It's normal to be creeped out by costumed mascots. Unblinking, unspeaking, unable to emote beyond the most freakish of pantomimes, they exist outside of normal standards of human interaction. Some, like Western Kentucky's Big Red or the Stanford Tree, seem intentionally horrifying, but most mascots have settled into a benign, Disneyfied state of being. And for that we should be thankful.
Because, based on these retired costumes, it used to be SO much worse. (Images via school archives.)
"Why doesn't he close his mouth?" you wonder. And then it happens. Big Al unfurls his baleen. He filter feeds his way through a Cracker Barrel. Dozens of vacationing families are caught up in his undiscerning maw, their screams muffled by candy sticks and Al's vestigial muscleless trunk. The cops can't stop him, and you know why: that damn Endangered Species Act.
The Burger King's less chemically stable brother. He solves all of his problems with violence, including the math section of the SAT.
That Albert is capable of many things ... murder, kidnapping, unlicensed taxidermy, customs violations, breaking and entering, destruction of government property, insider trading, filing false documents with a court of law. But look into those awful eyes, and you will know the one thing he finds impossible. Remorse.
Also he's definitely going to pickpocket short shorts fella when he's got his back turned.
He hates you because you have an entire human body and he only has 80 percent of one.
"His face should be that of a friendly farmhand who lures you into his home and then chains you to something."
"Let's give him a hammer!"
"And make an iron ingot sticking out of his head as the result of an industrial accident which left his brain damaged and drives his uncontrollable urge to kill!"
"Ok, I can have this ready in three weeks."
RUN LOUIS ARMSTRONG RUN
It looks like he's crying oil, probably because someone stapled eyebrows and a terrible haircut to his head. This Duck was retired after he kept whispering, "kill me, I am an abomination against nature," during timeouts.
If you intend to date one of Cardinal Bird's daughters, you must assure him that you have noble intentions and determine which of his eyes is the good one. He will also require that you bring him a barrel of grubs. Mmm, grubs.
In case you ever wondered what Bikini Atoll Kermit would look like.
INTRODUCTORY SCULPTURE, SPRING SEMESTER
INSTRUCTOR: WHAT THE HELL DUDE
FINAL GRADE: THIS IS SO NOT COOL
CREDIT HOURS: SERIOUSLY
Realism and rodents should never, ever go together. No amount of monetary compensation can give that little girl back what she lost on this fateful day.
Hello, kids. Did you have a nice day at school? I hope you got a good grade on your history test. You know your mother and I don't want to have to put on the headpieces. But we will. We will.
Everything is proceeding according to plan. The humans remain unperturbed by my presence, convinced that I am one of them bedecked with an unusual ornamental headpiece. Soon, my shucked brothers and sisters shall be avenged. And we will be the ones flossing humans out of our teeth.
SYRACUSE (oh my god don't even watch this)
(i didn't even do anything wrong, why)
This looks like it came from a silent movie about the dangers of insufficient castor oil consumption.
If you're wondering what the hell is in the back row of this picture, let me tell you: a seven-foot-tall metallic wolfman made by an engineering student. For Satan.
That is not where the face goes. That is not even CLOSE to where the face goes. He appears to be melting, you idiots.
The California Raisin who was blinded in a bar fight. But that elderly priest shouldn't have started shit he wasn't ready to finish.
"There's a good puss. Now give us a snuggle and tell us how much you enjoy Birmingham."
It's so terrifying that it becomes hilarious, and then terrifying, and then hilarious, and then terrifying again. His head looks like an M&M left on the floor of your dad's Volvo for seven years.
I CAME HERE TO KICK ASS AND CHEW FACES OFF AND MY FOOT IS TIRED
SB Nation video archives: Pierre the Pelican and the creepiest mascots in sports (2014)