This year, the Hockey Gods gave their contingent an early gift before the season began. The Arizona Coyotes, the relative doormats of the NHL, sought to mend fan relations with a heartfelt press release apologizing for the franchise’s flat attempts to drum up interest in the team. Where other franchises might have “spent money during free agency,” or “pretended to give a damn about making the playoffs,” Arizona thought it prudent to be reflective, mindful of past blunders, and sincere before firmly inserting their skate in their mouth. After apologizing for all the taglines…they unveiled a new one.
We're sorry. Sorry for all the slogans and taglines. Sorry we asked you to "Join the Hunt," "Run With the Pack," and "Be Coyotes Cool." Especially that one. Sorry for "Hockey Headquarters," "Together We're Full Strength," and "Not Your Dad's Original Six." We get it. ... We're not going to tell you that we're "One Pack." We're going to show you. We're not going to tell you it's "Hockey the Hard Way." We are going to show you. No taglines. No promises. No excuses. COYOTES 2.0
Coyotes 2.0! Incredible. This could have been appropriate when Arizona underwent a full visual overhaul in 2003, or they could’ve adopted this tagline when switching names from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Arizona Coyotes in 2014. Oh, and the small matter of the franchise originating as the Winnipeg Jets in 1972. As it stands, this iteration would more appropriately be named Coyotes 3.2.2 (team name, visual identity, consecutive years), which sounds like a bootleg copy of a Macintosh OS.
But I believe this is the perfect time for a broader discussion about taglines in sports. By and large, I believe they’re a losing proposition. Unless they’re steeped in history, like the Oakland Raiders’ “Commitment to Excellence.” Otherwise they’re often single-season throwaways, disposed of too quickly to latch on. Take my own New Jersey Devils. They have trotted out such tags as “We’re All Devils Inside,” “Relentless,” “One Jersey,” “Jersey’s Team,” and “Rock Your Red.” All post-2009, if I’m not mistaken. In that time span, the Washington Capitals, an hour away by AMTRAK, also used “Rock Your Red” as their team’s annual slogan.
Is there true value to be found in fad copy? It’s just perplexing that franchises with unparalleled logo recognition and exposure would opt to dilute their brands with taglines that they themselves treat as non-essential. I can’t help but feel like the Arizona Coyotes were right to ditch the tagline from their brand portfolio, even if it only lasted four words and two punctuation marks. To be fair, they did say “no promises.”