LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu is more widely-known around the college football world as Honey Badger than he is for his given name. Here at TeamNames.net, we thought the nickname was a result of his bleached blonde faux-hawk. His hair is kind of a honey color, it creates a stripe down his head like the one on the back of a badger, and Honey Badger rolls off the tongue more eloquently than Bad Dye Job Skunk.
But when the “honey badger” term started getting tossed around nearly as frequently as Tebow Time, Tebowing, Tebow Mania and, well, pretty much everything involving Tim Tebow, we groaned.
Here comes the next overused sports term.
As a society, we like to take an interesting or clever term and run it straight into the ground. Suddenly, race car driver Danica Patrick is a honey badger. The San Francisco 49ers are honey badgers. There’s a YouTube video going viral about the honey badger (cover the kids’ ears when you watch it) and honey badgers apparently now eat pistachios, too. No doubt, because honey badger don’t care. Honey badger does it bad ass.
So clearly, our assumption about the origin of Mathieu’s Honey Badger nickname must be mistaken, unless Danica got a new ‘do that we don’t know about. What the heck is the deal with the honey badger, then?
Well, as it turns out, the honey badger is an actual animal. Who knew? The Mellivora capensis—if you want to impress some chicks with your worldly knowledge—is a carnivorous animal that resides in Africa, the Middle East, and India. It’s about two or three feet long and weighs between 10 and 35 pounds or so. Also known as the ratel, the honey badger evolved from … wait, what? You don’t care? Oh. Sorry. Our bad.
Okay, the significance of the honey badger is that it has few natural predators as a result of its thick and loose skin, big claws, and nasty demeanor. It’ll eat pretty much anything, and it’s apparently rather difficult to kill. It’ll attack things that are much bigger than it is—which fits Mathieu, since he’s only 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds, as well as Danica, since she’s only 3-foot-2 and probably about 50 pounds soaking wet—and the Guinness Book of World Records apparently once proclaimed it to be the most fearless animal in the world.
As you can see, the qualities of the honey badger can easily be translated into sports to symbolize a fierce and fearless competitor. Clever, clever.
While the term “honey badger” was repeated ad nauseam throughout the college football season, especially during LSU games, the SEC Championship game, and the BCS Championship game (turns out, Alabama don’t care about honey badgers!), we held out hope that the overused term would just die off as the season ended.
But no. Danica, the 49ers, and a nut producer are going to continue beating a dead honey badger, virtually ensuring that things are going to get worse before they get better.