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28 Nov 2012

Scramble's Mascot Flow Chart

by Tom Gower and Mike Kurtz

Mike: So, Tom and I were sitting around the other day, wondering why teams have mascots. Where does the idea come from? Do they have mascots in mind when they give the team its nickname? Why do people with advanced marketing degrees think mascots (which only children pay any attention to) will draw any adult attention when there are already a pair of other clowns up in the announcing booth?

That got us thinking; there has to be some way to recreate the thought process behind a team's decision to create a mascot, and in turn which mascot to settle upon. Besides alcohol, I mean.

(Mike is lying. Alcohol is the only way.)

Your Scramble writers, in an attempt to get to the bottom of this conundrum, have devised what we are calling the "Mascot Flowchart." It's a handy little (gigantic) flowchart that will explain exactly what is going through your team president's head when he rolls out Otto the Lupus Patient at the next Lions game. As a special bonus, if you don't currently have a team, you can follow the lines of your various neuroses to figure out which is the right fit for you! You probably want to click to enlarge. (Be warned, it is a 500k .jpg or a 2M .png!)

Loser League Update

QUARTERBACK: The Quest for Quinn was the nickname in Pro Football Prospectus 2006 for the chance a team would have no more than four wins per the Football Outsiders projection. This week, Brady Quinn was Loser League's lowest signal-caller of the week with 4 points, and his Chiefs appear headed to the top of the draft.

RUNNING BACK: Jonathan Dwyer: number one in Loser League this week with -1 point and apparently now number one on the Steelers running back depth chart. With 2 points were a trio of NFC South backs selected in the first round, Mark Ingram, Jonathan Stewart, and DeAngelo Williams.

WIDE RECEIVER: Donald Jones, Brian Hartline, Harry Douglas, Michael Jenkins, and Stephen Hill each had 1 point.

KICKER: Matt Prater missed two field goals. Combined with two made extra points and one made field goal, that's 1 point. At press time, Peyton Manning was not known to have killed him, ordered his release, or referred to him as an "idiot kicker." That we know of, at least.


KEEP CHOPPING WOOD: With no Ben Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to rely on their run game against the Browns. How did their running backs respond? Jonathan Dwyer: nine touches, one fumble. Rashard Mendenhall: four touches, two fumbles. Chris Rainey: thirteen touches, two fumbles. Isaac Redman: three touches, one fumble.

MIKE MARTZ AWARD: We like Jim Schwartz, really we do. He's plugged our work. He took over a bad team that has turned into an at least respectable one quickly. Like one of your Scramble writers, he is an alumnus of Georgetown University. He still did something really dumb against the Texans, and as a head coach that is an inexplicably terrible thing to do, no matter how bad the (atrocious) call on the field was. Why, Jim, why?

Scramble Mailbag

plznshortys: For my No. 2 RB, should I start Mikel LeShoure or Michael Bush?

Tom: Seattle's run defense has been surprisingly porous of late.

Mike: While true, Indianapolis is nothing to write home about. It's also the choice between a starter on a mediocre running team versus a vulture on a decent running team.

Tom: Yes, while Seattle's run defense has struggled of late, Indianapolis' has been terrible pretty much all season. Leshoure is also likelier to get carries than Bush. Don't overthink things. Start Leshoure.

Mike: Bush hasn't been productive this year outside of one game, and there is no reason to believe he'll have the goal-line opportunities he needs to be a value start. Leshoure all the way.

Tom: As an aside, I will also note I warned you, Eagles fans. I mentioned every running back I drafted in fantasy football this year except LeSean McCoy has been injured. Sadly, McCoy has joined the list of the injured. Don't say I didn't warn you, Eagles fans. Also, Giants fans, sorry for picking up Andre Brown. I believe it is now not just every back I drafted, but every back I have had on my roster that has been injured. If you have a back who may be available on the waiver wire you'd like me to hurt as well, post him in the comments. It seems I could use another one or two.

Lock of the Week

Tom: Or, darnit, even on Tuesday night six games don't have lines yet.

Mike: What a mess. Still, even were the others available, I'm still very much inclined to take Houston Texans -6 at Tennessee Titans. Houston is somewhat inconsistent, but they're a complete package and better on both offense and defense than the Titans. Winning by a touchdown shouldn't be too high a hurdle.

Tom: My heuristics indicate Detroit -4.5 versus the Colts and Miami +9 against the Patriots may be favorable numbers. Especially tempting is the Rams +7.5 at home against the 49ers. I will instead take the Washington Redskins +3 vs. the New York Giants. The gap between these two teams in Weighted DVOA is roughly equal to the homefield edge, and I don't trust the Giants even after the blowout of the Packers.

Mike: Wow, a bold call.

Tom: As a reminder, all picks are made for enjoyment purposes only and, except to the extent disclosed herein, have no money riding on them. In other words, if I'm wrong, I say, "Oops," and try to do better the next time.

Mike: And if you're correct, you lord it over us all for a week?

Tom: Have I mentioned I picked the Lions +3.5 and won last week yet?

Mike: Astoundingly, no.

Tom: Well, let me take the opportunity to do just that then! With you idle last week, I moved a half-game closer and am now 6-3 after the Lions covered last week even after blowing a fourth-quarter lead because Matthew Stafford kept getting sacked on third down just short of field-goal range. You stand at 7-3. As a reminder, all lines are courtesy of Bovada and were accurate as of time of writing. All picks are made without reference to FO’s Premium picks.

Send mascot-related insults to scramble-at-footballoutsiders.com!

Posted by: Mike Kurtz and Tom Gower on 28 Nov 2012

43 comments, Last at 02 Dec 2012, 10:24am by Mr Shush


by Bart Snarfle (not verified) :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 9:19pm

No Seahawks on the flowchart?

by Mike Kurtz :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 9:53pm

Craaaap. Look for an updated version tomorrow. With more umbrellas.

Sorry, Seahawks fans!

by Insancipitory :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 10:10pm

I'd mention we're used to it, but you already knew that. Oh look, I did it anyway.

Go Hawks.

by tuluse :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 10:30pm

Also, since you're using like 3 colors you should go with a gif or png. It will be lossless and smaller.

by SandyRiver :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 9:38am

Waiting to see the third bird.

by dryheat :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 11:36am

Is it the Dolphin? Because the bird path takes you there.

by komakoma (not verified) :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 9:27pm

Good stuff but... "The Rams have not won an NFL championship since the creation of the AFL, so let's hope he's holding out for Madden". What?

by buzzorhowl (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 1:30am


Yeah, I don't get it either.

by RickD :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 11:48am

I guess Kevin Dyson finally made the end zone.

by BigCheese :: Sun, 12/02/2012 - 1:07am

Well, rememebr, one of the writers is a Titans fan, so he probably blocked that out But seriously, WTF?!?!

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

by BigCheese :: Sun, 12/02/2012 - 1:10am

On a realated note, I have now caught on that the Scramble writers rotate after one good year when they bring their all to make a fun, entertaining column.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

by Kal :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 9:30pm

That flowchart was wonderful.

by tuluse :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 10:32pm

Why do people with advanced marketing degrees think mascots (which only children pay any attention to) will draw any adult attention when there are already a pair of other clowns up in the announcing booth?

Who says they do? I always thought mascots are there for the kids.

by dbostedo :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 11:20pm

Agreed, except for college mascots which seem to be pretty popular with the students, and really, with the rest of the fans too.

by jebmak :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 3:05am

Mascots are also popular with people who don't care much about the sport but are there for the camaraderie or they feel they should be there (e.g. on a company outing). At least in my experience.

by Thok :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 11:41pm

The flow chart needs more Steely McBeam.

by jebmak :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 3:03am

This is a family site.

by Bobman :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 12:19am

The flowchart was truly awesome, but perhaps the best part was under the "we have a team?" question for the Jags--Jacksonville was misspelled! Do NOT fix that! meoooow!

by The Anti-Dave (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 7:47pm

If there's anything more inane and unoriginal than "the Jaguars have no fans and have tarps" jokes, it's Bobman's endless capacity to find the same joke hilarious each time.

The Jaguars have better ticket sales than either the Bengals or Lions, incidentally. And nine other teams.

by wr (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 12:42am

"The Rams have not won a championship since the creation of the AFL".

Er, um, Tom, you really need got out of denial. He really
was tackled one yard short of the goal line, and the Rams really did win that Super Bowl.

by John Courage :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 2:15am

Very cool!

However, is anyone else having trouble seeing the pictures in each box, or is it just me? They are very dark and I really have to squint to make out a lot of them.

by Jerry :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 4:08am

It's not just you. I don't know if I should be thankful or disappointed that I can't make them out.

by fyo :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 8:37pm

agree. almost impossible to make out the pics. Color conversion gone wrong? Layer opacity with the text-overlay? Maybe a nice gamma-correction snafu?

by Tom Gower :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 2:21am

Oops. I guess I am in denial or something.

by Kulko :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 5:16am

I have clinched the playoffs and the Number 3 seed a week in advance. Should I rest my starters to get them healthyfor the playoffs or play my top players like Aaron Hernandez to build momentum, but risking further injury?

by Podge (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 6:03am

On the Quest for Quinn thing, wasn't 0-4 wins in FOA 2008 called "Brohm Closet", for the chance to draft Brian Brohm?

by Tom Gower :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 1:24pm

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue. Quest for Quinn = 07 draft, in PFP06. Brohm Closet = 08 draft, in PFP07.

by dryheat :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 2:28pm

Funny that Quinn nearly dropped out of the first round and Vroom nearly out of the 2nd. At least the Suck for Luck campaign resulted in the purported target getting drafted first.

by Podge (not verified) :: Fri, 11/30/2012 - 6:00am

What would it be this year? Keen-o for Geno? Barkley Card*? You've got to be Joeckel? Wishing on a Star?

*I don't know if you have Barclaycards over there, in which case that won't make sense.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 8:53am

I'd hold your horses on Leshoure. He missed yesterday's practice with an ankle injury and is listed as questionable.

by Guido Merkens :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 12:50pm

If only there were something he could take to make his ankle feel better.

by Jeremy Billones :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 9:33am

Until this flowchart, I thought the Raven's mascots were still three guys in suits named Edgar, Allen and Poe. It looks like Edgar and Allen were laid off when they hired Rise and Conquer.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 9:52am

Back in the day - I think it was the 70's - the Packers had a mascot with the ridiculous name of Packy Packer. He was a white bearded guy and rather generic looking, or at least the oversized head he wore was a white bearded guy. He roamed the sidelines and pretty much did nothing, not unlike the actual Packers team during that period. I believe many similar mascots with fake heads and oversized bodies represented other teams. I don't know if any of these mascots are still around.

by Jerry :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 7:25pm

I'm not sure this is what you're thinking of, but didn't the NFL come out with a series of plush toys in the '80s called Huddles that featured a character for every team? I remember large versions of those toys acting as mascots. Some may even still survive.

by the K :: Sat, 12/01/2012 - 10:39am

I think the Patriots had one of those too. I remember the "Huddles" well myself. Some of them were very cute and clever, some were...well, some were designated to teams that were better off not having mascots at all.

by Silm (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 10:25am

this flowchart was hilarious nice work

by DavidL :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 12:34pm

I can honestly say I never thought I'd see the word "moeblob" in professional football commentary.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 2:07pm

The Falcons did try to have a live mascot, on the opening day of the Georgia Dome they hired a falcon to fly twice around the stadium and return to its handler. Instead it flew straight out of the stadium and was never seen again.

by Mike Kurtz :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 3:55pm

Oh hey look it's the Seahawks!

(and yes, the typo is intentional.)

by allybhoy :: Fri, 11/30/2012 - 6:02am

Wow....a mascot flow chart....now printing A0 poster as I type this.

by MileHigh Meltdown (not verified) :: Fri, 11/30/2012 - 4:54pm

I can't believe no one mentioned the Brony reference. I spent five minutes yesterday explaining Pegacorns to a confused Mom. She responds "You know a lot about My Little Pony". My reply "No Comment".

by Insancipitory :: Fri, 11/30/2012 - 8:36pm

The Broncos and Bronies go together.

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 12/02/2012 - 10:24am

Ok, fantasy question: pick one from Ridley, LeShoure and Bryce Brown.

And come to that, one from Cecil Shorts, Brian Hartline, Ryan Broyles and Dwayne Bowe.

I'm leaning towards LeShoure and Shorts, but both are playing on injuries. Will the Eagles be in the game long enough to run the ball?