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Meet the Ole Miss Rebels’ new mascot, a Landshark named Tony

The Rebels are still the Rebels, though.

Mississippi v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

For the second time this millennium, Ole Miss has changed the identity and species of the plushy character that gyrates on its sidelines. The problematic and retired Colonel Reb begat the Black Bear in 2010, which now makes way for the Landshark. Students voted in 2017 to make a Landshark the school’s new mascot, and now the new critter’s here.

Why “Landshark?”

First of all, it’s unique. Only one other Division I program has used a shark mascot in modern times, and both happen to be the Rebels. UNLV has used a regular water shark in honor of former coach Jerry “Tark the Shark” Tarkanian. But this here is a Landshark.

But for real, why “Landshark?”

Ole Miss defenders took up the hand-on-forehead sharkfin celebration a few years back, as you can see in the pic at the top of this post. Ole Miss explains:

Roots of the “Landshark” at Ole Miss date back to 2008. After four straight losing seasons, the Rebel football team returned to national prominence with a 9-4 record and a victory over 7th-ranked Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. Leading the charge was a defensive squad that ranked fourth in the nation in rushing defense and included All-Americans Peria Jerry and Greg Hardy and eventual All-SEC standout Jerrell Powe.

The term “Landshark” originated that season from senior linebacker Tony Fein, an Army veteran who served a one-year tour in the Iraq War before arriving in Oxford. A two-year letterman after transferring from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College, Fein was the 2008 recipient of the Pat Tillman Award by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Fein passed away in October 2009, but his legacy at Ole Miss continues through the “Landshark.”

What’s it look like?

The official unveiling happened on Aug. 11, before the 2018 football season kicked off. We learned that the Landshark will be named Tony and look like this:

We had an original concept idea for the mascot that would have been just as great, tbh:

And there was this Rebel at the 2014 Peach Bowl:

Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl - Mississippi v TCU Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Also, there were these two Rebels at Auburn:

Mississippi v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Wait, why is he named Tony?

He’s named after former Rebel football player Tony Fein, whom the school mentions above.

Will Ole Miss fan Katy Perry be sad to see the Bear replaced by a Shark?

Well, maybe.

But maybe not.

Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Ole Miss sure does have a long mascot history, huh.

Sure does! Red Cup Rebellion runs through it in detail here:

This is fun and good. College sports should be fun.

Spencer Hall lists a handful of pros:

References the Land Shark, an actual Ole Miss tradition that is good and not bad

Tony is a shark that lives on the land, and not a slavery-loving genocidaire who convinced poor white people to fight and die for rich white people’s right to own poorer, unfree black people. That’s cool that we’re not endorsing that too much now.

It’s profoundly silly and mascots should be profoundly silly. A person who wants a mascot with dignity doesn’t understand mascots. They also probably get really upset when someone hears them pooping in a public restroom. Buddy, this is a public restroom, it’s basically a concert hall for the colon. Let your butt play some Wagner if it has to, friend, at the end of the day we’re all just hiccuping tubes with legs.

(I’m going to laugh if it’s really brutal-sounding, though, so stay mad. Can’t chase me with your pants around your ankles.)

Only loves Ole Miss, eating prey for food, and making tackles. Again, is much better than a Confederate colonel, because a Confederate Colonel loves murder, slavery, and doesn’t even like good tackling via bad defense. Why trust someone to run a solid 4-3 defense when they couldn’t even hold Atlanta? SMH.

Won’t go around challenging people to duels because they got owned online like an idiot Mississippi Colonel would. Do you know how much stationery was used in the correspondence and ceremony around dueling and the culture of honor? All because someone said you looked stupid in some pants, or said something factual about them like “he owes me money” or “he’s a racist who supports slavery?” Dueling was not only insane, it was also super tedious in all the formalities. Only an idiot would want to be part of something that involved both murder, making appointments on time, and paperwork.

Pretty much!