Six months after it launched a contest to name the team, the Indoor Football League’s newest franchise announced during a press conference at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Tuesday night it will be known as the Columbus Wild Dogs.
“Today is another great day for our organization,” said team owner Steve Germain, whose family owns seven car dealerships throughout Central Ohio. “This process was long and drawn out, but only because we had so many great options and ideas that were offered to us by our great fans. In the end, there were some very strong and creative names left on the cutting room floor, but the identity that we have come up with is entirely unique, bold and brash, just like the exuberance of our fans here in Columbus.”
More than 1,000 names were submitted for the contest, but the Wild Dogs moniker was chosen to educate people about one of the world’s most endangered species, the African Painted Dog (Lycaon pictus). There are less than 7,000 left in the world, including the 17 that reside at The Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservations center in Southeastern Ohio that is operated by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
“As an organization, we are happy that we will be able to shed light on this extremely endangered species and advocate for their continued existence,” said Germain’s daughter, Jessica. “We were drawn to characteristics of the species, which also fits with the makeup of our team. Wild dogs are known for their teamwork, aggressive nature, tremendous endurance, ferocious ability to attack and extreme success when they embark on their prey. What more could you want out of your football team?”
Columbus’ color scheme pulls directly from the painted dog’s mottled coat, with Pitch Black being accompanied by Grasslands Gold, Saharan Taupe, Ruthless Red and Safari White. That irregular pattern is then carried over to the sleeve caps of the road uniform, as well as two different pairs of gold pants, one of which restricts the pattern to a side panel while the other is covered entirely.
The Wild Dogs’ secondary logo can be seen on the shoulders of the black home jersey, which prominently displays a red wordmark across the chest and black numbers outlined in gold. The white road jersey, meanwhile, includes gold numbers outlined in black and a gold shoulder yoke, in addition to the aforementioned sleeve caps.
Last but not least, the red eyes of Columbus’ primary logo stare out from the crown of its matte black helmet, creating a similar visual effect to the helmets worn by the UConn Huskies during the 2013-14 seasons.
The Wild Dogs are set to begin play at Columbus’ Nationwide Arena in March 2022. They’ll join 13 other teams in the Indoor Football League, including the Arizona Rattlers, Iowa Barnstormers, Sioux Falls Storm and Spokane Shock.
Photos courtesy of the Columbus Wild Dogs and The Wilds.