Nicknames are a common fad in the sport of American football with the names usually bearing a connection to the player’s style of play or some other aspect of the player from his personal life. The Elite Football League of India (EFLI) is the sub-continent’s very own professional gridiron football league that featured 8 teams in its inaugural season – five from India, two from Sri Lanka and one from Pakistan.
Not to be left behind when it comes to, these players too sported nickname, some inspired from their heroes in America’s NFL and some just simply coined by teammates. Here is a list of the best nicknames from players in the EFLI.
The Pune Marathas, the champions from season one, surprisingly had no one with any fancy nicknames, at least none publicly.
#82 – Piyumal “Hulk” Manchanayake – OL
Lone representative from the Lions is their Offensive Linesman Piyumal Manchanayake. Having his roots in rugby, Piyumal is one huge guy, and it is no surprise that he is called “Hulk”.
#18 – Veera “Money” Manikanta Reddy – QB
Manikanta is a Quaterback and Receiver with the Skykings. He has been into swimming and volleyball before moving onto rugby and eventually EFLI. He is more often than not on the money with his plays, and hence the name.
#19 – Nitin “Megatron” Deshmukh – WR, K
He’s the Calvin Johnson of the EFLI. At 6’4? and 245 lbs, he’s a physically imposing beast and can just overpower defenders, which is why the name “Megatron” fits him perfectly.
#12 – Rahul “Sticks” Kelaskar – WR
Rahul is a 6’5″ tall Wide Receiver who weighs only 125 pounds and is quite the lanky beanpole on this Mumbai team and he uses this to good effect in pacing the Gladiators’ offense. He found the game by chance after CEO Richard Whelan spotted him working in a hotel in Mumbai.
Rahul then quit his Rs. 30,000 a month job at the hotel to join the Gladiators.
He dreams of becoming “the Jerry Rice of India”.
#81 – Navaneeth “Chamber” Shanta – WR, K
Navaneeth “Chamber” Shanta is a star wide receiver and placekicker for the Bangalore Warhawks. In the 2012 inaugural EFLI season, he won the most outstanding wide receiver award. His nickname “Chamber” dates back to his stunt-biking days.
#52 – Manjunatha “Ray Lewis” S.K. – LB
Manjunatha S.K. does not just have that “52″ on his jersey, but he has proven to be one of the hardest hitting linebackers in the whole league. He can hit hard, while also wrapping up well. It is not about how hard you hit, but that you get the ball-handler down on the initial tackle.
In seven games for the Bangalore Warhawks, “Ray Lewis” and his defense gave up a total of 66 points, which was fourth best in the league. The most points they gave up was against the runner-up Delhi Defenders in the semi-finals. Tells you enough about the moniker.
The Delhi Defenders topped the list when it came to the number of people having nicknames.
#10 – Amit “Happy” Lochab – RB, TE, LB, K, KR
Led by their captain, almost universally known as “Happy”, for the way in which he plays the game and his general attitude to life. It was given to him by his grandfather. “Happy” was a star rugby player with the Indian national rugby team who has now moved onto EFLI and is captain of the Delhi team.
#18 – Rakesh “Seenu” Lochab – WR
Rakesh also acts as an assistant to coach Adesh Kumar, though we’re not quite sure what his nickname is about.
#20 – Lalit “Beast” Saini – RB, LB
This guy quite literally is the “Beast”. A power packed player who can dominate on defense, offense, and on special teams. He can play both sides of the ball and dominate.
Sadly for everyone concerned with EFLI, Lalit Saini passed away a few days back in an unfortunate accident. He will be sorely missed in the coming seasons. The legend of “The Beast” will live on though as seen from the reactions of his peers and everyone else concerned with EFLI.
#12 – Mayank “Brady” Sharma – QB
Mayank “Brady” Sharma had a fantastic first year in the EFLI and really lived up to his nickname after New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady.
Sharma threw for 475 yards last season, along with six touchdowns. The plays, the pocket presence, even the quarterback sneaks on 4th and 1, all resemble the real Brady.
#4 – Avtar “Manni” Singh – QB
Perhaps his nickname is “Manni” because he puts the ball right on the “money”. He’s the back up to “Brady” mentioned above, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t play.
#11 – Anant “Fabio” Verma – WR
Anant “Fabio” Verma is the #1 wide receiver for the Delhi Defenders. Nicknamed Fabio by coaches because of his long hair and time spent on his appearance, Anant is also a dancer.
#23 – Kaushal “Speedy” Vir – RB
Kaushal is a running back with the Defenders and no prizes for guessing why his nickname is what it is.