Mascot Wars

Brett Whitehead
September 20, 2012

The National Football League is leading me down the path of madness, in that I am doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I am still rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles, even though they are run by arrogant morons. I still draft fantasy football leagues based on the advice of ESPN personality Matthew Berry [see http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/…TMRManifesto]. Finally and most notably, I am still going to Delaware Park to bet on NFL football games.

In previous articles, I articulated my lack of success with NFL betting, but I believe the futility bears repeating [see http://www.brutalhorse.com/…/let-s-all-go-to-the-horse-track]. By way of background, Delaware does not allow single game betting, but instead requires that the bettor pick at least three games correctly against the spread. Since the advent of Delaware sports betting in 2009, I have never cashed in a winning bet. I don’t bet every week, more like once a month, and I rarely bet more than $20. Even still, my lack of victories infuriates me. I don’t care if I ever break even; I just want to win once.

To achieve that singular goal, I need a new plan. I watch a lot of SportsCenter, but I will never be informed like Matthew McConaughey in Two For the Money. I cannot pick games randomly because that is neither a plan for success nor an enjoyable way to beat the system. It is now personal between me and Delaware Park. In order to clear my mind of applicable biases, but still involve judgment in the individual bets, I will forthwith be betting on the following system.

Before I get into the specifics of the system, please indulge the following disclosure. Earlier this year, I head a story third-hand about a person who was pet-sitting at a neighbor’s house and the pet died while the owner was away. When the sitter contacted the owner, the owner suggested that the pet be put in a duffle bag and brought to veterinarian. The sitter put the dead animal in the duffle bag and began walking to the vet. During the trip, a random person on the street mugged the sitter and stole the bag with the dead animal.

This weird story was extra weird for me because another friend told me the same story a few years earlier. At first I thought maybe those two people knew the same person, but then I read the following article on Grantland.com, in which the story was essentially outed as an urban legend [see http://www.grantland.com/…/bake-shop-sports-films-thin-mints-and-google-street-view ; http://answers.yahoo.com/question/…]. No one knows where the story came from or how it originated, but a few folks have decided to appropriate it as their own.

I bring this up because I know the following is not my original idea, but I can’t remember who made it up. I remember being at Delaware Park with Ray and hearing it from a stranger, but just in case I am stealing this off a well-settled source, I apologize ahead of time.
My plan is to judge each game via the strength of the mascot, meaning who would win in a fight between each team’s animal, human, or otherwise symbolic representative. Any other subjective calculation is up for grabs. Some mascot fights are one on one, others are groups against groups. I considered making more rules, but why bother when you’re developing a system with such obvious flaws, ya know? Let’s get to the games.

Giants vs. Panthers

For purposes of this inquiry, I’m going to assume that we’re dealing with unrealistically giant humans, the smallest of which being Andre the Giant-sized. At first blush, it might be hard to fight panthers, as panthers seem like pretty dangerous cats. Research regarding the “dangerousness of panthers” uncovered this point:

[I]n the highly unlikely case you are attacked by a panther, wild animal experts say to fight back with all your might. Take special care to protect your neck and abdomen. Do not play dead. If you’re not attacked but find yourself in what seems to be a dangerous encounter with a panther, try to make yourself look bigger and more threatening by holding out your arms and yelling in a loud and deep voice. [see http://www.floridaadventuring.com/florida-panthers.html]

If any human is capable of taking down a panther, I’m going to vote for a brave, giant human. It’s maybe too much to assume that giant humans are brave, but I think it’s a leap we can make together.
Actual Spread – Giants favored by 1.5
Brutal Horse Pick – Giants

Rams vs. Bears

Two worthy adversaries. Rams cannot be discounted since their most noteworthy quality is beating each other up for the affection girl rams. To assist, I asked Google if “a ram could kill a bear.” Wikianswers replied “No. He’ll just injure it.” I asked “how dangerous are bears” and the Internet gave a foreboding “bears can be peaceful animals; however, this is not possible.” Not possible?!? In regards to field research, Neal Gee and I went to a local bar and discussed this match up with the locals, as we are wont to do when local sports bars offer two dollar beer specials. In a survey that included one waitress, a guy named Junior, and two Saints fans that did not want to talk to me, bears were the overwhelming favorite. Neal tried to convince everyone that a bear would be easier to kill as a human rather than a ram, rationalizing that you could always “punch the bear in the nuts,” but needless to say the locals are CR Mctsloppyseconds were not convinced.
Actual Spread – Bears favored by 8
Brutal Horse Pick – Bears

Bills vs. Browns

Two mascots that took a little bit of research to figure out. The Buffalo Bills have an actual buffalo on the helmet, but are historically named after “Buffalo” Bill Cody, a famous cowboy. The Browns have a dog as their mascot, but are named after their first coach Paul Brown [see http://www.profootballhof.com/history/nicknames.aspx]. Buffalo tramples dog, cowboy shoots down grizzled mid-western football coach.
Actual Spread – Bills favored by 3
Brutal Horse Pick – Bills

Buccaneers vs. Cowboys

I.e. Pirate vs. cowboy. The best source for how humans from different time periods would fight each other is Spike TVs Deadliest Warrior, which compiled experts, or “experts,” who used science, or “science,” to determine how warriors from different time periods would do battle against each other. While pirates vs. cowboys was not featured, the show did have pirates killing knights and cowboys killing gangsters. It’s hard to extrapolate that data since it’s total bullshit, but pirates have a slight edge because they are less trustworthy and comfortable on both land and water.
Actual Spread – Cowboys favored by 7
Brutal Horse Pick – Buccaneers

Jets vs. Dolphins

Dolphins are smart, graceful animals, but it’s hard to see how even the most advanced of dolphins takes down a fighter jet. While the inclination is to give a significant victory for jets, a fleet of jets would have to bomb the ocean for a long time before eliminating a fleet of dolphins. [See, Bombing the Ocean on Youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcmwPYCUysw]. The sheer distance between the two has to temper the spread to at least a medium degree, as maybe the jets would run out of gas.
Actual Spread – Jets by 3
Brutal Horse Pick – Jets

49ers vs. Vikings

Fun fact about American goldseekers in the 1840’s: Blue jeans were discovered by men looking for stronger pants. Funner fact about vikings: America was discovered by huge men with beards and swords.
Actual Spread – 49ers by 7
Brutal Horse Pick – Vikings

Chiefs vs. Saints

Any matchup involving Washington and Kansas City is difficult due to the implications of historical racism. Considering the modern climate of cultural understanding, it is pretty ridiculous that there are two football teams named after antiquated descriptors for racial classes. To that end, I will try to avoid classifying all Native Americans as the savages that the National Football League seems fine to propagate. Research indicates that while missionaries were not always successful in converting Native Americans to Christianity, the relationship between the two rarely became violent and were occasionally very successful. Should both sides be obligated to fight to the death, one could assume that the chiefs would be victorious; however, the saints have God on their side. It may not make things different now, but the Saints will get more credit around Christmas time.
Actual Spread – Saints favored by 9
Brutal Horse Pick – Chiefs

Lions vs. Titans

It is hard to envision any mascot being more powerful than a titan. Mythology tells us that the titans were Gods that preceded the Olympians. Mediocre Hollywood blockbusters tell us that titans are gigantic monsters who can be defeated by Sam Worthington. Unfortunately, Detroit’s football mascot is not the handsome Hollywood actors and, while fierce, the lions are no match for the Kraken.
Actual Spread – Lions by 3
Brutal Horse Pick – Titans

Jaguars vs. Colts

I was recently surprised to find that in an informal survey conducted amongst my friends, I was the only one who would characterize themselves as “curious” about seeing an actual cockfight. Maybe I’m less inclined morally than my social circle, or maybe my inclinations toward professional wrestling have made me more interested in fights between mammals. Either way, I find this game to be this week’s most boring match up. Jaguars are the least interesting of the dangerous cats and the colts are baby horses. I would not pay money to see these two animals fight.
Actual Spread – Jaguars by 2.5
Brutal Horse Pick – Jaguars

Bengals vs. Redskins

If Deadliest Warrior is the foremost authority on historical human battles, the best indicator of dangerous animals vs humans is a show called Fatal Attractions on Animal Planet. This show tells the story of people with dangerous pets who are subsequently eaten by those dangerous pets. Most episodes focus on the two mistakes most people make when having dangerous pets. The first mistake is just having a dangerous pet in your house, e.g. tigers, chimps, and/or gilla monsters. The second mistake is often what leads the animal to eat the owner, like not feeding the animal or not understanding that gilla monsters should not be raised in studio apartments. [ True story, the gilla monster episode took place in Newark Delaware, and I knew the person living beneath the lizard owner. She was a grad student from India, only in these fine ‘States for a few weeks. Welcome to America! We’re all morons! -ed. ] The Redskins are probably the most apt to deal with tiger attacks, but I’ve watched too many episodes of Fatal Attractions that end in brutal tiger attacks not to ride Cincinnati all season.
Actual Spread – Redskins by 3.5
Brutal Horse Pick – Bengals

Eagles vs. Cardinals

First things first, a point about the Eagles. Along time ago, I was involved in a relationship with a girl that was at best pleasant, and at worst time-consuming. I often wished that we would either turn the corner and either fall in love, or have a falling out that would allow both of us to move on. This is my current relationship with Eagles. I will be equally content with a 13-3 season as I would a 3-13 season. Anything in between is wasting my time.

That being said, an Eagle would fucking destroy a Cardinal. The following link (which advises extreme caution before viewing) shows an Eagle attacking seabirds [see http://www.extremeinstability.com/2010-when-eagles-attack.htm]. A cardinal may have more acumen than a seagull, but when I googled “how do Cardinals attack,” all the links were about birds flying into windows.
Actual Spread – Eagles favored by 4
Brutal Horse Pick – Eagles

Falcons vs. Chargers

There are two different mascots for San Diego. The first is a horse, as the team was named after the annoying stadium chant used by infantrymen. The more interesting mascot to use is the lightning bolt on the side of the helmet, which means that San Diego’s representative is lighting and/or electricity. Falcons are dangerous hunters, but few animals come back from getting struck by lightning and falcons are flying around in lightning’s home turf.
Actual Spread – Chargers by 3
Brutal Horse Pick – Chargers

Texans vs. Broncos

This is an olde Wild West match up decided on how you look at the term “Texans.” My best guess is that Texans were named after cowboys, and not trust fund-supported oil barons. You would also think that all Texans should be able to tame wild horses, regardless of whether you’re using Sam Bowie or George W. Bush. As it turns out, while searching for pictures of George W. Bush riding a horse, I found out that he is actually afraid of domesticated horses, let alone giant, out of control horses roaming the prairie. So unless the Texans get more specific with their mascot name, they’re going to have a tough time winning point spreads.
*Actual Spread – Pick ‘em *
Brutal Horse Pick – Broncos

Steelers vs. Raiders

The Steelers and the Packers are both Midwestern laborers. As much as I support the American proletariat, my experience in the American work force doesn’t make me feel confident about the Steeler’s chances against a band of pirates. My fear is that the Steelers will be too busy playing on the Internet and waiting for lunch breaks [ or bitching about scabs -ed. ].
Actual Spread – Steelers favored by 4.5
Brutal Horse Pick – Raiders

Patriots vs. Ravens

The Ravens are named after Edgar Allan Poe, an American Poet based out of Baltimore. Poe’s most noteworthy work, The Raven, tells the story of a man driven to madness by both the loss of a lover and the incessant callings of a raven, “nevermore.” Now, ravens probably aren’t going to beat a lot of these mascots, but since their namesake is a poem about an early American being driven mad by a raven, I’m going to go with history. Plus, muskets are not accurate and it would take a long time for a group of Patriots to pick off a flock of ravens.
Actual Spread – Ravens by 3
Brutal Horse Pick – Ravens

Packers vs. Seahawks

If Jaguars/Colts is the most boring match-up, this is indisputably the most odd. The Packers are named after packing companies that were based in the Midwest, but subsequently went out of business. Since Wisconsin is best known for cheese manufacturing, I’m going to assume that these people work in a cheese packing plant. Drawing from my own experience working in restaurants, it is impossible to work around cheese and not eat it constantly. Therefore, packers are most likely sedentary employees who may or may not have the gout. While seahawks may seem weak, my research indicates that seahawks, or osprey, are raptors whose Latin name translates into “bone-breakers.” Well then!
Actual Spread – Packers by 3.5
Brutal Horse Pick – Seahawks

Now that the picks are set up, the only thing left to do is bet. As previously stated, Delaware allows only parlay betting , so the bets will have to be grouped together. I intend on betting all of the games and the dividing up individual bets to see how the system works. Good luck out there!

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brett.whitehead@brutalhorse.com
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