It’s Time for an Anti-Mascot Epidemic

If you haven’t seen the 30 for 30 short The Anti-Mascot, what follows is a very quick description, which you will need or the rest of this article will only make a small amount of sense.

The Anti-Mascot is a short documentary about how a professional baseball franchise created a mascot that was a joke aimed at other mascots. The whole point was for him to be hated — by other teams and also by his own team and fans. Let me tell you, dude, they for real hated him. They threw things at him, said nasty things to him, and one opposing team even did some very unreasonable things to him that resulted in very real injuries. And all of this, it should be mentioned, stood out as a very clever distraction to the fact that the particular team that created the anti-mascot was anti-good at playing baseball (it finished last in 1984, the season the anti-mascot was introduced).

But that’s what it is. And that’s why we’re here right now. This is a thing about other teams that could use an anti-mascot, either because the mascot they have is excessively corny or the team needs a distraction of sorts, something to draw attention away from the win percentage terribleness of the franchise or some other drama. And since The Anti-Mascot only dealt with baseball, this’ll lean the other direction. Here are some professional football and basketball teams that need anti-mascots:

New England Patriots

They have to be first here, probably. Their mascot, Pat Patriot, is actually very dope, and I’m 100 percent in favor of mascots looking like players on the team (you can’t convince me Pat Patriot isn’t just Foam Tedy Bruschi). But there’s a nasty little cloud floating around the franchise right now because of that goofy thing about deflating footballs in the playoffs last season. The most Bill Belichick thing I can think of is that during the Super Bowl ring ceremony, the Patriots introduce their new mascot, Deflatey, a football with arms and legs who periodically deflates and reinflates himself during the games. If they do that, Roger Goodell should automatically lift Tom Brady’s four-game suspension. (And if they don’t do that, the Jets should definitely do it during their first game against the Patriots, and then we can just cancel the next five seasons and give all those Super Bowls to the Jets.)

Cleveland Browns

What’s crazy is they actually just came up with a new mascot last season. His name is Swagger and he’s a real, live dog (a bullmastiff, if you’re into knowing dog breeds). He’s super adorable. He’s also super ineffective. The Browns finished 7-9 behind Swagger. So maybe we ditch him for 2015 and try out the new mascot, Incinerator, a man dressed as a wave who sets himself on fire when he realizes he’s a Cleveland Browns fan. (He could even come with his own theme music, which would make him the second-worst superhero to exist.1) If your franchise is just going to live in football purgatory forever, you might as well lean all the way into it.

Oakland Raiders

Raider Rusher isn’t technically the team’s mascot, but he makes appearances at youth events. He’s fine, I suppose. But the Raiders are always cosmically bad (3-13 last season, including a very powerful 0-10 start), so they really need someone to pull all the hate away from the actual team. Might I suggest we give a call to Raider Rusher’s bitter older brother, Racist Rusher? He’s sort of a Drunk Uncle for the NFL. All of a sudden, nobody’s worried that the team is getting blown out by 36, because Racist Rusher is on another one of his rants about how minorities are ruining the country.

Tennessee Titans

I don’t understand this one. A raccoon? A goddamn raccoon? How is this what you think of when you hear the word “Titan”? A raccoon is an easy pick for Top Five Animals Least Likely to Be Described As “Titan.” He has to go. And the Titans haven’t been the same since losing Super Bowl XXXIV, so their fan base needs someone to direct their disdain toward. This is an easy change: You already have the raccoon costume, so let’s just turn him into Rocky the Rabid Raccoon — and guess what, he’s super into biting children. Like, that’s literally his favorite thing to do. You can’t focus on how bad your team is when you’re trying to make sure Rocky the Rabid Raccoon isn’t lurking in one of the bathroom stalls waiting to attack unattended kids.

Washington Redskins

They don’t have a mascot now, but they did about two decades ago. That’s him up there. Just bring him back and there you go: instant distraction. Redskins-Raiders games also become must-see TV, because he and Racist Rusher are probably not going to be very good friends.

Los Angeles Clippers

They also don’t have a mascot. They need one, especially after the way this season ended (coughing up a 3-1 series lead to miss out on what would have been the franchise’s first conference finals). So right around the beginning of next season, they roll out General Amnesia, and what he does is sprinkle amnesia dust on fans so they can forget to think about how maybe Chris and Blake and DeAndre ain’t the threesome to get it done. Also, check out this plot twist: Amnesia dust is just cocaine. Oh, wow. Clippers games just got way more intense and way more popular. We’re solving all kinds of problems right now.

Washington Wizards

They have a guy. His name is G-Wiz. And I don’t know what the fuck is going on with him. I think he might be a wizard, but that can’t be right because then why didn’t he put some sort of spell on the Wizards to prevent them from bumbling away the postseason series against the Hawks? We have to ditch this guy. It doesn’t even matter who we replace him with. Anything is an improvement. How about Tire? It’s literally just an old car tire that someone rolls out onto the court during timeouts. Malibooyah.

Brooklyn Nets

They don’t have a mascot anymore. They need one. I actually can’t imagine a franchise more in need of one. It’s not that they’re so bad (to be clear, they are very bad, but they aren’t worst bad), it’s that they’re boring and bad. They really need a devastatingly exciting anti-mascot. It feels a lot like maybe it’s time for Jersey Shore Ronnie to make a comeback — the Nets aren’t from Jersey anymore, and Ronnie never was. I’m going to EVERY Nets game if Jersey Shore Ronnie is there, because every Nets game would have at least six, maybe seven fights on the boardwalk afterward, bro.

New Orleans Pelicans

They already had to give Pierre the Pelican a face-lift because his bloody murder beak was so horrifying. They should’ve taken the opportunity to just ditch the whole thing so they could make room for their anti-mascot: Nicolas Cage.

Here’s Pierre right before they revealed his new face:

They should’ve rolled him out to half court, slowly started undoing the bandages, and then boom:

Season-ticket sales would have quadrupled the first day, I’m certain of it. The PR department really flubbed this one. Someone has to get fired.

The Mascot Who Absolutely Should Never Ever Be Changed

Milwaukee’s Bango the Buck is the realest mascot in the NBA, and I’m basing that all off this one clip in which he climbs a ladder 20 feet into the air and then backflips off it AND DUNKS THE BALL.

No joke: He could’ve for real died doing that. What if he hits his head on the rim? What if he slips and lands on the floor, or what if he slips and lands on the mat but he lands headfirst? I don’t care if the Bucks lose every game for the next 40 seasons. Bango is untouchable.

This whole article is ridiculous. Just watch The Anti-Mascot. It’s really good.

Filed Under: 30 For 30, 30 for 30 Shorts, San Francisco Giants, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets, New Orleans Pelicans

Shea Serrano is a staff writer for Grantland. His latest book, The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated and Deconstructed, is a New York Times best seller and is available everywhere.

Archive @ SheaSerrano