There’s always a new debate about who the best of the best is. We weigh in on who has the best defense, the best QB, who the best players-turned-actors are and even the best bald-headed players of all time.
But any idea who the best NFL mascot is?
According to the Cartoon Network it’s the Titans’ T-Rac, who was nominated for the “Most Awesome Mascot” category for their “Hall of Game Awards” airing Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. ET.
But what makes him so awesome? And more importantly, awesome enough to beat out some tough competition in MLB’s Phillie Phanatic, or the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks Bango and Phoenix Suns Gorilla?
Turns out, the raccoon (which, by the way, is the state animal of Tennessee just in case you were wondering why their mascot isn’t — oh, I don’t know — a Titan?) for lack of a better term, brings it.
For one, the critter definitely makes an entrance. That’s illustrated by his shagged-out four wheeler, Titans-themed chariot and his zip line drop (below), which according to Pete Nelson, the man under all that fur as the Titans’ mascot coordinator, was “terrifying.”
“We secured it from one light all the way across the length of the field to another one,” said Nelson, who has been playing T-Rac since the beginning when the Oilers moved to Tennessee in 1997. “It was terrifying but the fans loved it and that’s what T-Rac is. He’s a clown, yes, but also a bit of a stuntman. My one rule is don’t be just another guy in a suit. Be extreme.”
And while on the cheerleader subject, there is also this video of him from Week 1, swallowing one of the powder blue and white pom-pom shakers whole — which actually was pretty awesome.
But with T-Rac getting all this attention, it prompted us to go through some other mascots past and present:
Best Max Headroom look-a-like (New Coke anyone?): Chargers’ Boltman
Best total commitment to the part (although he could easily parlay this look into a Capital One commercial): Viking’s Ragnar
Most unpolitically correct mascot: Washington’s Redskin
The ‘Skins might have gotten some flack for that one. They’re currently only one out of five teams to not have an official mascot, with the others being the Jets, Giants and also the Packers and Raiders. That’s actually a push for the latter two teams since their fans are usually decked enough to qualify as mascot worthy anyway.
But back to the show. Besides T-Rac, some other NFL nominees for the “Hall of Game” awards are:
Terrell Owens for “Dance Machine” — Who has the moves to back up their skills?
Competition: South African Soccer Team, Jimmie Johnson, Venus Williams.
Drew Brees for “He’s Got Game” — They all bring it, but who’s the best of the best?
Competition: Kobe Bryant, Albert Pujols and LeBron James.
Troy Polamalu for “That’s How I Roll” — Who is the definition of style, on and off the field?
Competition: David Beckham, LeBron James and Brian Wilson.
Chad Johnson for “All Pro Class Clown” — Who is the funniest prankster?
Competition: Dwight Howard, Shaq, A.J. Burnett.
Ray Lewis for “In it to win it” — Who is the most focused and intimidating player?
Competition: Cliff Lee, Amare Stoudemire, Carl Edwards.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for “Best Foes Forever (BFF) — What’s the best rivalry in sports?
Competition: Lakers vs. Celtics, Red Sox vs. Yankees, Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer.
Voting for all categories continues through Feb. 20.