Mascots. A cornerstone of (most) NFL teams’ game day “experience”, but really they’re promotional material. These lovable caricatures roam the field, performing cute pranks and making merriment with the younger fans in attendance. However, has anyone stopped and considered how deadly these representations can really be?
No? Well, I decided to rank them anyway. These rankings are objectively perfect and based on casting a spell on the mascots, which would turn them into the very thing that they portray. With that being said, let’s get this show on the road.
Small Animals (mostly)
All of these teams are tied here because they equally share a disdain for mascots. That reason being that they don’t have one and have made my job significantly easier.
28. Cardinals- Big Red
Cardinals are a beautiful avian creature and a fan favorite amongst amateur birdwatchers (It’s me, I'm the amateur birdwatcher). However, due to their small size and lack of weapons, Big Red is just going to have to sit at the back of the bus.
27. Ravens- Poe
Yes, the Baltimore Ravens actually have live mascots. Regardless, I’ll be referring to their “fake” mascot in this entry. If Edgar Allen Poe had his way, Poe would be much higher on the list. However, Poe suffers from his Arizonian cousin’s lack of teeth. Maybe if this were a literary ranking, he would have preformed better.
26. Titans- T-Rac
To be honest, the Titans dropped the ball here. If they stuck to their namesake, they’d be incredibly powerful omnipotent beings who also work as hard as possible to earn their BESF moniker. Instead, they went with... a Raccoon? Being that it’s Tennessee’s state animal, it’s understandable. From a risk standpoint, the worst you could expect from this creature is rabies. The next few entries share the same risk, but I’d argue to say that they could do more damage (although, when assuming its rare Gelatinous Sphere form, has been spotted consuming human flesh).
25-23. Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle - Freddie Falcon, Swoop, Blitz (The Birds)
Of the avian animals on this list, these three all equally share a similar threat level. These raptors can fly at ridiculous speeds and have incredibly acute vision. One good flyby and there goes an eye. Their talons can also manage to leave some deep scarring, so escape won’t be easy with these chicks.
22-21. Cleveland, New Orleans- Chomps, Gumbo (The Dawgs)
I’m combining these as they’re both of the canine variety, even if they are different breeds. Dogs are man’s best friend, but also some of our greatest protectors. Just look at this video of trained dogs going after mock assailants. Your only chance at survival with these two is by supplying endless belly rubs.
20. Miami- T.D
Ok, this is a bit of a weird one. Dolphins are decently sized, highly intelligent, and have nice, sharp teeth for tearing up fish. If we were in the water, The Dolphin would most likely be higher on this list. But, since we’re making this happen on a football field, many of the risks associated with this animal are rendered moot. Although, I certainly wouldn’t want to be tasked with dealing with this thing.
19. Rams- Rampage
Topping off the smaller animals on this list is none other than the mighty Rampage. I’m a little biased as my high school mascot (Cypress Ridge High School) was a ram. In reality, rams are known for their tenacity and defending their territory. They can reach speeds of up to 20 miles an hour. If one of these bad boys made solid contact with a shin or knee, you can grab the nearest dust pan because yours will turn into dust. This animal will definitely require some tranquilizers.
18. Raiders- Raider Rusher
Look at this thing! LOOK AT IT! If this somehow came to life, I’d think that it might be classified as a biological weapon. Physically speaking, I don’t think that you could have designed a human any worse than this. I mean, it has arms coming out of its ear holes! Where does the neck end and the torso begin? It looks like a bobble head that lost its chest in a freak manufacturing accident and has now gained sentience, seeking vengeance on those that wronged it. If you asked a three-year old to draw someone, this is what you’d get. The only reason why I didn’t leave this monstrosity behind the teams that didn’t even try is because of it’s head size. Odds are that it’ll have the largest brain-body ratio in the natural world, so maybe it can super genius its way out of some trouble. Other than that, this is the weakest of the people mascots.
17. Cowboys- Rowdy
As a Texan, this one was tough. We all like to think that we’re cowboys because of where we come from. Realistically speaking though, all that entails is being good at rustling cattle and doing the boot scootin’ boogie. Since Rowdy doesn’t have a gun in his gameday attire, I’m not going to factor marksmanship into it. He’d definitely be a good one to grab a beer with though.
16. Steelers- Steely McBeam
Steely is a perfect representation of working class America. Tough, scrappy, and likely dying of whatever poisonous toxins are floating around in the steel mill. Yinzers are good folks, but can definitely handle themselves in a bar fight if it came down to it. So, look out for Steely getting wasted and punching a fan for calling pierogies inferior to empanadas. Catch him on the wrong night getting a hoagie and a gob at Sheetz and you might be fixing for a beating with that chin of his (and don’t even dare say Wawa is better than Sheetz).
15. 49ers- Sourdough Sam
I considered taking age into account with these characters. So, if Sam were brought to life, he’d immediately be as old as a real 49er. That would be too boring, though. So, we’ll imagine that he’s a prospector in his prime. The unfortunate thing for good ol’ Sam is that being a prospector was rough. Disease and famine were rampant in gold rush towns. Also, Sam carries a pickaxe as a part of his schtick. So, hunger combined with weaponry makes for a scary situation. It’d be easier to just give him your nachos and hope that he leaves you alone.
14. Patriots- Pat Patriot
Pat comes from an era where self sustenance was a part of daily life. There’s no doubt that he has serious survival skills and can probably turn a down marker into a makeshift lance. Plus, you just know that Belichick could unlock his hidden potential and they’d be unstoppable. These timepiece characters are subject to the “Encino Man” effect, meaning that they’ll probably go with fight as opposed to flight.
13. Vikings- Viktor
Viktor is also a man from a different era. Vikings were warriors, farmers, and lovers. When it came down to it, Viktor could handle a sword and shield like an extension of his limbs. Not just that, but he also has some built-in protection with his horned helmet. The language barrier that he has being Scandinavian and awakening in an unknown land will undoubtedly send him into a frenzied rage. Sure, his only weapon is a stick with a football attached, but I wouldn’t put it past Viktor to do some serious damage with the pigskin.
12. Buccaneers- Captain Fear
Personally, I’m not too high on the whole pirate thing. Blackbeard, Captain Morgan, and Jack Sparrow have given pop culture plenty of examples to hang their (pirate) hats on. That said, I’d be more scared of this guy trying to bite me and having scurvy. Pirates were usually just regular folks trying to make ends meet. The reason why Captain Fear is capping off the humanoid section is because of his sword. It poses the realest, most tangible threat of all of the mascot’s props.
11. Chiefs- K.C. Wolf
Isn’t it refreshing to see the Chiefs not land at #1 in a ranking? K.C. Wolf would pose a significant threat to most humans 1-on-1, but wolves mostly hunt larger prey in packs. When possible, a pack of wolves could take down something as significant as a bison. However, they tend to avoid conflict when they're by themselves. So, K.C. is going to have to be on the outside looking in of the top 10.
Ah, the trusted steed. Horses have been integral in the development of the human race. Over the years, we’ve seen work horses, war horses, even dancing horses. Heck, the Super Bowl isn’t the Super Bowl without a Budweiser Clydesdale commercial. Considering how versatile these creatures are, they have an incredible latent ability within them. They are incredibly strong, being able to pull around 2,500 pounds of weight. Getting kicked in the face by a horse is... inadvisable. Horses have fought off many predators on their own as well, just by the threat of those deadly kicks. For creatures that are normally docile, they're not ones to be trifled with. So, Miles and Blue make up the first entries into the top 10.
Technically, these two are the same. Panthers are just Jaguars with dominant alleles that causes melanism in the cat. However, their pigmentation doesn't diminish any inherent danger that comes from this animal. Jaguars can climb trees like monkeys and are incredibly strong swimmers. So, if you think that you're safe in TIAA Bank Field’s swimming pool, you're incredibly wrong. This cat will scale the end zone walls and send the crowd running for the hills.
6. Lions- Roary
The “King Of The Jungle" may seem a little out of place not being higher on this list. Keep in mind, these rankings are objectively PERFECT and there's a rhyme and reason for everything. Roary has the benefit of being one of the largest cats in the world. Lions have long been regarded as symbols of strength and courage, largely for good reason. These felines are absolutely massive. Coming in at around 6-7 feet long and averaging around 450 pounds, you’ll have no shot at defending yourself without a litany of weapons by your side. Here’s to hoping that Roary has as much teeth as the football team he represents.
5. Bengals- Who Dey
I think that at some point, everyone has had the “ Lion vs. Tiger” talk. It’s a heated debate that has undoubtedly been had in every bar that's ever existed. The biggest differentiator here is weight. The lion and tiger match up very similarly in terms of length, but the latter can weight up to 800 POUNDS. Interestingly enough, there’s actually a real example of a head to head matchup between the two legendary cats. In 2011, a tiger managed to find its way into the lion enclosure at the Ankara Zoo in Turkey. The tiger managed to take out the lion with one swipe to the jugular. Either way, Who Dey would be a menace if he came to life. Look at the eyes. Joe Burrow has at least made good decisions on personal protection. If it was a home game against the Texans, The Tiger King (TJ Yates) would handle him 3 times out of 3.
4. Texans- Toro
A bull definitely wasn’t in your internal top 5, was it? Believe me, I didn't expect Toro to land here either. Well, at least until I found some anecdotal evidence. Back in 1898, the Sacramento Union reported on a fight in Madrid between a fighting bull and a tiger. The bull absolutely wiped the floor with its adversary, goring it to death and rag-dolling it around the arena. Could this be some total Toro droppings? Sure. However, I like the story and I'm sticking to it. Also, bulls are incredibly strong and their horns are absolutely lethal. I have personally seem some absolutely horrific accidents at local rodeos in Guatemala. Not just that, but an angry bull won’t give up pursuit unless it absolutely can’t get a hold of you. People always say to grab the bull by the horns, but never mention the consequences if you were to miss.
3. Bills- Billy Buffalo
Technically speaking, the Bills should rename their mascot as Billy Bison. Bison is the correct term to refer to the North American mammal, while buffaloes are based in Africa and Southeast Asia. A bison is like a bull on steroids. Standing at around 6’5 and 2,000 pounds, it’s the largest animal on our continent. The mighty bison once roamed our great nation in the millions, and now there are about 350,000 of them left. Apparently, these beasts can jump over 7 feet in the air and can run up to speeds of 35 miles per hour. I mean, just by size alone this thing deserves to be in the top 3. Not to mention that people are justly terrified of them.
2. Bears- Staley Da Bear
Bears can mess you up. Let me repeat that for the folks in the back, BEARS CAN MESS YOU UP! When entering most national parks, you’ll likely find some literature warning if bears are in the area. In most cases, bears just go about their business. There are steps to take such as avoiding areas known the have bears and agitation prevention. However, if push came to shove and a bear charges, all you can do is hope that it’s a bluff. Bears can weigh anywhere from 60 to 1,000 pounds, depending on the species. There have been some unfortunate incidents like with Timothy Treadwell and Wes Perkins (Warning: NSFW) As a final piece of evidence why a bear is more dangerous than a bison, well, a scuffle between the two actually got recorded at Yellowstone National Park. Staley has earned this ranking fair and square. However, nothing comes close to our number one most deadly mascot.
1. Chargers- Boltman
Alright, I hear you. Boltman was the UNOFFICIAL mascot of the Los Angeles Chargers. As far as I know, Boltman hung up his gear back in 2018 and decided to auction off the suit to the highest bidder. That didn’t exactly go as planned. Now, it seems that the Chargers have joined the fun haters and should be at the very end of this list. However, these rankings are objectively perfect so I’ll be putting Boltman exactly where he belongs. My interpretation of the character is that it’s a human-shaped lighting bolt. With that being clarified, of course he's number one! It’s literally a billion volts of electricity that came to life! Just being touched by this thing would turn the lights out for every single entry on this list. I mean, just look at those shades! He may power our world, but he can sense our fear. If any loudmouth on Twitter has taught me anything, it’s that this dude means BUSINESS. This is undoubtedly the most deadly mascot in the NFL.
With that, the ranking is finished. Done. Finito! What a journey it was. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. No hard feelings towards the fun haters; they just make game day experiences different. As with any rankings, there are sure to be arguments on who should go where. So here’s my question to you; What changes would you make to this list, if any?