despite a 4-5 season.
  3. 2 hours ago• Sports
    Jameis Winston (3) points to fans after the Bucs' 2017 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Tampa Bay Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Previewing Bucs-Saints, justice for the Astros, answers for the Lightning.
  4. Will the home crowd push Mitchell past Bradenton Manatee and through to its first-ever region final in football? SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    Rodney Page and Bob Putnam offer up their thoughts on tonight’s second-round matchups.
  5. Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck leads him team on the field prior to an Oct. 26 game against Maryland in Minneapolis. Minnesota won 52-10. STACY BENGS  |  AP
    The last time Minnesota started 9-0 was 1904. Another big event that year involved Cy Young.
  6. Junior Ezra Brennan has a shot at history if Mitchell beats Bradenton Manatee tonight. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
    The first-year starter for the Mustangs gets a little cousinly advice from ex-Mitchell quarterback Jake Mattos.
  7. FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2018, file photo, former NFL football quarterback Colin Kaepernick smiles on stage during W.E.B. Du Bois Medal ceremonies at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass. Kaepernick plans to audition for NFL teams on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in a private workout arranged by the league to be held in Atlanta. STEVEN SENNE  |  AP
    “We’ll see what’s up,” coach Bruce Arians says of the NFL-arranged setup Saturday in Atlanta.
  8. Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks poses for a photo with Reyce Ramsey, 9, one of the fans who sent him a get-well card. SCOTT RAMSEY  |  Special to the Times
    When the Florida Gators’ quarterback got hurt at Kentucky, cards came from a 9-year-old in Kissimmee and a retiree in Oldsmar.
  9. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett hits Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with Rudolph's helmet. DAVID RICHARD  |  AP
    Browns beat Steelers, but the triumph is marred by a brawl that will likely lead to the suspension of Cleveland’s best defensive player.
  10. Magic host the Spurs and more sports on the air.