Who Would Win the Super Bowl if Every Playoff Team’s Mascot Were Put in a Battle Royale?
It’s time for the NFL playoffs, which means it’s time for us to validate the countless hours we’ve spent watching football the past 17 weeks by predicting who we believe will hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February. There’s a lot to consider when predicting a champion: who’s hot, who’s stumbling, coaching matchups, scheme matchups, personnel matchups, overall roster talent, home-field advantage, history, legacy, karma, Nick Fole’s inability to lose a must-win game.
Fuck all that.
To determine who will win the Super Bowl, I’m drawing inspiration from the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale.
Some set up: following a major recession, the Japanese government passes the Millennium Educational Reform Act, also known as the BR ACT, in an attempt to control the rebelling youth of the country. The act goes into effect once a year when the government selects the worst behaved freshman class in the country to participate in a fight to the death.
The movie follows class 3-B, which consists of some not-so-great kids (one of the students stabbed their teacher). Class 3-B is going on what they think is a field trip but are gassed during their bus ride and taken to an uninhabited island. When they wake up, the students all have metal collars around their necks and are in a classroom full of armed soldiers. They’re told that they’ve been selected to participate in the BR ACT (Battle Royale ACT) and are explained the rules:
- They are to kill each other off one-by-one until only one student remains.
- The collars around their necks track their pulse and location. They’re water and shockproof.
- The island they’re on is roughly 10 km in diameter and is divided into grids. Four times per day, different grids turn into “danger zones.” If a student goes into a danger zone, the collar on their neck detonates and kills them instantly.
- To start, they each will be given a bag with food, water, a compass, a flashlight, a map of the island, and a random “weapon.”
- They have three days to narrow themselves down to one, otherwise they’ll all be killed.
They’re each thrown their bag of supplies and sent out onto the island one at a time.
Now back to the original question: who would win the Super Bowl if we pitted every playoff team’s mascot against each other in a similar battle royale? We’re talking about the person or animal that each team’s name represents, not costume mascots like K.C. Wolf. First, we need to set some guidelines:
- We’ll use the same island as the movie for our battleground. It’s 10 km in diameter and surrounded by water on all sides. The terrain is primarily forest with some open fields and a few abandoned structures scattered throughout.
- We’re going to lose the collars and danger zones. The mascots are free to roam the island as they please.
- Each mascot will be assigned a weapon commonly associated with the person they represent.
- Mascots that aren’t typically associated with any specific items, such as animals, will be randomly assigned a weapon featured in the movie.
- It’s assumed the mascots are capable of using whatever weapon they’re assigned, regardless of how unrealistic that may be.
- All the mascots are trying their hardest to kill one another. There are several animals involved that wouldn’t typically bother engaging each other in the wild. For the sake of this argument, everyone’s actively going after everyone.
- In reality, the playoffs are a tournament featuring head-to-head matchups with the winner advancing to the next round. This fight is a free for all.
Those are the guidelines. Now let’s give out some weapons.
Mascots Already Associated with a Weapon
Kansas City Chiefs: War Hatchet
A bow and arrow would have been a reasonable option here, but research shows that it was much more common for Native Americans to fight with striking weapons. I couldn’t find any weaponry specific to chiefs in particular so I went with what Wikipedia shows one holding: a war hatchet.
New England Patriots: Long Rifle
One of the Patriot’s early logos depicted a Revolutionary War minuteman named “Pat Patriot” hiking a football, so we’re going to assume the patriot in this fight is a minuteman, not some guy with an American flag tattooed on his chest. While it was tempting to assign them a tomahawk because of Mel Gibson, I went with the long rifle since it was more traditionally used by soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
Houston Texans: A Really Big Hat
Back in March of 2000 the NFL announced that the name for their soon-to-be Houston franchise had been narrowed down to five choices: The Appollos, Bobcats, Stallions, Texans, and Wildcatters. All four unchosen options would have better served them in this discussion than literally a person from the state of Texas, but apparently they had no interest in winning this fictional battle royale when choosing a name for their franchise. As for giving them a really big hat, take it up with Google images if it seems stereotypical or ignorant.
Los Angeles Chargers: Lance
While the Charger’s logo implies that they’re some sort of an electrical charger, 1960 general manager Frank Leahy said the name was actually inspired by the Los Angeles Dodgers. “I liked it because they were yelling ‘charge’ and sounding the bugle at Dodgers Stadium.” My middle school mascot was a Charger and our logo was an armored knight riding a horse with a lance, so that’s what we’ll use. A Dodge Charger was another possibility.
New Orleans Saints: Bible
Not all of the “weapons” given out in Battle Royale are actually weapons, so it’s only fair to stay consistent with this in our hypothetical fight. Not only do saints not have any actual weapons associated with them, but they’re in fact very anti-violence. That’s going to be a problem when they’re bent over in prayer as the other mascots try to rip their beating heart out of their chest. They get a bible.
Dallas Cowboys: Single-Action Revolver
This one’s pretty obvious. When you think of cowboys, you think of revolvers (and disappointing playoff performances)(sorry). Revolvers used by cowboys in westerns are typically single-action, so that’s what’s assigned to our cowboy.
Mascots Not Already Associated with a Weapon
That leaves six mascots that still need weapons: The Bears, Colts, Eagles, Rams, Ravens and Seahawks. First, we need to narrow down the weapons from the movie to six. These are the weapons I was able to identify throughout the film: a pot lid, binoculars, crossbow, axe, hand grenades, mobile GPS, electric taser, pump shotgun, uzi, hand-gun, katana, sickle, and bullet proof vest.
Using a random name selector, these are the six weapons from that list that are available to our remaining mascots:
2. Pot Lid
3. Pump Shotgun
4. Bullet Proof Vest
Using the same random name selector, here’s how the weapons were distributed:
Bears — Katana
Colts — Sickle
Eagles — Pot Lid
Rams — Bullet Proof Vest
Ravens — Shotgun
Seahawks — Crossbow
We’re almost ready, but first:
A Quick Note on the Mascots Not Associated with a Weapon
You may have noticed that all of these mascots are some sort of animal, the species of which is left ambiguous. Before we breakdown the fight, we need to identify the species or breed of each mascot so we can be as accurate as possible when projecting our winner.
There are a lot of different types of bears: black, brown, polar, panda, koala. I have to assume when the Bears named themselves they intended to be represented by the fiercest bear known to man. The Chicago Bears will be represented by a grizzly bear.
The colts are a horse, but not just any horse. The term “colt” is only applied to horses who are less than one year old. Since the term can be applied to any breed, we’ll use the most common breed in the United States. The Indianapolis Colts will be represented by a 6 month old quarter horse.
While you might assume Philadelphia’s mascot is a bald eagle, their logo depicts an eagle with an all-white head and a gray beak. No eagle I could find fits this description, so I’m going with the most common species in the Northern Hemisphere. The Philadelphia Eagles will be represented by a golden eagle.
A “ram” is simply a male sheep. To decide the exact breed, I’m going with the one that looks most like the Ram’s logo. The Los Angeles Rams will be represented by a bighorn sheep.
I didn’t know this but there are actually different types of ravens. For the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to go with the most common type. The Baltimore Ravens will be represented by a common raven.
I’ve always heard that the seahawk isn’t a real animal and as it turns out, it technically isn’t. But it is the nick name of another species. The Seattle Seahawks will be represented by an osprey.
Alright. We’ve established the rules, assigned weapons, and identified breeds for the appropriate teams. Let’s fight.
12th Place — New Orleans Saints
Strength: Relationship with God
Weakness: A moral refusal to fight
I don’t see things going well for the saint at all. The best they could do is hide out and pray until the dust settles and there’s only one other fighter left, but their refusal to fight automatically eliminates them from winning. Maybe if they find an abandoned church to hide in God will protect them, but I doubt it. They find out pretty early on if the afterlife is everything they hoped for.
11th Place — Houston Texans
Weapon: A Really Big Hat
Strength: Being a human being
Weakness: The food chain means nothing here
I’ve met a handful of people from Texas in my life and they’ve all been very nice and pleasant and I don’t have a single bad thing to say about them. But they’re just people. On an island where there’s a grizzly bear with a katana running around like a heat seeking missile, you’re going to need more than the ability to generate consciousness to last. Plus, the really big hat is going to make them easy to spot, leaving them susceptible to being found and eliminated early on. The bear dices them up early.
10th Place — Indianapolis Colts
Horses have large eyes positioned on either side of their head, giving them a range of vision that’s nearly 350 degrees. This allows them to easily spot approaching predators, which is good in a free for all fight to the death. Quarter horses in particular also excel at short-distance sprinting, achieving speeds as high as 55 mph. This is also a good attribute to have in a free for all fight to the death.
Unfortunately for the colt, however, there’s a cowboy on the island that specializes in wrangling horses and cattle. The cowboy also has a single-action revolver, giving it a range advantage over the colt’s sickle. This is the worst possible matchup for the colt. It’s eliminated by the cowboy.
9th Place — Seattle Seahawks
Weakness: Being the least dangerous bird in the sky
Osprey are one of the only species of bird that can be found worldwide. Because of this, they have features that allow them to adapt to any climate. Unfortunately for it, there are two other birds (an eagle with a pot lid and a raven with a shotgun) in their airspace actively trying to kill it.
While crossbows allow for long-range attacks, they’re slow to reload. That’s a problem when you’re in the sky with a golden eagle, which can fly up to 120 mph. The osprey gets one shot with the crossbow before it finds itself in a fist fight with the eagle. From there it’s pretty grim. Golden eagles are 14 pounds, have a wingspan of eight feet, and have talons measuring over two inches long. Osprey weigh-in at four pounds with a wingspan of just six feet. This fight is the equivalent of Mike Tyson in his prime (220 pounds, 0% body fat) fighting me (193 pounds, 13% body fat). The osprey loses. Badly.
8th Place — Philadelphia Eagles
Weapon: Pot Lid
Weakness: The pot lid
This leaves two birds flying over the island and unfortunately for the golden eagle, its size isn’t much of an advantage against the raven. Under normal circumstances, the eagle would rip the raven limb from limb. But when you factor in the pot lid and shotgun, the advantage shifts.
Because of the pot lid, the eagle is forced to fight close range and rely on its natural physical attributes. This worked well against the the osprey because it had the slow-to-reload and precision dependent crossbow, but proves troublesome against the raven with a shotgun. Shotguns are designed for close range fights and require little to zero precision. The moment the eagle gets near the raven, it disappears into a cloud of feathers.
7th place — Dallas Cowboys
Weapon: Single-action revolver
Weakness: Cowboy boots
The cowboy has an advantage over the colt because that’s what he’s trained to wrangle, but I don’t see him getting many more W’s after that. When stacked up next to the other mascots remaining on the island, the cowboy simply doesn’t stand a chance. His single-action revolver, while accurate, limits his range. Plus his boots are less than ideal for navigating the island’s terrain, limiting his mobility. The cowboy meets his doom when he stops on a grassy knoll overlooking the ocean to give his feet a breather. He’s at peace as the ram bludgeons him to death with its horns.
6th place — Los Angeles Rams
Weapon: Bullet proof vest
The opposite of the IRL Rams, the ram in our battle royale is built to absorb damage but is limited in how much it can dish. Its horns help protect its head and the bullet proof vest protects its torso, leaving only its limbs exposed. But the horns are also its only method of causing harm to the other fighters. This means the ram can’t inflict any damage to the raven flying overhead, and all the other remaining mascots possess attributes far superior to the ram’s. It falls to the chief, who tracks it down and hacks off its limbs with his war hatchet.
5th place — Baltimore Ravens
Strength: Ability to fly
The raven uses the shotgun to take out the eagle and osprey, giving it sole access to the airspace above the island. But after that the shotgun becomes a hinderance. Not only does the shotgun limit the raven’s range of attack, it slows the raven down. Normally ravens can fly up to 25 mph, but carrying a shotgun is going to limit its speed. Paired with the fact that it has to fly in close to hit its target, I don’t see the raven making an attack and having the speed to avoid the counter. It falls to the bear, who hacks it out of the air with his katana.
4th place — Los Angeles Chargers
The charger rides a horse, meaning they can conserve energy while moving around quickly. But the horse is also a limitation. The charger is constrained to open fields and trails, making them an easy target. And while lances work well in a jousting situation, it makes it so the charger will either have to sneak up on someone (again, on a horse) or hope the fighter they encounter also has a short range weapon in order to do any damage. Unfortunately, the patriot has a long rifle. Yes, the charger has a suit of armor, but even a basic musket is powerful enough to pierce over an inch of steel. The charger charges toward the patriot in an open field but gets shot down before it gets anywhere close.
3rd place — New England Patriots
Weapon: Long Rifle
The patriot is well-equipped for a battle royale. Their long rifle allows them to attack adversaries from a safe distance and is lightweight enough they can move around unhindered. Being human also means they can out strategize and plot half the field. They’re definitely a favorite to make it far.
But all that goes out the window when the patriot comes face-to-face with the chief. I’m going to assume that the mass enslavement and murder of the chief’s ancestors plays a factor in their fight and that it doesn’t favor the patriot. In my head, this plays out like the tomahawk scene from The Patriot, only the chief is Mel Gibson and the patriot is one of the random minutemen being hacked to death.
2nd place — Kansas City Chiefs
Weapon: War hatchet
Strength: Home field advantage
Weakness: Grizzly bears with katanas
The chief has an advantage because he has a lifetime of experience navigating nature and surviving in the wild. His vast knowledge of hunting various animals and instinctive survival skills make him built to last in a battle royale. To become chief of a tribe, one has to prove oneself either in war or on a hunt, so it’s safe to say the chief has seen some shit.
The chiefs probably would have been my winner if it weren’t for a MOTHERFUCKING GRIZZLY BEAR WITH A KATANA ROAMING THE ISLAND. I can’t in all good consciousness pick the chief to best the bear in a one-on-one fight to the death. I’ve seen The Revenant.
1st place — Chicago Bears
Strength: Pretty much everything
Weakness: Pretty much nothing
Imagine for a second that grizzly bears didn’t exist. You and your friends go see a movie about a group of campers who get lost in the woods. They proceed to get hunted down one-by-one by a six foot tall, 600 pound monster with four inch blades on its hands and razor sharp teeth and can run up to 40 mph. You would leave that movie saying to your friends “Man, can you imagine if those things were real? Humans would be fucked!”
Those things are real. Those things are grizzly bears.
Throw in a two foot long katana for good measure and the grizzly bear won’t just dominate our fictional island, but the whole goddamn fictional world the island belongs to. I might have picked the grizzly bear even if it didn’t have a weapon. Giving it a katana makes it a no brainer.
The Chicago Bears are winning the Super Bowl.