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What animal inspired the Nashville Predators’ logo?

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The Nashville Predators have made the Stanley Cup for the first time in team history. It’s cause for excitement, but also reflection. We need to determine a very serious question that will likely come up during the most hallowed of NHL series.

What animal is the Predators’ logo?

Most teams adopt a specific animal to be their mascot, but Nashville decided on a whole class. All predators are in their DNA, but most specifically we’re looking at this logo.

via Wikipedia

It’s a saber-toothed tiger. OK, so maybe not sports’ greatest mystery — but how the Predators arrived at this was interesting.

A logo before a name.

When Nashville was granted an expansion franchise in 1997, the only thing unveiled was the team’s original, garish, six-color logo.

The original 1997 Nashville Predators logo
via Wikipedia

The idea was that fans would be allowed to see the direction of the team, with the name for the franchise coming from a vote. Originally 75 names were submitted, but finally that number was reduced to three:

  • Ice Tigers
  • Fury
  • Attack

But wait ... where’s Predators?

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and when your only options are “Ice Tigers,” “Fury,” and “Attack” — something needs to happen. Then-owner Craig Leipold decided to put his own suggestion into the final vote, which was “Predators.” It ended up being the winning name, and so the team was set.

Why did they pick a saber-toothed tiger?

Smilodon floridius is the species of saber-toothed tiger that inhabited North America until the Early Holocene era — and is the specific type of cat the Predators use as their logo. The history of how they used the animal is rooted in recent Nashville history.

In 1971 construction began on First American Tower (now called UBS Tower), one of the tallest buildings in the Nashville skyline. During construction, crews unearthed the skeleton of a Smilodon floridius, which prompted a wide-scale dig. Human remains were also found on the site, and the bank worked around the site during construction to ensure the dig could continue.

via Wallace63, Wikipedia

For years the bones of the saber-toothed tiger were on display in the building’s lobby, but now they are in possession of the Predators — who keep them at Bridgestone Arena.

Why not a cool cat skull, then?

In fact, one of the logos the team looked at possibly using was the skull itself. The current Predators logo is pretty neat, but this one on the right is even better.


Thankfully, the skull still gets some props, as it’s used by the team as a secondary logo. Now you know exactly what the Predators logo is, and how the team reached this point. We still wish Nashville opted for that dope cat skull as their primary logo.