Like many other professionals, the NFL mascots gathered in Indianapolis this week to strategize, plan, and share ideas. Unlike many other professionals, they came equipped with costumes and props.
For the second consecutive year, the Colts hosted the NFL Mascot Summit. It’s a job that takes an enormous amount of time, effort, and passion to pull off. Just ask Trey Mock, the man behind Colts mascot, Blue, and the event organizer.
“We all vie for the spotlight and we all have some form, probably, of ADD,” he said. “And trying to coordinate 17 NFL mascots is like herding kittens, except they just happen to be in pretend kitten suits in some instances.”
For Mock, it’s also an opportunity to showcase his peers.
“I’ll always try to be the best mascot I can be. But, I’m not going to be the best dancer. Have you seen Sourdough Sam dance? Dude is ridiculous. And there are so many great minds in there. Everybody has their niche thing that they’re great at. And to be able to display that, it’s really cool to share that with my friends and fans.”
And by sharing what they do well, they can grow together as a group.
“We have hands-down the best mascot group of any professional league, bar none. The NFL mascots are the best mascots. We have the ability, especially with a shorter season, to make more of an impact in the community,” said Mock. “It’s more about being competitive within yourself and with your own program and just trying to get better.”
And that’s what they did – bringing in speakers and team representatives and recognizing the best work from last season.
Stunt of the Year – Jaxson de Ville
Skit of the Year – Blue
Video of the Year – Freddie Falcon
Anchor in the Community – KC Wolf
Social Media Post of the Year – Staley Da Bear
Mascot of the Year – Freddie Falcon
Jeremy Legg, the man behind Atlanta’s Freddie Falcon, shared duties with Mock playing Aubie the Tiger at Auburn University. He was honored to be voted Mascot of the Year for 2016 by his peers.
“Ever since I saw Aubie and even the days back in Aubie with Trey, this is always what I’ve wanted to do,” he said. “This is my life. This is all I do. I get in costume and make people laugh. I make the most of it and I challenge you guys to make the most of what you have.”
Dan Meers is going into his 28th season as Kansas City’s KC Wolf. The inaugural winner of the Dan Meers Lifetime Achievement Award last year, Meers was humbled to be the inaugural winner of the Anchor in the Community, an award his peers said they also could have named after him.
“John Maxwell said this, ‘Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. Leadership is about one life influencing another,’” said Meers. “And that’s what this job is all about, making an impact, living a life of influence, and you guys are all doing that. So, this is one of those awards we could split in 17 different ways.”
Because game day is a small part of what mascots do. It’s what they do every day that makes the biggest impact.
“I think that people’s kneejerk reaction is, ‘Mascots are only to make people laugh,’” Mock said. “But you could ask each of these guys and they will all tell you different stories that just happened this past year – forget a decade of their career – just this past year, they can each sit you down and tell you a story that will bring a tear to your eye.”
The week wrapped up with the 2nd annual NFL Mascots vs. Peewees football game at Carmel High School on Thursday night, the proceeds of which went to support Make-A-Wish of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.
The game ended in a tie. But that’s not what people will remember. What they’ll remember are the moments.
“If you slow down and pause and just hug someone or just take a moment with them, that can have such a real and big impact,” said Mock.
They may play characters for a living. And they may be characters in real life. But it’s using their influence to build character in future generations that is the real job of an NFL mascot.
And it’s a job they take very seriously.
“What people don’t understand is, they see Blue and all the great community stuff that we do and the impact that we make and these guys all do that for their own community,” Mock said.
Bringing laughter, love, and life lessons to fans across the country – no matter what team they cheer for on Sunday.
It’s all in a day’s work for an NFL mascot.