Are You Ready For Some Mascots?

MY N.F.L. PICKS FOR THE 2013-2014 SEASON (IN ASCENDING ORDER OF FINISH)

32. Cleveland Browns. Frankly, this is just confusing. Is it the color brown? If so, it’s too conceptual to win. Is it a person named Brown? If so, it all depends on if he’s closer to Jim than to Charlie. Is it some kind of filthy industrial version of the blues? Frankly, until this is sorted out, I can’t even begin to properly rank these guys.

31. Buffalo Bills. “Bills” seems to be a pun of some sort, and puns don’t fly in the heat of battle unless you’re Spider-Man. And let me tell you something: Spider-Man doesn’t lose 4 Super Bowls in a row.

30. Arizona Cardinals. ‘Cardinals’, for Christ’s sake? Why not ‘Robins’? How about ‘Finches’? What, was ‘Nuthatches’ taken?

29. Miami Dolphins. Dolphins are very intelligent sea creatures, and if the contest were taking place in the ocean rather than in a large stadium with grass or AstroTurf surfaces, I would like their chances more. As it stands, I predict rapid asphyxiation.

28. St. Louis Rams. Okay, fine, they’re big, they’re strong, they’re tough. You know what else they are? Easily slaughtered.  It’s in the Bible, people.

27. Seattle Seahawks. I don’t even know what a seahawk is. They could have just made it up, for all I know. Assuming it’s something like a regular hawk, I guess it might be pretty tough, but I’m ranking it low because it might be an invention, like ‘landshark’.

26. Baltimore Ravens. I like ravens, myself; so much classier than, say, crows. But when you get right down to it, they’re really just birds, and not even birds of prey. As Baltimore native E. “Al” Poe illustrated, ravens are really more irritating than they are dangerous.

25. Indianapolis Colts. A colt is a baby horse. They’re cute and all, but they really don’t have the skull-splitting, head-kicking power of, say, a bronco. I think pretty much anything that’s not a bird could kill a colt without too much difficulty.

24. Atlanta Falcons. We’re moving up a bit in the bird hierarchy to a razor-taloned, vicious little fuck who likes to kill things, and at the very least, is a hunter of sorts. Alas, they’re easily fooled by a tiny cloth hood, and they’re more used to hunting rats and squirrels than lions.

23. San Diego Chargers. Ranked here only if you interpret “charger” as “fast horse”. Rate these guys three spots higher if you interpret “charger” as “person or device capable of channeling electricity into something”, and three spots lower if you interpret “charger” as “person with a credit card”.

22. Philadelphia Eagles. Okay, so, eagles are majestic, and noble, and awe-inspiring, and they have talons and sharp beaks, and if they really had to, they could probably take out a small horse. But they’re still just birds, man.  Also?  Endangered.

21. Denver Broncos. Quite an improvement on the Colts, but still, horses have a long history of being broken by actual humans, especially if those humans are equipped with tiny whips or sugar cubes.

20. San Francisco ’49ers. Upside: possibly armed. Downside: long-handle underwear, crazy frontier gibberish, old-man beard, often played by ineffectual, non-threatening Gabby Hayes types.

19. New England Patriots. Although patriotism has gotten a boost lately in the social arena, and is now enforced by law by way of the USA-PATRIOT Acts, this could still easily be interpreted as some mulletted yahoo on a street corner waving a homemade cardboard sign that says “U.S.A. NUBMER #1“.

18. Green Bay Packers. I’m guessing “meat” or “furniture” or “crate” rather than “suitcase” or “fudge”. Okay, so, burly Wisconsin teamsters. All well and good, but a bit bland. No match for a glamorous steelworker, I’m afraid.

17. Houston Texans. Sure, Texans have a reputation as tough ol’ hombres, but this would inspire a lot more confidence with a specific reference, like the Texas Rangers, than with the generic “Texans”, which could mean a bad-ass motherfucker like George Foreman, or a creampuff like Renée Zellweger. I need more details before I can rank them higher.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ranked unusually low because ‘buccaneer’ — more than ‘raider’, ‘corsair’, ‘privateer’, ‘plunderer’, ‘dacoit’, ‘brigand’, or even ‘rapparee’ — is the wimpiest possible way to say ‘pirate’.

15. Oakland Raiders. Again, this is a little vague to base a prediction on. What is a raider, exactly? Going just by the logo, it’s some schmuck in a leather helmet. Sure, he’s got a knife, but he’s also got an eyepatch, and you know what that means? No depth perception. Doesn’t bode well for his chances.

14. Washington Redskins. Points added for the fearsome Indian warrior imagery. Many, many more points deducted for the racist name.

13. Jacksonville Jaguars. The jaguar is an awesome animal — a big, lightning-quick cat with fierce fangs and deadly claws. Not quite enough to take out a Bengal tiger, but pretty fearsome provided you don’t pronounce it “jag-you-were” like a sissy Englishman.

12. Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, steelworkers seem pretty tough. They’re probably less likely to be armed than Texans or patriots, but they’re used to hard work, they’re big and muscular, and they might have access to molten lead.

11. Carolina Panthers. I would rate the panther above the lion and just below the tiger if it weren’t for the fact that panthers are apparently prey to certain unfortunate genetic tendencies. I can’t in good conscience rate these guys over the Bengals when there’s a chance they’re the Dalmatian of the big cat world and they’ll have a stroke in the heat of battle.

10. Detroit Lions. Depending on the type and temperament of the lion, this team could do some real damage.

9. Kansas City Chiefs. I’d love to rank the noble Native American higher up, but I can’t, for two reasons: the chief was often a political timeserver, and not the most able warrior of the tribe; and also, because as I learned from the picture shows, the Cowboys always beat the Indians.

8. Cincinnati Bengals. I’m assuming from the helmets that what we’re talking about is the tiger, not the citizen of the Bengal region of India. If, in fact, the reference is to a mild-mannered guy named Nilawar who works in a birdseed factory, drop the ranking down eight slots.  But we all know how dangerous a tiger is, especially when it’s really hungry. Like, say, if it’s never eaten a full meal in 45 seasons.

7. Minnesota Vikings. Vikings, as we all know, were really good at raping, pillaging, looting, killing, and destroying. I think they’re going to be severely limited here because of the invention of gunpowder, but they could still make some real noise, particularly if they’re playing near a large body of water.

6. Dallas Cowboys. I’m putting these dudes near the top of the ‘humanoid mascot’ pole if for no other reason than that you know for a fact that cowboys are always strapped.

5. Chicago Bears. Now, say what you will, but a bear is nothing to fuck with. They’re huge. They’re bad-tempered. They have powerful claws, massive jaws, gigantic rending teeth, and enormous, muscular bodies. They can climb trees. They can move very quickly. And even if you shoot them, they ain’t necessarily going down. They can take out some punk cowboy.

4. New York Giants. This is very much dependent on how giant, exactly, these giants are. If they are merely Andre the Giant sized, just give them a couple of kegs of beer and let nature take its course.  If they are, say, the-giant-in-Jack-and-the-Beanstalk giant, that’s much better, but they’re still not going to stand much of a chance against a screaming, missile-spewing fighter jet. But if they’re, say, Godzilla giant, it might be a different story. I’m erring on the side of caution and saying that they’re about frost giant size (14d8+70 HP, AC 21, 40′ ground movement), which can’t stop a jet, but can easily take out a tiger or Wyatt Earp.

3. New York Jets. Now, this is a formidable team. Whether you interpret ‘jets’ as full-bore F-16 Fighting Falcons piloted by top guns and bristling with the most current in smart bombs and laser-guided missiles, or just as a couple of passenger jets guided by the hands of a Saudi religious maniac, they have serious destructive power.

2. New Orleans Saints. These guys get the nod over the Giants and the Jets because there’s a good chance they can call in a favor from God.

1. Tennessee Titans. Okay, I’m picking these guys to go all the way based on one assumption: that they are, in fact, the Titans of antiquity — Helios, Tethys, Gaea, Uranus, etc. It took the combined might of all the Greek gods to defeat them. They’d be able to take out a couple of jets easily, no matter how well-armed they were, or even some medieval schmuck God put in charge of wheelwrights. Titans all the way in 2014! Go, Cronus!

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