The season of free agency and combines are upon us. The constant rosterbation has hit a fever pitch with trades, free agents and draft picks. However, since none of this is based in a shred of reality (maybe some educated guesses), I have decided to come up with the 2013 NFL Mascot games.
The rules are simple, each NFL team must have their own mascot on the field at all times. One is the minimum, the entire team is the maximum. All animals will be trained/trainable, but the bounds of reality of that animal still applies (I.E, a Bear can’t be trained to be a perfect read option QB, but would be a beast DE or something to that effect). I will preview each division over the next few weeks, then ultimately pick one team that rises to the top.
With that being said, here is how I would configure each NFL team – where I would put their mascot, and if this ultimately hurts or helps the team.
The second installment, the NFC South.
Atlanta Falcons - Peregrine Falcon - Position: FS
I have always kinda looked at the falcon as the generic Seahawk. Now, I know this isn’t true, and there are several species of falcon that are actually way different than an osprey in many ways. However, I don’t walk around Discovery Park with a really expensive iPhone app and spotters goggles, so to me – these animals are pretty much the same. However, I did come across this sweet Google image of a Falcon that is white.
But if I were to actually pick a Falcon in an effort to give this team a bump, you got to go Peregrine Falcon. It is the fastest animal on earth, reaching in upwards of 200MPH in dives to catch it’s prey. So it only makes sense that the falcon plays defensive back, and honestly – I would treat it like a blitzing safety. Imagine this guy just circling, then on a key 3rd down, dive bombing the QB at 200MPH? Team improvement? Slight improvement over Eugene Robinson, who dive bombs hookers. Or did before anyway.
Carolina Panthers – Panther (the legendary creature) – Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
This was the animal that I thought for sure would be the most cut and dried, but lead to a rabbit hole of wacky research about Panthers. See, I didn’t want to go the lazy route and mail in this synopsis:
“The Panther is a mean-ass cat and makes sense on defense. Put in the pass rush and he will maul quarterbacks.”
Now this is true, and while I am tempted to end my analysis there, I learned too much about mythical Panther to ignore it, and obviously the impact on the football field.
I don’t want to completely paraphrase Wikipedia (for you Ben) – the mythical Panther has endured centuries in many different cultures as a beast that emits a powerful scent after three days of sleeping. People are enchanted by it and follow the Panther. In different civilizations, the Panther isn’t always a Panther – sometimes it is a deer, a bull, whatever – but shares this unique quality. I really suggest reading the Wiki entry, it’s fascinating.
So with that being said, it makes sense that the Panther be at defensive tackle. However, the Panther won’t have to do much besides emit scent, which will draw in the offense (and probably the defense) into a scrum. Just make sure one of your defenders has an Avian Flu mask on so they can swoop the ball from the entranced player and take it to the house. All games the Panthers play may result in a 7-0 score.
Team improvement? High. Insanely high.
New Orleans Saints – A Quality Marching Fellow – Position: QB
This was another one that could have gone with picking a literal Saint to be on the team. However, I find that to be a little boring, plus I don’t think God cares about the outcome of football games, no matter how many post-game interviews would lead you to think otherwise. So with that line of thought, NoLa should thank me for not putting an apathetic deity on their team. I want to make them better!
That’s how I found the Quality Marching Fellow, which is a mash-up of British Stereotype and the graphic design genius of David Rappoccio of TheDrawPlay.com.
The monocle suggests intelligence, marching suggests that there is a tireless pursuit of perfection yet moving at the same steady pace, and fellows are a good nickname for those that are on their way to “chaps” – which takes some time. So, we have found a character with the utmost pride in his work, a sterling ethic and intelligence to boot.
Since I couldn’t pick player-coaches, I had to go with the field general position for him on the Saints. Drew Brees is getting a little older, has plenty of weapons and isn’t that tall. This guy can come in at 6′ 1″ (I made up that height) and starts working with all those weapons immediately. Plus, he is really smart. He can distribute the ball. Now, is he as physically gifted as Brees? Not sure.
Team Improvement: On the field, slight downgrade – in life, high moral upgrade for the city of New Orleans.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – A Buccaneer (NOT a Pirate) - Position: WR
As hard as this is to believe Buccaneers are actually cooler and just as dangerous as pirates. To go SAT analogy on you, Buccaneers are to mafia bosses as Pirates are to petty street thugs. Both are dangerous, but one has way more style, is way more lethal and probably took your girl home.
Their name originated from a few words over the years, but I will take the wiki excerpt it originated from the fact that they ate Manatee meat. Can you believe that? It’s like these guys ate mermaids and robbed from Spanish conquistadors (who had no problem eradicating entire civilizations) so you know they don’t have remorse for anything or anyone.
These guys were hired guns by mostly the English to take out Spanish shipping merchants, made tons of cash and also had a B.A. reputation. So where does he fit on the field?
I decided to go with WR here, because jumping from ship to ship, stealing riches and having a gigantic ego just sounded like a wide receiver. He will always want the ball and will make sure to get it when it is thrown his way. You need to be that aggressive with Josh Freeman at quarterback – you don’t always quite know where that ball is headed.
Team Improvement? Yes, I mean really – Muscle Hamster needs all the help he can get.
Winner from this division? I think I have to hand it to the Panthers just because of all the intangibles that history brings to the fold. The Panther can literally take over a game with just it’s scent. That’s amazing, and the Bucs, the Falcons and Saints couldn’t resist that. Standings would be Panthers, Bucs, Falcons and then the Saints.