Springfield was named after Springfield, Oregon. The only reason is that when I was a kid, the TV show “Father Knows Best” took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown. When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name. I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, “This will be cool; everyone will think it’s their Springfield.” And they do.Sure, Matt, unless you live in one of the 15 states without a Springfield. Of course, this bit about Groening's dad was actually, genuinely surprising:
He grew up on a Mennonite farm in Kansas, speaking only German until he went to school. My father then ended up as a bomber pilot flying a B-17 during World War II. After the war, he was a surfer, filmmaker and ardent amateur basketball player. He perfected a basketball shot that he could shoot—without looking—over his head and consistently make from the top of the key.That explains everything...
UPDATE: In an interview with TV Guide (ed: TV Guide still exists? Homer will be happy to know that), Groening denies that Springfield is supposed to actually be Springfield, OR. According to Al Jean, the series' long-time producer, Groening's statements in the Smithsonian Magazine are:
...a far cry from proclaiming that the show actually takes place in Oregon. The Simpsons executive producer Al Jean also tells TV Guide Magazine that it was one big misunderstanding — which was then repeated on virtually every news program and in every newspaper in the country. "They misinterpreted something I've heard him say for at least 10 or 20 years," Jean says. "He was inspired by growing up in Portland, but it's really an every town. It's really funny. Matt grew up in Oregon and parts of The Simpsons were definitely inspired by his childhood. But there is no specific state that Springfield is in, and we will never reveal that secret... except this coming Sunday at 8," he quips.Thanks for the plug, Al. I'm looking forward to yet another reminder of what happens when a dearly beloved show runs for 10+ years after the last time it was actually funny.