Oct 12, 2010, 1:51 PM EDT
In which we rank the current top 10 mascots in sports, in terms of newsworthiness, style and general awesomeness. This week’s selections, as determined by reader email and notes tied to bricks found in the lobby:
1. Rufus the Bobcat, Ohio University.
His vicious-but-clean tackle of Brutus Buckeye on Sept. 18 is already the stuff of legend … or at least T-shirts. Although now in exile, banned for life by Ohio University (which he didn’t even attend), Rufus has time to ponder: was it all worth it? Hell yes. A couple days after his epic tackle, Rufus revealed that he had been planning the attack since the beginning of the season; and in fact had tried out to be Rufus just so that he could attack Brutus. That is so awesome, in an Angelina Jolie Salt kind of way.
2. Colonel Reb, University of Mississippi.
I’m not big on a lot of Southern sports traditions; the confederate battle flag and the Atlanta Braves’ tomahawk chop are sad, outdated and borderline racist, and should both be trash-bagged IMHO. But I’m not sure that the Ole Miss mascot, Col. Reb, fits into that category. Far from being stereotypical in a bad way, he reminds me more of an old man who just wants to sell me fried chicken and potato wedges. But the university has kicked him out, and so Ole Miss students are voting today between the three new mascots which have made the next-to-final cut. And I must say that none are very inspiring. Unless Ole Miss has a good law school, then Land Sharks would work pretty well.
3. Banana Man, Miami Heat.
He took a nation mired in a recession and two unpopular wars and taught it how to laugh and love once again. His YouTube video celebrating the Heat’s acquisition of LeBron James was an instant classic, but the question is now, what will Banana Man do for an encore? Expectations are very high in Miami … one might say, the Heat is on. Banana Man bears the weight of a franchise, and perhaps the very NBA itself, on his shoulders. Which isn’t comforting, because he’s a soft tropical fruit.
4. The Criminal, Yuma (Ariz.) High School.
Thus named because its first campus was the abandoned Yuma Territorial Prison, the Criminals are this year celebrating the 100th anniversary of owning the high school sports nickname most filled with awesome. And their entrance to football games isn’t too shabby either. Is still the only mascot that needs to be patted down after the game to check for stolen whistles and kicking tees.
5. The Famous Chicken, freelancer.
Although he’s 56 years old and no longer affiliated with the San Diego Padres, the Chicken had a 78.7 awareness score in a recent Forbes magazine poll, making him the nation’s most-liked mascot. The forebear to the Phillie Phanatic is considered the father of the modern sports mascot, and is now in semi-retirement so that he can “spend more time with my family” (pictured).
6. Bango, Milwaukee Bucks.
His death-defying stunt late last season, in which he did a backflip off of a 16-foot ladder to complete a dunk during halftime, has raised the bar for all mascots.
7. The Demon, Warner Robins (Ga.) High School.
You may seem intimidating with your horns and trident and smoke-scented cologne, but how tough are you, Mr. Demon, when faced with a threat to your very existence? The Warner Robins mascot proved equal to the task recently when a pastor, who had just moved into the school district, tried to ban him for being “an affront to God.” Bring it on, preacher man!
8. Wolfie Jr., University of Nevada-Reno.
It’s … it’s hard for me to talk about this, because it’s so traumatic. Back in April during a practice game between the Wolfpack and the Minor League Reno Aces, Wolfie Jr. was moonwalking on top the dugout when he took a wrong step and plunged onto the concrete floor. Fortunately, his costume broke his fall, and his mishap, captured on video, made him a viral sensation.
9. Cocky, University of South Carolina.
Cocky’s 30th birthday was celebrated this year with a delicious cake, presented by none other than head coach Steve Spurrier. Cocky returned the favor by leading the Gamecocks to a big home upset of then-No.1 Alabama, 35-21. Fun Wikipedia fact: Jamie Ballentine is perhaps the longest-serving Cocky at four years from 2002-2006, during which he won Capitol One’s Mascot Bowl.
10. Goldy Gopher, University of Minnesota.
This is from last year, but Goldy’s body of work cannot be ignored. First he was reprimanded for mocking Penn State players who were praying prior to a game. Then he shockingly attempted to mix his whites with colors in the wash. But the best of all was when Goldy plowed over a couple of Pee Wee football kids during a halftime exhibition. Not In Goldy’s House!
Think that your mascot deserves to be ranked? Mascot Power Rankings depends greatly on your submissions. Send tales of mascot shenanigans, links and photos to Rickchand@gmail.com.
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