The curious name Peerless first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1999:
- 2001: unlisted
- 2000: unlisted
- 1999: 6 baby boys named Peerless [debut]
- 1998: unlisted
- 1997: unlisted
And that’s the only time it’s ever popped up, making it a one-hit wonder.
Where did it come from?
Wide receiver Peerless Price, who played football in the NFL for nine seasons (1999-2007).
The thing that boosted his name into the SSA data, though, was his memorable senior year at the University of Tennessee.
In 1998, the Tennessee Volunteers football team wasn’t expected to do as well as it had in 1997, because several key players (including quarterback Peyton Manning and linebacker Leonard Little) had graduated.
Defying expectations, it did even better. The Vols went undefeated in 1998, thanks in large part to Peerless Price. They also won the national title by beating the Florida State Seminoles at the Fiesta Bowl on January 4, 1999. Peerless was named co-MVP of the game, and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated a week later.
Peerless Price was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1976. Here’s how his mother, Vinder Burress, chose his unusual first name:
It was the name of a moving company I’d seen ads for. I liked the name, so I looked it up in the dictionary. It means without equal.
And how did Peerless himself feel about the name? Toward the end of his final college football season, he said:
In sports I felt I had to prove myself because of my name. They say your name doesn’t make a difference, but it really does.
What are your thoughts on the name Peerless?
P.S. The Vols play in Neyland Stadium, which explains why the baby name Neyland is particularly popular in the state of Tennessee. And the Vols’ fight song, “Rocky Top” (1967), was composed by Nashville songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.
- Peerless Price – Wikipedia
- 1998 Tennessee Volunteers football team – Wikipedia
- Thomsen, Ian. “Price Is Rising: Tennessee’s standout wideout, Peerless Price, has a singular ability to live up to his one-of-a-kind name when the game is on the line.” Sports Illustrated 14 Dec. 1998.
Image: © 1999 Sports Illustrated