Only the New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and Washington Redskins do not have official team mascots; the remaining 28 clubs all have at least one. Mascots are often seen wearing uniforms similar to those of the actual team with which they link themselves; many also have their own personalities that develop over time.
The first four teams listed here were among the original 16 franchises that began play in the NFL during the 1922 season. The Browns joined the league as an expansion team in 1950, while the Jets entered the league as members of the AAFC before joining the NFL in 1960. The Packers and Redskins both joined the NFL in 1945.
Each franchise is allowed one legal representative on the field during games known as a "mascot", who provides entertainment for fans by engaging in various antics during football plays. Many sports commentators suggest that fans vote for their favorite mascot to influence how the game is played. Others say that the coaches and managers select their own mottos who then become popular with fans and can be rewarded with more playing time or special opportunities.
In addition to being a source of entertainment for fans during games, some club mascots also participate in fundraising activities for their organizations.
The Green Bay Packers do not have a mascot. The Packers, along with the Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers, New York Jets, and New York Giants, are among the few NFL clubs without an official mascot.
During the 1970s, the Packers had "Gipper" as their mascot. His name was derived from that of Vince Lombardi who passed away in July 1976 at the age of 57 after leading the Packers to five NFL championships. Before Lombardi, the franchise had no previous head coaches or general managers but did have two former players serve as team presidents: George Whitney (1933-1945) and William H. DeForest (1945-1960).
In 1960, the club finally hired its first full-time coach in Don Greenwood who led the team to a 9-3 record before being fired during the season. The Packers then hired Joe Paterno who took over as head coach in 1961 and has remained with the team ever since. Paterno's success with the Packers has been outstanding; he has a record of 151-67-1 in the regular season and has won at least nine games five times. He has also made the playoffs every year except for 2001 when he suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on the left side of his body.
Mascots of the National Football League
|American Football Conference|
|New York Jets||None|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Steely McBeam|
Except for three major-league clubs, all now have "official" mascots (Dodgers, Yankees, and Angels). Six club mascots have been inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame: Sluggerrr (Kansas City Royals), the San Diego Chicken, the Phillie Phanatic, Mr. Met, the Oriole Bird, and Slider (Cleveland Indians).
There were once eight major league teams that had mascots. The Buffalo Buffeds, Boston Beaneaters, Chicago White Stockings, Cincinnati Red Legs, Detroit Wolverines, Indianapolis Indians, St. Louis Browns, and Washington Senators had them until 1933 when they were replaced by uniformed costumed characters during the financial crisis caused by the collapse of the National League team in Brooklyn (now New York Mets).
After two years without one, in 1935 the Philadelphia Phillies brought back their original mascot, Pete Gray, a gray wolf who would go on to become an institution himself.
In 1963, with the arrival of the Milwaukee Braves, they too had no mascot. So the owner of the Atlanta Braves decided to use the same one from Philadelphia - Pete Gray - for the new franchise.
Today, there are three main types of baseball mascots: animals, people, and other objects related to the sport.
Animals mascots usually represent wildlife and natural phenomena associated with baseball.