In theory, sports mascots are designed to evoke certain elements of ferocity and determination, to energize the fans, to intimidate opponents, to inspire the players. Some work better than others, coasting on tradition rather than reality. Which NFL mascots, in the real world, are the scariest? Which mascot would you not want to bump into at the end of a dark alley?
Our picks, in order from the scariest to the silliest...
1. Titans - We're going with the definition that suggests a "titan" is a omnipotent god. Doesn't get much more formidable than that.
Next come the big animals.
4. Bengals - Funny that our top three match the things Dorothy was most afraid of in The Wizard of Oz.
6. Jaguars - Jaguars seem fast, but the word "panther" suggests a certain cunning and stealthiness. Edge to Carolina.
Now the scary, presumably angry, and often armed humans.
8. Raiders - The name suggests their main objective.
12. Redskins - Chiefs are the bosses and presumably smarter. Advantage Kansas City.
13. Cowboys - Not aggressive per se, but usually have a gun and don't back down from a fight. If only Dallas had the same mentality.
Now the smaller animals who might only pose a threat if spooked and charge at you.
16. Broncos - Evoke a snorting wild animal, not a cute and cuddly baby horse. Edge to Denver.
18. Browns - This one's a stretch, but in theory a bulldog could maul you.
And the predatory birds. Surprising how many birds there are.
19. Seahawks - The word "hawk" just sounds aggressive. It's the consonant K.
Now the more benign humans.
22. Giants - Being tall doesn't make you scary.
23. Saints - Even holy men can be pushed to the limit. We've seen the movies. And if they're in New Orleans, they're probably drunk and spoiling for a fight.
26. Texans - We needed more information on this one. What kind of Texan? From what time period? An Alamo-era Texan or some blue-blood oil millionaire from Houston?
27. Packers - We know how to pack, too. Big whoop.
And the bottom five.
28. Ravens - Isn't a raven essentially a fancy name for a crow?
29. Cardinals - Are they serious with this one? Why not call a team the Sparrows?
30. Dolphins - Obviously.
31. Jets - We're assuming this is a commercial plane and not a fighter. As long as it doesn't crash on top of you, no one's frightened, New York.
32. Chargers - We weren't sure how to address this one. Is it just pure energy? One could argue that this should be number one since electrocution would seem to be a real possibility. But we need more information.