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Which NFL team mascot would be the best at actual football?

It’s time for an important investigation to determine which NFL mascot is the best at football.

Nickelodeon at the Super Bowl Experience - JoJo Siwa performance at NFL Play 60 Kids Day Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Nickelodeon

There hasn’t been an NCAA Football game in the last five years. The real tragedy of that, in my opinion, is the death of “Mascot Mode.”

A Syracuse Orange throwing a touchdown to another Orange, Big Al the Alabama elephant picking up a facemask penalty, the Stanford tree thing doing literally anything. All of it’s hilarious.

Maybe it’s because mascots are a more engrained part of the wacky culture of college football, but for some reason Mascot Mode never trickled up to Madden. And that’s really a shame, because I would love to see a team of Jacksonville Jaxson de Villes take on the San Francisco Sourdough Sams.

So let’s hash this out. Which mascot — cloned 52 times over — would be the toughest to beat on the field?

We’ll sort this out by divisions first

AFC East

  1. Pat Patriot (Patriots)
  2. Billy Buffalo (Bills)
  3. T.D. (Dolphins)

Pat Patriot and Billy Buffalo are the clear frontrunners here. The Jets don’t have a mascot and T.D. is a dolphin with no hands. I’m not saying it’s impossible to carry the ball with flippers, but I have serious doubts about T.D.’s ball security and it’s probably safe to rule out any kind of passing game.

As for the top two, I’m giving the edge to Pat Patriot because he looks just a little more prepared for a football game. He’s in pads and football pants, while Billy Buffalo is out there in basketball shorts.

AFC North

  1. Chomps (Browns)
  2. Who Dey (Bengals)
  3. Steely McBeam (Steelers)
  4. Poe (Ravens)

Again, hands are important. I don’t trust Poe to do much with wings.

Steely McBeam would have a strong case in a best mascot name contest, but we’ve already established that it’s good to come prepared for football and he’s in flannel and overalls. Not ideal.

Neither Chomps nor Who Dey are wearing football gloves, which could hurt them in the playoffs. But I’m giving the division to Chomps because he’s a very good dog in a football uniform and is one of the few mascots in the NFL with a helmet.

Denver Broncos v Cleveland Browns Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images

AFC South

  1. Toro (Texans)
  2. Blue (Colts)
  3. T-Rac (Titans)
  4. Jaxson de Ville (Jaguars)

It hurts me to put Jaxson in the AFC South cellar considering he has a strong argument as the NFL’s funniest mascot and has pulled off random moments of athletic excellence. But he’s just not coming into this in great football shape. He’s as wide around as any mascot.

My first thought was that Blue would be a favorite considering his tenacity and love for throttling kids on the football field. But he’s not in the best football shape either. And I really don’t trust how incredibly large the feet of T-Rac are.

This division title belongs to Toro — a large bull built like Andre Johnson.

AFC West

  1. Miles (Broncos)
  2. K.C. Wolf (Chiefs)

This is just a two-mascot race between Miles and K.C. Wolf.

That weird Raider Rusher thing that made the Internet rounds in 2013 was really just one of 32 characters on Nickelodeon’s NFL Rush Zone. Boltman is just a Chargers fan wearing a costume.

That leaves K.C. Wolf, a goofy, out-of-shape, and often cross-eyed wolf, and Miles, an absolutely jacked bronco geared up for some football. It was never a contest.

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

NFC East

  1. Rowdy (Cowboys)
  2. Swoop (Eagles)

It’s another two-team race because New York and Washington are among the mascot-less clubs. It’s between Rowdy, a large cowboy wearing a 10-gallon hat that may literally carry 10 gallons, and Swoop, a bald eagles in a football uniform.

As we’ve already established, hands are important. Swoop doesn’t have them. That makes it Rowdy’s division.

NFC North

  1. Viktor (Vikings)
  2. Roary (Lions)
  3. Staley Da Bear (Bears)

Even without the Packers, this is a strong division. Roary has an absolutely gigantic noggin, and Staley Da Bear has the face of a bear who is not at all here for the bullshit.

Both would’ve been strong contenders to win any other division, but Viktor is basically Jeremy Shockey in a Vikings uniform. He might be the favorite to win the whole thing.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

NFC South

  1. Freddie Falcon (Falcons)
  2. Sir Purr (Panthers)
  3. Gumbo (Saints)
  4. Captain Fear (Buccaneers)

Let’s get this out of the way first — each team gets one mascot, and that means the Saints’ Sir Saint isn’t here. He’s creepy as hell, so it’s honestly for the best.

This is a difficult division to sort out with no clear frontrunner, and no obvious eliminations. I’m giving it to Freddie Falcon, the only one with hands I’d trust to make catches. Sir Purr and Gumbo each have large paws, and Captain Fear won’t put down his sword. For what it’s worth, I have concerns about Sir Purr’s on-field awareness too.

On a final note: Freddie Falcon has eyes that pierce your soul and that has to be good for something.

NFC West

  1. Rampage (Rams)
  2. Big Red (Cardinals)
  3. Blitz (Seahawks)
  4. Sourdough Sam (49ers)

Here’s another really tough division. I’m dropping Sourdough Sam and Blitz from contention due to footwear: Sourdough Sam is in cowboy boots and Blitz has gigantic talons.

But Rampage and Big Red is a toss up. Both are in football gloves with a pair of shoes, a football uniform, and in good shape. I guess I’ll just be species-ist(?) and say I feel much better about a ram’s ability to play football than I do a cardinal.

Buffalo Bills v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

It’s playoffs time

Nah, we’re not doing Wild Cards. Let’s just get down to it with the division winners:

AFC

  1. Toro (Texans)
  2. Miles (Broncos)
  3. Chomps (Browns)
  4. Pat Patriot (Patriots)

I expected the playoffs to bring me more difficult decisions, but this was easy. Pat Patriots is in laughably huge moon shoes, Chomps has paws, and Miles has a pair of high tops that are about 6 sizes too big.

Toro has a pair of gloves and Nikes. He’s on to the mascot Super Bowl.

NFC

  1. Rampage (Rams)
  2. Viktor (Vikings)
  3. Rowdy (Cowboys)
  4. Freddie Falcon (Falcons)

Similar to the Seahawks’ Swoop, Freddie Falcon is out because of his feet. And Rowdy is eliminated because of his cowboy boots, which I was happy to do because, honestly, he creeps me out.

So this is between Rampage — an anthropomorphic ram; and Viktor — Jeremy Shockey with a handlebar mustache.

Sorry, Viktor. Boots aren’t going to cut it, and there’s evidence you go down pretty easy.

The Mascot Super Bowl

We’ve got a roster of bulls against a roster of rams. Speaking strictly from the animal kingdom perspective, that’s a hell of a matchup for a football game.

Good pad level, strong at the point of attack, difficult to bring down. I’d be down to keep Toro and Rampage on the sideline just to see some rams and bulls in action.

But if we’re talking mascots, it’s going to come down to the shoe choices:

On the left we have Toro’s shoe, which looks more appropriate for bowling than football. But it’s much better than Rampage’s shoe on the right, which looks like it should be attached to some footie pajamas.

That means I’m picking Toro, the Houston Texans mascot, as the champion of a hypothetical Mascot Mode tournament. Now it’s up to Madden to actually add a Mascot Mode and prove me wrong.