Mascots are an important part of sports culture, but so is competition. So, which NFL mascots stand out above the rest?
For this list, we’re looking at costumed characters only, so live animal mascots get a pass. These rankings are completely subjective, debatable and unofficial, based only on the design of the mascot, not the performance of the teams.
27. Raider Rusher, Las Vegas Raiders
There is something absolutely wrong with this guy. I don’t know what happened or why these choices were made, but Raider Rusher is objectively terrifying. This helmet-clad head with arms and legs is sure to frighten children and disturb adults.
26. Captain Fear, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’m not a huge fan of mascots that are just people, and Captain Fear is just a pirate. A pretty scary pirate, too! His clenched teeth and glowering expression might intimidate the other team, but somehow I don’t think professional football players can be too intimidated by a plush mascot costume.
25. Steely McBeam, Pittsburgh Steelers
Steely McBeam is not nearly as terrifying as the last two mascots, but he loses points for being a little boring to look at. He is simply just a guy, there’s nothing more to say. I appreciate the five o’clock shadow there, though, that’s a nice touch.
24. T.D., Miami Dolphins
I feel for the Miami Dolphins, since making a good dolphin costume can’t be easy. T.D. is up against a lot: he has gray, smooth skin, fish lips and not one single finger to emote with. His helmet doesn’t even fit his giant dolphin head. Out of all the costumes, this is the one that looks the most uncomfortable. The dorsal fin is a fun detail, though.
23. Sir Saint and Gumbo, New Orleans Saints
Gumbo, the dog, is an adorable mascot with a lolling red tongue and eyes that are only slightly upsetting. Sir Saint, the man with the giant chin, is enough of a caricature that it’s not too weird that he’s a costumed character. The two mascots don’t seem to go very well together in terms of design choices, but they’re making do with what they’ve got. I was tempted to dock them points for making me draw two mascots, but I resisted. They are not the only offenders.
22. Sourdough Sam, San Francisco 49ers
Sourdough Sam got a makeover pretty recently, and it’s honestly a huge glow-up. His beard makes him look jolly, and his pickaxe is a great prop for him to play with. While most mascots have the numbers 0, 00 or 1 on their jerseys, I really appreciate that the San Francisco 49ers let Sourdough Sam have 49.
21. Miles, Denver Broncos
Miles is charming enough, and a horse mascot is perfectly appropriate for the Denver Broncos. Still, his white fur makes him a bit of an unreadable, washed-out mass at times, which is not what you want in a mascot. His extremely pronounced horse chin is also very funny.
20. Roary, Detroit Lions
Roary has amazing shapes. He has a great nose and mouth, big paws and a huge head made even bigger by his mane. The color palette, however, leaves something to be desired. I wish there was more contrast between his fur and his mane to make him pop a little more.
19. Pat Patriot, New England Patriots
I know my audience, and I’m sorry. I wish I could rank him higher, but look at him. His star-spangled hat, gloves and boots are very effective, but his face really loses me. The jaws on all of the human mascots are so ridiculous, including Pat Patriot. He’s both too cartoony and not cartoony enough.
18. Viktor, Minnesota Vikings
Viktor has a fun design with bright colors that really pop on the field. His horned helmet and golden braids are standout features, and he even has his own football staff that he carries around with him. Is it supposed to be a hammer? Is it an axe? Who can say?
17. Rowdy, Dallas Cowboys
I like this guy because he looks like a little stinker. True to his name, Rowdy has the look of a cowboy who’s been up to a little mischief. And I appreciate the departure from the other lantern-jawed human NFL mascots. His giant hat is also a plus.
16. Big Red, Arizona Cardinals
Just like a real cardinal, Big Red is the king of bright colors. With a seven-foot wingspan decked out in bright, fluffy red feathers, you can’t miss him!
15. T-Rac, Tennessee Titans
I mean this in absolutely the best way possible: T-Rac looks like a stuffed animal that has been through the washing machine one too many times. He looks well-loved. I love his floppy little tail, his dangling tongue and even his mangy-looking fur. He’s not the most professional looking mascot costume, but there’s something about him.
14. K.C. Wolf, Kansas City Chiefs
K.C. Wolf has an extremely goofy design. From his cartoony, egg-shaped eyes to his huge patterned pants, he just screams “fun!” He might look a little bit more like a kangaroo than a wolf, but that doesn’t bother him. He’s just here for a good time.
13. Toro, Houston Texans
Toro’s design is extremely friendly, even with those two sharp horns on his head! His big, round nose and expressive eyes are perfect for a mascot.
12. Who Dey, Cincinnati Bengals
Who could represent the Cincinnati Bengals better than a Bengal tiger? Named after a beloved Cincinnati Bengals chant, Who Dey’s fluffy design and bright orange fur make him easy to spot on the field or in a crowd.
11. Swoop, Philadelphia Eagles
Though he’s a little less deranged than his Philadelphian cousins, the Phillie Phanatic and Gritty, Swoop has a charm all his own. Just look at the determination on his face. Bird mascots are especially effective, since they come with big, expressive wings to flap around.
10. Freddie Falcon, Atlanta Falcons
Did I say “bird mascots?” Here’s another! Freddie Falcon has an incredibly unique design that makes him look like he came straight from the Jim Henson Creature Shop. His wide beak, fluffy head and countless feathers cut a striking figure on the field.
9. Chomps, Cleveland Browns
Chomps might look a little ferocious, but his head sculpt is a masterful design. His meticulous features make him look angry, determined and victorious, all at once. The floppy ears don’t hurt, either.
8. Rampage, Los Angeles Rams
Have you ever seen a cuter ram? Rampage is another incredibly successful mascot design, with an adorable face sculpt, smiling eyes, curling horns and fluffy fur.
7. Sir Purr, Carolina Panthers
Talk about cuddly! Sir Purr might be a vicious panther, but he looks more like a lovable house cat. His panther blue paw pads and ears are a nice touch.
6. Poe, Baltimore Ravens
We love a literary allusion here, and it makes me wonder what Edgar Allen Poe would say if he knew a football team had been named after one of his poems (and that an NFL mascot had been named after him). Poe’s giant eyes and flappy wings make him a sight to see. Quoth the Raven, “Touchdown.”
5. Staley Da Bear, Chicago Bears
He’s grubby-looking, but he’s lovable. Named after the founder of the Chicago Bears and a massively popular SNL bit, Staley Da Bear is a big softie. His glowering eyes are softened by his wide smile and his teddy bear proportions.
4. Jaxson de Ville, Jacksonville Jaguars
I don’t know how to explain why Jaxson de Ville made it so high on the list. Do you ever look at someone and instantly know they listen to Jimmy Buffet? That’s the feeling I get from Jaxson de Ville. His glittery sunglasses portray a carefree, if slightly chaotic outlook on life. I can only respect that, even if he does look completely ridiculous.
3. Boom and Blitz, Seattle Seahawks
What’s that phrase about two birds and one stone? Boom (left) and Blitz (right) are birds of a feather, and they match each other a lot more successfully than Gumbo and Sir Saint of the New Orleans Saints. Their neon green and navy color palette makes them an unmissable duo. Blitz does look a little shoeless next to Boom, though.
2. Blue, Indianapolis Colts
Wikipedia describes him as “horse-like,” hesitant to name him as an actual horse. But Blue has the spirit of a wild stallion – a stallion with thumbs, blue hair and party blowers coming out of his nose.
1. Billy Buffalo, Buffalo Bills
Since his redesign in 2018, Billy Buffalo has been looking better than ever. His head sculpt is so polished that you could mistake him for a Disney character, and his bulky buffalo body makes him the perfect NFL mascot. From hoof to horn, he looks fantastic.
What’s your favorite sports mascot? Let us know in the comments below!
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