Every time eyes are laid upon Raider Rusher, the NFL team’s dubious mascot, somebody takes the name of The Famous Chicken or the Phillie Phanatic in vain.
The Chicken and the Phanatic are among the most famous of sports mascots.
The Rusher, judging from the social media vitriol when he was introduced with little fanfare, has a bit of work to do.
Raider Rusher was supposed to make the franchise, noted for its rough edges, more friendly to youngsters.
Adults who follow the team weren’t exactly impressed.
”Raider Rusher mascot (is) the most ridiculous thing since JaMarcus Russell,” wrote one of the similarly underwhelming first-round draft choice who compiled a 7-18 record as a Raiders’ starting quarterback and turned the ball over 38 times.
Anyway, here are 5 additional things to know about the Raiders’ much maligned mascot:
1. Discounting the Autumn Wind and the zanies dressed in battle armor in the Black Hole, the Raiders resisted having a mascot for the longest time. Then the NFL produced an animated kids’ show in concert with Nickelodeon called “Rush Zone.” Each team was assigned an animated mascot, and the Raiders decided to transform theirs into a living thing in 2013.
The Raiders new mascot, the Raider Rusher, is a character on Nickelodeon's NFL RUSH ZONE. pic.twitter.com/p2Q9nfNRdp
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 22, 2013
2. A 2016 Sports Illustrated poll listed Raider Rusher as the NFL’s 28th-best mascot, narrowly edging the Giants, Jets, Packers and Redskins, none of whom have a mascot.
3. This is how the magazine described Raider Rusher: “He’s a big head, with no torso. With that said, we’re all so relieved that he’s the Raiders’ mascot. It’s like when the weird kid in class reaches into a backpack and asks if you want to see something really cool. He happens to pull out just a toy, instead of a nameless stranger’s thumb.”
Raider Rusher, official mascot of Oakland Raiders cheer during the NFL Fan Fest CDMX 2016 at Bosque de Chapultepec on November 19, 2016 in Mexico City pic.twitter.com/oOzJintr6g
— Kevyn W. (@BergischerJong) February 19, 2020
4. After a Raider Rusher birthday celebration at the Oakland Zoo, 88 photos were posted on the Raiders’ website. The guest of honor didn’t appear until photo No. 53. This might have been an attempt not to frighten any more children than was absolutely necessary.
5. Apparently there are two Raider Rushers. A version with a torso, smaller head and less maniacal facial expression last season made the rounds during the mascot’s sixth birthday party at Roosevelt Elementary School in San Leandro, California. The school children in these photographs appear slightly less frightened than the years before.