Published Monday, Aug. 10, 2009 | 10:13 a.m.
Updated Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009 | 9:02 a.m.
- Q&A: Las Vegas Locomotives coach Jim Fassel
- Monday List: An ode to the UFL’s Las Vegas ‘Locos’ (8/10/09)
- UFL unveils season schedule (8/6/09)
- UFL Las Vegas signs 19 players (8/6/09)
- UFL hopefuls show off skills at Sam Boyd Stadium (6/14/09)
- Jim Fassel introduced as coach of Vegas UFL team (6/11/09)
- Donation saves high school Hall of Fame football games (5/29/09)
Break out those history books football fans, because the United Football League is dropping some knowledge on its Las Vegas franchise.
As an ode to the founding of Las Vegas more than 100 years ago, the UFL has decided to call this city's franchise the Locomotives.
"While we recognize that the history of Las Vegas certainly involves the gaming industry, we didn't just want to be naturally drawn to that as a moniker for the team name," UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue said. "So because the railroad industry was established here in 1905 and had a significant role in the foundation of this great city, we decided to coin the name, the Las Vegas Locomotives."
Huyghue and Locomotives head coach Jim Fassel unveiled the team name as well as its GameWear-designed silver and blue uniforms at a press conference inside the Palms Monday morning.
The New York City-based Charley Inc. marketing firm helped the UFL create the railroad-inspired moniker despite more than 30,000 Internet fan suggestions relating to the gaming industry or the mafia.
"We wanted to swim upstream a little bit," Huyghue said. "We thought that the education of the city of the railroad industry was an important and perhaps overlooked aspect of it. In a lot of discussion we thought it was the best way to go."
"Of the 35,000 names submitted, 30,000 did have some aspect of gaming or the mafia. And it is the natural way people think of the city, but I think this city is a lot more than that. And that is one of the things we wanted to recognize. The football team is part of the fabric of the community and not just the gaming industry. The gaming industry will always stand alone in Las Vegas. Nobody is ever going to be confused with what happens in Las Vegas."
Ironically, the first person puzzled with the selection of "Locomotives" was coach Fassel.
Yet, he now admits that the name is fitting after brushing up on his Las Vegas history.
"When they first called me with the name Locomotives I went, 'What? Locomotives? You gotta be kidding me,'" Fassel said. "Then you see the history of Las Vegas and I learned something. It was a big part of Las Vegas coming around."
Despite settling on the lengthy 'Locomotives' name, Huyghue said he expects most fans to refer to the team as the 'Locos.'
"The double entendre that is recognized by the Spanish name 'Locos,' meaning crazy, was not lost on us," Huyghue said. "…We always thought it was important to get one name with a nickname that had a Hispanic flare to it. That ultimately swayed us."
The UFL has yet to unveil the design of the Locomotives' logo, but said it will do so next month. The league has press conference scheduled in each of the four franchise's cities to reveal each team's name this week.
In addition to naming Las Vegas' squad Monday, Huyghue also announced that the UFL partnered with the Mayo Clinic for its medical needs and launched GetUFL.com to sell league merchandise. Coach Fassel will also return to Las Vegas each week during the season to tape a television show on a yet-to-be named network.
The Locomotives open the inaugural UFL season against San Francisco on Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. at Sam Boyd Stadium. VERSUS will broadcast that game.
Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or email@example.com. Steve is a regular guest on the Heatwave Sports show on Fox Sports Radio 920 AM, which airs every Saturday and Sunday from 10 p.m. to midnight.