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Who would win in a fight between the remaining NFL playoff mascots?

A gold miner, a tiger, an eagle and a wolf walk into a bar ... and they fight.

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NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve all heard the outrageous and hypothetical matchups between members of the animal kingdom. It usually starts with one of your friends getting a bit too inebriated before they turn to you and ask, “Who do you think would win in a fight: 10 silverback gorillas or 1,000 rats?”

After taking a moment to remind yourself that this person IS a smart and decent human being, you decide to humor them with a legitimate answer. That turns into even more questions and that stirs up even further debate.

Obviously the answer to the aforementioned question is the 10 gorillas — and no, I will not be accepting any counter arguments.

Now, let’s imagine this very same situation but swap those animals with the mascots for each of the remaining four NFL teams playing in this weekend’s conference championship games.

Also, by mascots, I mean the literal beings that they represent (not the people in giant furry costumes), so the Eagles are a real eagle and the Bengals are a bonafide tiger. Cool, right? I thought so.

Without further ado, let’s get to the tale of the tape.

NFC Championship: 49ers vs. Eagles

Fighter: Sourdough Sam, a miner from 1849 who trekked across the country for the chance to strike it rich in Northern California
Height: 5’8
Weight: 140 pounds
Weapon of choice: A rusty pickaxe that’s seen better days


Fighter: A bald eagle bursting at the seams with freedom
Height: 3 foot (6-foot-5 wingspan)
Weight: 14 pounds
Weapon of choice: Razor-sharp two-inch talons

Decision: Sourdough Sam by TKO

Ultimately, I believe this one ends up going to Sourdough Sam but not without an impressive performance by the bald eagle.

In the year 2023, the average male is quite a bit larger than over 170 years ago — and they’d still likely be scared out of their minds at the sight of a bald eagle dive-bombing them from above. But those miners were simply built different back then. Plus, he has a pickaxe.

I mean, these dudes would simply peace out from their families and WALK themselves all the way to the west coast for an incredibly minuscule chance that they’d MAYBE find some gold nuggets in a random riverbed. Most humans this day and age get massive anxiety about answering a phone call! These prospectors took an unfathomable amount of dangers straight to the chest, which tells me they’d stand firm, pickaxe in hand, waiting for the chance to knock the eagle out of the sky with a well-timed swing.

But let’s not sleep on the eagle’s determination. Just like the NFL fan base he represents, this feathered force won’t be kept down by a few good wallops. As long as he can still flap his wings, he’ll keep coming and coming.

But in the end, Sourdough Sam only needs one perfect shot to erase the eagle’s advantage: Mobility. One effective clip to the wing and it’s game over.

AFC Championship: Bengals vs. Chiefs

Fighter: A behemoth Bengal tiger who has probably never known fear
Height: 10 foot (on their hind legs)
Weight: 500 pounds
Weapon of choice: Strength to crush a skull in one swipe


Fighter: A gray wolf with immeasurable confidence to go at this alone
Height: 5’0 (on their hind legs)
Weight: 145 pounds
Weapon of choice: An overwhelming need to protect its territory

Decision: Bengal tiger in an overwhelming victory

I wish I could make this one a bit more interesting, but you have to think this goes to the tiger in a landslide. The Bengal is almost four times as heavy and twice the size of the wolf, who normally would only take on such an opponent like this with its pack behind him. In this case, he’s flying solo.

One might think that the wolf’s smaller size means that’s he’s also more mobile and evasive. This actually isn’t the case. A tiger can reach speeds as fast as 40 miles per hour, which is more than enough to match, or even outpace, his enemy.

If you were to Google the question, “How many wolves could take down a tiger?” you’d get a number of answers ranging from five or six wolves to well over 15 to 20. One comment thread regarding this very topic on includes a story from Siberia where a single tiger was supposedly attacked by an entire wolf pack. The tiger killed 12 of the wolves and left the scuffle alive.

I went on to learn that in places where both tigers and wolves co-exist, the tigers are actually at fault for killing wolves to near extinction!

If there was ever a lop-sided fight within the animal kingdom, this is it!