In honor of Hockey Day in Minnesota and that other big sporting event this weekend, I present each NFL team with their Minnesota high school hockey equivalent. They are, of course, meant in a spirit of good fun.
Edina Hornets: Dallas Cowboys. Seem to be the center of the universe for their respective sports. Hated by everyone else. Won’t be going away anytime soon, sadly.
Hill-Murray Pioneers: New York Giants. Blueblood teams that win titles from time to time. Get all the attention from the east coast/metro media.
Roseau Rams: Green Bay Packers. Small northern towns in the middle of nowhere that don’t seem to have any business competing with the big boys, but there they are: loyal fans, media darlings, and heaps of titles from down the years.
Moorhead Spuds: Minnesota Vikings. Usually put out strong teams and have had their share of memorable moments down the years. Just don’t ask them to win a championship game.
Duluth East Greyhounds: New England Patriots. Always good, to the point that it gets on people’s nerves and inspires paranoia. Mike Randolph and Bill Belichick would probably be pretty good friends. For all their success, some high-profile chokes in their most talented years.
Lakeville North Panthers: Carolina Panthers. Flashy new kids on the block from somewhere down south. And both Panthers.
Eden Prairie Eagles: Denver Broncos. Usually very good, and have some stars they can ride to the occasional title. Great team, but not quite in that historically elite tier yet.
Blaine Bengals: Indianapolis Colts. Blue and white teams from fairly anonymous places that have ridden their stars to become regular contenders over the past 20 years.
Grand Rapids Thunderhawks: Chicago Bears. Northern city with a long and proud history, though the amount of noise around the program tends to exceed the actual results. Wear orange.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s Red Knights: New Orleans Saints. Won a championship semi-recently to pull together a place after a tragedy. Known for explosive offenses. Also, both names include Saints.
Bloomington Jefferson Jaguars: San Francisco 49ers. Had a run some time ago when they were clearly the best. More mixed results lately.
White Bear Lake Bears: Cleveland Browns. Orange teams that usually lose things.
Minnetonka Skippers: Atlanta Falcons. Usually relevant, but never really finish the deal. Have been around for a while, but aren’t exactly a traditional power. Just sort of…there.
Wayzata Trojans: San Diego Chargers. Western teams in blue and yellow that have had some talent over the past decade, but haven’t won much of anything. But hey, at least they have the ocean/lake.
Elk River Elks: Baltimore Ravens. Blue-collar mentality and some success in the semi-recent past.
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Lumberjacks: Oakland Raiders. Gritty teams from gritty cities.
Burnsville Blaze: Washington Redskins. Proud history, though leaner more recently. Shared legacy of controversial mascots.
Holy Family Fire: Houston Texans. New arrival on the scene. A lot of noise, but haven’t gone anywhere yet.
Anoka Tornadoes: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Won something once in the early 2000s, but that’s about it.
Maple Grove Crimson: Cincinnati Bengals. Talented, but never seem to quite get anywhere. Make as much news off the field/ice as they do on it.
Academy of Holy Angels Stars: Los Angeles Rams. The Rams left St. Louis and broke their fans’ hearts; the Stars built themselves by getting a bunch of players to leave Jefferson. (Yeah, it’s a reach, but it’s not like high schools up and move from one part of the state to another.) Some flashy displays in the late 90s/early 2000s, but that’s about it.
Hermantown Hawks: Buffalo Bills. Somewhat obscure and unremarkable northern location good at losing consecutive championship games. Though at their current rate, the Hawks are going to leave Buffalo in the dust.
East Grand Forks Green Wave: Seattle Seahawks. Team from somewhere up in the northwest that recently made a splash with their physicality and strong defense.
Hibbing Bluejackets: Pittsburgh Steelers. Lots of success down the years, though the very brightest years were in the more distant past. Both cities have a lot to do with steel.
Warroad Warriors: Kansas City Chiefs. Proud histories somewhere out in the flatlands. Native American mascots.
Eveleth-Gilbert Golden Bears: Detroit Lions. Had some great teams back around the dawn of time. Since then, it’s been rough.
Luverne Cardinals: Arizona Cardinals. Southwestern teams trying to prove their newfound relevance, with middling results. Roll Cards Roll.
St. Paul Johnson Governors: New York Jets. Some early success in the big city. Now mostly there for nostalgia’s sake.
Minneapolis Southwest Lakers: Miami Dolphins. Went undefeated once in the 70s, but otherwise no one is really sure if they still exist or not.
Worthington Trojans: Jacksonville Jaguars. Both are in the southern part of the state and most notable for existing.
Rochester Mayo Spartans: Tennessee Titans. Like Jacksonville, they are in the South. At least they have occasional flashes of relevance.
Philadelphia Eagles: Rotating position for whichever program’s fan base I find most obnoxious in a given week.
St. Thomas Academy Cadets: Toronto Argonauts. Yeah, they won things, but no one is impressed.