NFL franchises spend lots of time and effort making sure fans enjoy going to the game. Cheerleaders, food and beverage options, and half-time entertainment are all crucial parts of the gameday experience — though nothing whips a crowd into a frenzy like the mascot.
Nearly all NFL teams have some kind of large, padded anthropomorphic animal or costumed representative of the team’s name serving as the mascot. These mascots fire up the crowd, perform stunts, and make appearances throughout the local community. Some of the mascots look fun and friendly, while others have missed the mark and seem more frightening than fun.
To determine the NFL’s best and worst mascots, 24/7 Tempo created an index using scores and rankings of NFL mascots from sports news publishers like Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Bleacher Report, and more. These outlets ranked NFL mascots on criteria such as their perceived quality, appearance, and overall fan-friendliness.
The New Orleans Saints have two official mascots — Sir Saint and Gumbo. Only Sir Saint, originally used from 1967-1984 then revived in 2009, was considered as he was ranked on most of the lists. Some teams like the Ravens and Eagles have live animal mascots, but only their costumed mascots were considered.
Choosing a best or worst mascot is somewhat subjective. Fans are always going to have affection for their team’s mascot and dislike their opponent’s. Yet there is a general consensus from NFL fans about whether a mascot is cool or creepy. Humanoid mascots tend to rank poorly, as people seem to much prefer animal mascots — all but one of the top 12 mascots are animals.
Not every team has decided to employ a mascot. The New York Jets, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, and Washington Football team lack one of these fan-friendly representatives. For many years, the San Diego Chargers had Boltman — an unofficial mascot created by a superfan, but Boltman hung up his cape after the team moved to Los Angeles. These are the cities that have lost the most teams.