It’s always fun to play the “What if” game in sports. What if Neil O’Donnell hadn’t thrown two crucial interceptions in Super Bowl XXX? What if Jerry Meals had called Julio Lugo out instead of safe? What if the Penguins hadn’t drafted Mario Lemieux? What if the Pirates had drafted Matt Wieters instead of Daniel Moskos?
Here’s one for the arena football fans in town. What if the Pittsburgh Power had named themselves the Pittsburgh River Wizards instead?
You might think it’s a silly name I pulled out of thin air, but the truth is that rumors of this name had surfaced along with team colors and a logo. A lot of fans immediately hated the name and weren’t exactly fond of the logo either. I wasn’t exactly a fan of the name, but the bottom line was that I was just happy to have a team in Pittsburgh, regardless of what they were called.
The few people I’ve talked to with the team have never admitted it was an official name that was being considered, but perhaps they saw the feedback and realized a name change was a necessity. A little smoke and mirrors perhaps to keep fans from knowing the real name until it was time for the big reveal.
What exactly is a River Wizard anyways? Most wizards should be able to conjure up water out of thin air, so I don’t really see the need for one to live by the river unless he happens to like fishing. Sadly I think a River Wizard is one that never graduated from Hogwart’s to become a full-fledged magician. Kind of like some of the players in the AFL who want to graduate to the NFL.
So would things have been different with a name change? Perhaps the franchise would have a little more magic in them? Instead of Joystick, maybe star wide receiver Mike Washington would be known as Magic Mike.
Maybe the team would have learned how to pull a quarterback out of a hat during their first two seasons? I still see images of Bernard Morris making victories vanish before our eyes with four turnovers against Arizona and then Cleveland to cost the Power a chance at the division crown in 2011.
Let’s not forget one of the biggest disappearing acts of all for this team, running back Josh Rue. He quickly became a fan favorite at the Consol Energy Center, drawing out the Rue birds, but by the end of the 2011 season he wasn’t even on the roster. Talk about disappointing.
Any way you slice it, a River Wizard hardly inspires fear in the opposition. It certainly doesn’t fit the blue-collar image of this city. In that regards the Power picked a better name.
People always ask what’s in a name and why they are important. Fans associate with a nickname and it’s my belief the name River Wizards would have doomed this team from the start.
I guess when you get down to it, the name of the game is winning, and the Power need more of that in their third season or they might up and vanish altogether.
If you would have had a say in naming the team, would you have gone with River Wizards, Power, or something else? Post your suggestions in the comments below.