Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?
The National Football League has an identity crisis. To be precise, they have many weak team mascots. Too many big cats (Lions, Bengals, Panthers, Jaguars) and not enough stuff to actually elicit fear. For example, are you afraid of a dolphin? Me neither. How about a packer? Does the prospect of squaring off with someone who places things in boxes make you tremble with fear? Didn't think so. And don't even get me started on the teams named after colors (Browns and Cardinals). As Ocho would say, "Child, please."
The league has let far too many teams name themselves after birds and other animals. Falcons, Eagles, Cardinals (again), and Seahawks (there is no such bird, by the way). Do we really need so many avian-themed teams? Clearly we do not.
I went to Tampa this past February for the Super Bowl. Tampa's team is the Buccaneers, and so their stadium has a pirate theme and even has a pirate ship right there in the stadium. They fire off the cannons every time the Buccs score (you may not have known that, since Tampa is winless and the guns have stayed silent virtually all season). But as I walked around from concession stand to concession stand, stuffing my pie hole with Pieces of Eight chicken nuggets and Cast Away sundaes, I thought to myself "Genius! They have managed to combine two of my favorite things in the whole world (well, three if you count the concession stands) into one seamless package."
It was at that moment that the Buccaneers replaced the Bills (another mascot of questionable masculinity) as my second favorite NFL team.
Now, if the Buccaneers can make a convert of a guy like me (who grew up in Buffalo and cried each time they lost the Super Bowl), just imagine the potential that sits in front of a large number of other teams, if they would simply dump their current themes. For instance, the Jacksonville Jaguars have had very poor attendance for years and have been rumored to be pulling up stakes and heading for LA. If the Jags become, say, the LA Ninjas, that would be a team I could follow! The Washington Redskins have been under fire for years to change their name and their mascot. How about the Washington Cyborgs? How cool would that be? The Browns (if it's brown flush it down?) could become the Zombies (or Undead, if you want to be more inclusive) and the Seahawks could become the Alien Invasion. The Bills are probably moving to Canada or London when owner Ralph Wilson dies, so why not call them the Limey Bastards? It would raise the intensity level of the game every time they came to the US to play, wouldn't it?
Sadly, my independent market research will be ignored by the NFL. The Jaguars will morph into the LA Fruit Baskets or some else awful, while the Bills will turn into the Storm or the Express. Oh well. At least I'll still have my Batten Down the Hatches chili cheese dog to comfort me.