Flyers unveil new mascot from the Nightmare on Broad Street

Flyers new mascot “Gritty” makes an interesting first impression

After an uninspiring PR stunt during the Monday morning hours, the announcement finally came. The Flyers unveiled their new mascot, “Gritty”. Though it had been a well-known fact recently that the Flyers have had a new mascot in the works, his first impression was met with an abundance of criticism. Though some think he should be given a chance, others have expressed much more negative feelings.

What exactly is he?

Truthfully, we have no idea. The Flyers provided very little background information, other than a handful of little facts such as the fact that he loves hot dogs.  Visually, Gritty is a cross between Oscar the Grouch and Groundskeeper Willie. The amount of hair (fur?)  covering the new mascot is enough to provide for half of the locker room’s playoff beards.

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As if the creepy bearded smile wasn’t enough, the poor mascot was given googly-eyes. It is honestly dizzying just looking at him. Which would be fine, if he had some sort of intimidation factor. However, that’s not the case. The mascot is nightmare inducing, yet somehow has nothing about him that says “bully”.

Gritty is not alone as an NHL castaway

Fortunately for Gritty, he has competition as worst NHL mascot. The NHL is full of misunderstood head-cheerleaders. In Detroit, they have an octopus named Al, who isn’t operated by a human but hangs from the rafters. Due to the background of throwing octopi onto the ice during the playoffs, the mascot is at least relevant. But unless a “mascot” can walk the sections and high-five little kids, I want no part of it.

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In Raleigh, North Carolina, the Hurricanes have a mascot by the name of “Stormy”. The choice for the name is obvious, but a pig? The Hurricanes claimed the pig costume is because of the number of pig farms in North Carolina. Unfortunately for Stormy, he looks as much like Dobby as he does a pig. There is nothing charming or likable about him, but at least its supposed to represent something. Gritty doesn’t have anything close.

And who could forget Slapshot, the Flyers previous mascot? Although he was only a member of the organization during 1976, it’s hard to unsee something that looks like that. Just a giant burnt-orange sweatsuit with an oversized head, but at least the aviator goggles made sense due to the team name.  But since that season, the Flyers have gone without a mascot, and everything has been fine.

Is there even a market for another mascot?

One thing about Gritty that he may not be ready for is the expectations bestowed upon him. Philadelphia is home for the best mascot in sports, the Phillie Phanatic. That is a fact, not an opinion.

In the down years for the Phillies growing up, going to the park was still worth a trip just to see his antics. A native of the Galapagos Islands, his foreign behavior has always been something that will steal your attention.

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The Phanatic tortures the opposition, can chirp with the best of them and can throw a t-shirt in a perfect spiral. He’s the hero that the city of Philadelphia has always deserved, and likely won’t be going anywhere for a very long time.

Across the street from Citizen’s Bank Park, the countries most patriot mascot flaps his wings. Swoop has been a representative of the Philadelphia Eagles since 1996 and is one of the premier mascots in the NFL. The 6’9 eagle even had his origin story created by the super-hero factory MARVEL, which adds to his allure.

Finally, as Gritty’s roommate at the Wells Fargo Center, there is Franklin. The 76ers mascot debuted in 2015 and has come more popular year after year. He is a giant, furry dog who can dunk with the best of them, and though I’m not sure why the Sixers have a dog as a mascot, the kids seem to love him.

Now the fans are left to wonder

Is this some crazy PR scheme? Was the Flyers organization just going for pure shock value, with no long-term plan? Or did a room full of people actually decide that this orange loofa could be a representation of the franchise?

I’ll be completely honest here, I don’t have a single good suggestion for a Flyers new mascot. But maybe some things are left better untouched. There is enough going on in a game of hockey that fans don’t necessarily need entertainment in the form of a dancing muppet. And if you were trying providing a mascot to appeal to the younger fans, why would you make it look so awful?

Hopefully, Gritty will become a fan favorite. I hope that he will give sick children a reason to smile at CHOP, help reunite military members with their families during games, and trash talk referees with the best of them. However, this costume is downright terrifying. I wouldn’t bring my three-year-old niece into the same room as Gritty, with fears of causing life-long trauma.

Flyers fans will continue hoping that one day the new mascot decides to reveal that it’s actually Scott Hartnell.

For more information, visit @PSN_Philly
Featured image courtesy of @JohnEllrod via Flickr