Ernie "Big Cat" Ladd & Noland "Super Gnat" Smith
Just for something fun and a bit different, here is a list of twenty of my favorite pro football player nicknames – some have been favorites for many years, others I’ve discovered in the course of my researching. These are by-and-large not ranked, and another installment will follow later in the week.
Dick “Night Train” Lane
The Hall of Fame defensive back with the Rams, Cardinals, and Lions from 1952-65 had an all-time great nickname.
Gene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb
A memorable 6’6”, 284 pound defensive lineman for the Rams, Colts, and Steelers from 1953-62, was chosen for the Pro Bowl three times before coming to an untimely end.
Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds
Spent a decade at LB for the Rams, then helped the 49ers win two championships.
Noland “Super Gnat” Smith
The 5’5”, 154-pound WR/KR once returned a kickoff 106 yards for the Chiefs in his brief career.
“The Catawba Claw”, Bucky Pope
A one-year wonder with the Rams in 1964 with 25 catches for a 31.4-yard average gain and 10 TDs.
“Broadway Joe” Namath
No introduction necessary. The nickname fit the quarterback and the celebrity.
“Super Bill” Bradley
A free-spirited free safety for the Eagles who led the NFL in interceptions in 1971 and ’72 and went to three Pro Bowls.
L.G. “Long Gone” Dupre
HB with the Colts in their 50s championship years and then an original member of the Cowboys.
Ken “The Snake” Stabler
Daring and exciting quarterback for the Raiders, Oilers, and Saints
Ross “Timber Beast” Carter
Lineman for the Cardinals from 1936-39.
"Night Train" Lane
"The Catawba Claw"
John “Shipwreck” Kelly
All-purpose back who led the NFL in pass receiving with Brooklyn in 1933.
Clyde “Smackover” Scott
HB on both offense and defense, primarily with the Eagles from 1949-52.
Paul “Tank” Younger
A 6’3”, 225-pound FB/LB who played primarily with the Rams from 1949-58.
Jim “Cannonball” Butler
RB/KR, primarily with the Steelers and Falcons from 1965-72.
Danny “Lightning” Buggs
Played with the Giants and Redskins in the NFL, Edmonton in the CFL, but had his best season with Tampa Bay in the USFL.
Joe “Big Bird” Lavender
6’4”, 190-pound CB who started out with the Eagles in 1973 but had his best years in Washington.
Len “Bear Tracks”/“Feets” Barnum
Two great nicknames for the otherwise-forgettable all-purpose back and kicker for the Giants and Eagles from 1938-42.
Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd
6’9” and listed as high as 315 pounds, he was considered the biggest player in pro football with the Chargers, Oilers, and Chiefs from 1961-68.
“The Beast”, E.J. Holub
Played both center and linebacker during his AFL career with the Dallas Texans/KC Chiefs from 1961-70.
Billy “White Shoes” Johnson
Exciting kick returner as well as wide receiver, mostly with the Oilers and Falcons from 1974-87.
"Super Bill" Bradley
"Long Gone" Dupre
"Big Daddy" Lipscomb