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The NFL’s Official Team Hashtags Are Really Weird

Getty Images/Ringer illustration
Getty Images/Ringer illustration

On Wednesday, the NFL and Twitter announced a joint initiative to give each team an emoji linked to an official hashtag heading into the 2016 season. This is great, because sports fans love hashtags! #Let’s! #Go! #Sports! Some of them make sense: The Raiders’ is #RaiderNation and the Packers’ is#GoPackGo, both of which are things that those fan bases actually say. Others are … a bit further out there.

Let’s take a look at some of the stranger hashtags.

Chicago Bears: #FeedDaBears

It’s four days until the team’s opener, and the Chicago Bears are already apologizing to their fans. Instead of using #BearDown, which is frequently deployed to cheer on the Bears, the team announced its official hashtag would be #FeedDaBears. Fans quickly began demanding answers. “Wasn’t an option,” the Bears responded from their account.

The phrase “Bear Down” is, in fact, trademarked by the non-ursine University of Arizona Wildcats, the result of a tragic tale involving the last words of a dying 1920s quarterback. Imagine the board meeting in Chicago about this. #FeedDaBears works, see, because bears have sharp teeth … and they hunt prey … and … they eat … and, uh ….

Here is a complete list of accounts that used the #FeedDaBears hashtag to cheer on the Bears before Wednesday: The Chicago Bears Twitter account, which started utilizing it a week and a half ago, almost as if some plans had already been set in motion. Prior to August 26, there were exactly seven uses of #FeedDaBears on Twitter, ever. (Ever!) One was about some Bears fans’ dinner, one was about the University of Central Arkansas, one was about Toronto (?), and four were attempts to get former Bears kicker Robbie Gould, a then-Bears reporter, and some friends to go to a barbecue in 2012 (supplemental hashtag: #cornfieldurinal). Which is to say: Almost three-quarters of past #FeedDaBears uses were at least as much about feeding as they were about the Bears.

The weird thing is that the Bears do own the trademark for “Da Bears,” which is a thing fans actually say when cheering for the Chicago football team. For whatever reason, they decided not to use it.

Pittsburgh Steelers: #HereWeGo

“Here we go,” he said, gritting his teeth as the roller coaster click-click-clicked to the top of the ride. “Here we go,” he said, feeling the first pangs from bad oysters. “Here we go,” he said, as the too-tired 3-year-old’s eyes welled up.

Yes, “Here We Go” has long been a Steelers anthem. But taken in the cold isolation of social media, the phrase sounds … different.

Q: How often are the words “here we go” used without a sense of dread?


Indianapolis Colts: #ForTheShoe

What? What? What? What? What? What? What??????!!!???

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: #SiegeTheDay

Oh, hell yeah, puns! Love puns. Except, well, this one is kind of hard to spell.

As a wise soul on Twitter put it, I before E except in northern Florida.

Arizona Cardinals: #BeRedSeeRed

This is an anagram for Breeder Seed. Also: Beeeees? Dr. Dr!

The Dissenters: Denver Broncos (#Broncos), Jacksonville Jaguars (#Jaguars), Kansas City Chiefs (#Chiefs), New England Patriots (#Patriots), San Diego Chargers (#Chargers)

Did they forget to respond to Twitter’s request? Did they remember to respond, but just wouldn’t embarrass themselves? These teams are the kids who refused to participate in the skit on the last night of camp. Kudos.

Dallas Cowboys: #DallasCowboys

As opposed to the other ones.

Minnesota Vikings: #Skol

This is not a suggestion that Sam Bradford goes well with a side of vodka. This is not an implication that a plastic container makes vodka extra, super-duper portable. This is not what you should yell into the frigid Minneapolis air right before you guzzle. This is not a fake smile. #Skol!!!!!!!!!!!

Carolina Panthers: #KeepPounding

If I keep grimacing forever, will this go away? No? I am still grimacing.