Philadelphia has a lot of new mascots. This year alone we’ve met Gritty, Phang, Wingston. Franklin is only three years old. Last night at halftime, the Eagles had a pro vs. college mascots football game and it was great. You can watch the whole thing here, or follow down below as I break down some of the all-22.
The entire mascot game was just three possessions, with the pros getting two and the college mascots getting one. That seems a little unfair. But the game is at a pro football stadium and Swoop, the Eagles’ mascot, gets to make the rules. He also drew up the first play for himself.
The first play was, yes, the Philly Special. Pretty much every football team has run the play made famous by the Eagles in Super Bowl 52, so why not have a bunch of mascots do it as well? The play goes Gritty (the center) to Phillie Phanatic to Franklin to Swoop. All six pro mascots—where was Nettie?—then did a rowboat touchdown celebration (at the top of this post). We all know how the world is, so let’s not mince words: Someone in Philadelphia really got off on that last night.
The college mascots had the ball next. The Quaker snapped to the Explorer who handed the ball to Will D. Cat (in a Brian Westbrook Villanova jersey, a nice touch). He raced down the field for a score, going into the end zone à la Marshawn Lynch but without the crotch grab.
Of course two-time national basketball champ Will D. Cat had a prepared celebration. The best part is watching him hold on to his head as he lands; can’t risk ruining the illusion for those in the audience.
The college mascots then did a poorly coordinated Rockettes-style routine for a group celebration. Once again, I state: Someone in Philadelphia really had all their weird secret fetishes successfully satisfied last night.
The pro mascots then won the game on a play where Swoop rolled out of the pocket, evaded the Explorer, made the Quaker miss a tackle and got a great block from Gritty on Hooter for the winning touchdown. (“Gritty on Hooter” is a less dirty phrase than I expected.)
One thing I found interesting in the game was the continued evolution of Swoop as kind of a dick. Once a relatively boring-ass generic mascot, over the last few years Swoop has emerged with a mean streak that’s made him a lot more like the greatest mascot, the Phillie Phanatic. He even attacked the Wawa mascot with a box of hoagies! Tonight he wouldn’t give up the ball. And he backed it up with two touchdowns. Go get ’em, Swoop.
You ever go to a party and you’re having a good time talking to your cool friends, then some loser walks through and makes things all awkward? Yeah that’s Gritty, the Phanatic and Swoop dancing here when Franklin blows through.
Molly Sullivan—once the Sixers’ sideline reporter—tried to get Gritty to talk. He’s no Joel Embiid, that’s for sure.
What impressed me most about this mascot football game is how well blocked out it was. As a fan of pro wrestling and the Harlem Globetrotters, I am very pro–pretend sports. This was a pretend sport worthy of the greats. And the winning mascots even got weird chintzy trophies for some reason!
This is nice and all, but someone should just break it to Gritty before he comes to the realization on his own: That’s the only cup he’s getting to hold anytime soon.