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The List: Best sports unit nickname of all time
From the Page 2 mailbag

Poll Results

Here's how the Page 2 staff ranked the best sports unit nicknames of all-time:

1. Phi Slamma Jamma (Univ. of Houston men's basketball '83-'84)
2. Purple People Eaters (Minnesota Vikings' defensive line of the 1970s)
3. Murderer's Row (New York Yankees' of the late 1920s)
4. Run TMC (Golden State Warriors of the early 1990s)
5. The French Connection (Buffalo Sabres' first line in the 1970s)
6. Broad Street Bullies (Philadelphia Flyers of mid-1970s)
7. Steel Curtain ( Pittsburgh Steelers' defense of the 1970s)
8. Harvey's Wallbangers (Milwaukee Brewers 1982)
9. The Black Sox (Chicago White Sox 1919)
10. Big Red Machine (Cincinnati Reds of the mid-1970s)

Honorable Mention: The Four Horsemen (Notre Dame backfield of 1922-24, named after the biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse -- Death, War, Famine, Plague), The New York Sack Exchange, Rainbow Warriors (Jeff Gordon's pit crew), The Doomsday Defense, The Fearsome Foursome, The Legion of Doom, Showtime, The Over the Hill Gang, The Smurfs, The Nasty Boys, The Hitless Wonders (1906 Chicago White Sox, who won the World Series despite a seasonlong team batting average of less than .230), The Miracle Mets, The Orange Crush, The No-Name Defense, The Three Amigos, The Bash Brothers, The Gashouse Gang, The Killer B's, The Hogs.

On Thursday, Page 2 ran its list of the best team unit nicknames of all-time. We asked for your take, and you filled our mailbag with plenty of opinions.

After going through more than 500 letters, below is a complete rundown of the Top 10 vote-getters, along with some of the best letters about each nickname. And be sure to vote in the poll at left to choose the all-time best unit nickname.

1. Monsters of the Midway -- Chicago Bears (58 letters)
Your neglect in failing to mention the "Monsters of the Midway" is inexcusable.

No nickname could have been more fitting of the fury and ferociousness that embodied the greatest defense in the history of the NFL, the 1985 Chicago Bears. Although the team that could only lose to the greatest QB ever on his best day has since deteriorated into a team that begrudgingly steps on the field week in and week out to welcome failure, the "Monsters of the Midway" that the Bears once were deserve their just desserts in your lineup of the greatest team or unit nicknames of all time.
Jerry Towne

Dick Butkus biting players at the bottom of the pile. What else needs to be said?
Brian Raymond

Old school NFL, the way the NFL should be ... but isn't anymore.
Atlanta, Ga.

2. The Fab Five -- Michigan Wolverines basketball early 1990s (27 letters)
How can they be left out? They introduced the long basketball shorts and produced three excellent pros.
Brooklyn, N.Y.

The mere premise of five of the country's top freshman signing with the same school and taking the nation by storm is unfathomable. However, this quintet did so with such swagger and talent that the world of college hoops hasn't been the same since.
James Bodnarchuk
Kingston, Ontatrio

Webber, Howard, Rose, King, and Jackson put a new meaning to "Diaper Dandies"
Daniel DePonte
Seymour, Conn.

3. Steel Curtain -- Pittsburgh Steelers defense of the 1970s (25 letters)
Dick Butkus
Dick Butkus was one of the main Monsters of the Midway.
No team or unit name ever reflected the city it played in like "The Steel Curtain". The name represented hard-driving players -- such as Dwight White, Ernie Holmes, Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Lambert, Ham, Mike Wagner and Mel Blount among others - and spoke volumes for the city of Pittsburgh. Plus, it represented the defense well, and what the offense had to break through to gain yardage.
Lee Goddard
Corpus Christi, Texas

No other name in sports could have captured both the dominance of the team (four Super Bowls, need I say more?) and the hard-working people of the same city that supported them.
Jason M. Petrusic
Montgomery Village, Md.

Set in the 1970s at the height of the Cold War (i.e. the Iron Curtain across Europe), no team personified grit, determination, power, and staunch defense like the vaunted four-time champion Pittsburgh Steelers Defense. Look up "defense" in Websters, and you see the Pittsburgh Steel Curtain clad in black and gold!
Karl Ginter
Alexandria, Va.

4. Bad Boys -- Detroit Pistons of the late 80s (24 letters)
The nickname "Bad Boys" seemed to epitomize the blue collar nature of the city and was well represented by the likes of Rick Mahorn, Bill Laimbeer, and a young, "pre-tatoo/pink hair" Dennis Rodman. Not to mention the fiesty guard play of Isiah Thomas (remember the sprained ankle?) and Joe Dumars, along with gritty role players like Vinnie Johnson and James Edwards.
Anthony Penner
Farmington Hills, Mich.

The most hated visiting team in NBA history certainly lived up to the nickname.
William Griffin
East Lansing, Mich.

How can you forget these guys? They changed the way to play pro basketball ... whether that is good or bad is another question!
Josh Keller
East Lansing, Mich.

5. Purple People Eaters -- Minnesota Vikings defensive line 1970s (22 letters)
The name just fit perfectly. Alan Page, Carl Eller, Jim Marshall and Gary Larsen (later Doug Sutherland) ... they dined in style numerous times feasting on opposing backfields during the 1970s.
Staten Island, N.Y.

They were incredible, but because the Vikes never won a Super Bowl, they never got any credit.
Jon Johnson
Minneapolis, Minn.

6. Bronx Bombers -- New York Yankees (21 letters)
As a lifelong Mets fan, I can't stand the Yankees. However, nothing is more fitting nor better sums up their storied history of longball proficiency than the nickname "The Bronx Bombers."
Gary Maywood
Washington, D.C.

I love the Murderer's Row reference, but the "Bronx Bombers" signify a century of dominance when the perennial World Series champions were built on the game's greatest power sources like Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio, Mantle, Maris, and Jackson.
Tom Gubitosi
Hillsborough, N.J.

7. Broad Street Bullies -- Philadelphia Flyers (19 letters)
Bobby Clarke
Bobby Clarke led the Broad Street Bullies to two Stanley Cups.
Created because of their ultra-aggressive play, and take no prisoners attitude, these guys not only won back-to-back Stanley Cups, but also was the only NHL team to beat the Soviet Red Army during the Super Series of 1976.

Teams hated to come to the Spectrum to face the Flyers. So when the bus rolled onto Broad Street, opponents knew they were in for a long night.
Brett Bitsko
McAdoo, Pa.

Talk about a name that struck fear into the hearts of opponents. Ever hear of the "Philly Flu"? A mysterious illness that used to strike opposing teams' players when a game in the Bullies' barn came up.
New Brunswick, N.J.

8. Phi Slamma Jamma -- University of Houston men's basketball (18 letters)
Probably the most clever nickname of all-time. Almost all college alumni and students appreciate its mixture of Greek and pure athleticism.
Jeff Herrmann
Mount Orab, Ohio

The perfect name for a college team that just plain dunked on everybody. With Clyde "The Glide" Drexler leading the way, these guys were unbelievable to watch.
Jerry Otradovsky
Omaha, Neb.

Clyde Drexler
Phi Slamma Jamma alumn Clyde Drexler returned to coach Houston but with far less success.
9. Hogs -- Washington Redskins O-line (16 letters)
Name another group that could pull off the Counter-Trey better but also inspire grown men to dress in women's clothing and wear hog-snouts to this day!
Erik Swenson
Golden, Colo.

I'm glad you had the Hogs on the honorable mention list but how could it not make the top 10? But The Hogs is beyond a nickname, it's become an entity. From the Hogettes that still reside in the stands to the constant need for announcers to compare each new version of the Redskins O-line to the originals, the Hogs will never die.
Josh Saypol
Piscataway, N.J.

10. The Four Horsemen -- Notre Dame backfield 1922-24 (15 letters)
The thought, depth and perfection of every aspect of this moniker; from the nickname itself to each of the four individuals it portrays, are more striking and inspiring than most novels and movie scripts written in the past 75 years.
Ryan Barkell
Billings, Mont.

"Outlined against a blue, gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley, and Layden."-Grantland Rice, 1924.

How can you argue with that?
Ben Schack
Tacoma, Wash.

Also receiving your votes: No-Name Defense, Cardiac Kids, The Big Red Machine, America's Team, Orange Crush, Miracle Mets, Amazin' Mets, French Connection, Gashouse Gang, New York Sack Exchange, Murderer's Row, Electric Company.

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