The Tale of the Mascots

When you watch a game, sometimes the most exciting thing that happens has nothing to do with the players. There have been times when the mascot has took over the game.

On October 24th, 1992 Northwestern State University played Northeastern Louisiana University, but during the game a fight broke out in the end zone between mascots. The fight was so unexpected that the television cameras stopped filming the game and filmed the entirety of the fight.

It has probably crossed a couple of our minds what made the mascot come about.

The way we view mascots these days is very different than how they originally came about. The mascot was first used in the late 1800s and instead of big furry animals with t-shirt cannons running thru crowds they were actual animals and kids.

In college sports, the use of live animals are still used by some schools today such as Mike the Tiger (LSU), Uga (Georgia), Ralphie (CU), and Bevo (UT). There are some schools who use one name, but have a different mascot. For example, the Alabama Crimson Tide use the elephant because a commentator said “uh oh here come the elephants,” because the team was so big.

In 1964, Mr.Met and Brutus the Buckeye both debuted in full costumes, becoming the first mascots to appear as such.

In 1974, the San Diego rock station KGB hired cartoonist Brian Narelle created a character for a series of commercials, drawing a chicken. The chicken became such a hit that the radio station made a live costume that was colorful that went to the zoo and handed out eggs and sometimes came to San Diego Padres’ games for entertainment.

Although the mascot is one of the more common things in sports not all teams have a mascot. In Major League Baseball, there are three teams that don’t have one in the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, and the New York Yankees. George Steinbrenner said “mascots had no place in baseball.”

In the NFL, the New York Jets and Giants, Green Bay Packers, and Washington Redskins are the only teams to not have a mascot.

In the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and Los Angeles Lakers don’t have a mascot unless you count Jack Nicholson for LAL.

It seems that in New York they are all business and no gimmicks where more than half of the teams do not associate themselves with mascots.

In sports, there are some mascots that are more widely known than others.

The Duck from Oregon is a household mascot for all the push-ups he does during the game including other things to get the crowd hype. Benny the Bull of the Chicago Bulls is considered the “A” standard of NBA mascots while Jaxson De Ville (Jacksonville Jaguars) is one of the best mascots the NFL has ever seen. The Phillie Phanatic is phantastic, he brings flare excitement and everything in between for Phillies’ fans.

Whether you hate mascots or love them, you appreciate them and what they bring to their respected organization. They play such a big role in games that they even had a part in the NCAA Football video games where you could play the game using mascots.

One can argue that the purity and spirit of the game lives in the mascot.

 

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