20 Most Confusing Mascots in Sports History

Kelsey GivensAnalyst IIMay 26, 2011

20 Most Confusing Mascots in Sports History

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 01: The Philadelphia Phillies Phillies’ mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, during opening day at Citizens Bank Park against the Houston Astros on April 1, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Mascots, over time, have become an integral part of the world of sports.

    They entertain crowds between plays, give teams another name for fans to cheer and, in general, give teams an identity.

    Sometimes, however, the mascots teams chose don’t make a whole lot of sense as mascots.

    So here is a list of 20 of the most confusing mascots in sports history.

No. 20 Steelers Steely McBeem

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    photo courtesy http://onlyinpgh.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/DSC025771.jpg
    photo courtesy http://onlyinpgh.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/DSC025771.jpg

    In the history of sports mascots, this one is pretty new. He is a literal representation of what the Steelers were named for: steel workers.

    He's a little confusing since most mascots are warm, fuzzy and cuddly looking, and this guy is not only kind of frightening looking, but also looks like he just stepped out of The Simpsons with his yellow skin.  

No. 19 Miami Heat’s Burnie

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    MIAMI - NOVEMBER 3:  Burnie, the Miami Heat mascot entertains the fans during a game between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena November 3, 2005 in Miami, Florida.  The Pacers won 105-102.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Now, of all the mascots on this list, Burnie may make the most sense. Miami is the Heat, so to have a flame for a mascot is logical. 

    But the look of this mascot makes it a little hard to distinguish what he is. With his basketball nose and orange, furry, Muppet-looking fur, it's a little hard to tell he's a flame. 

No. 18 The Stanford Tree

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12:  The Stanford Cardinal Tree performs on the court during the game against the Washington Huskies in the Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament at the Staples Center on March 12, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Now when it comes to picking a mascot, most schools try to pick something at least a little bit intimidating. 

    However, Standford went against that trend when it picked this tree as its mascot. 

    Not only is this one of the least intimidating mascots of all time, the representation of this tree is more of an artsy interpretation than an actual representation of a tree.  

No. 17 University of Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils

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    Photo courtesy http://assets.boardingschoolwizard.com/uploaded/boll.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://assets.boardingschoolwizard.com/uploaded/boll.jpg

    The main campus of the University of Arkansas' mascot is the razorback. However this regional campus decided to have its own mascot and decided upon a bug to represent its campus. 

    A bug? Really?

    While the boll weevil is extremely destructive to crops, it's not very intimidating. Plus, looking at this mascot, it could be confused for an alien or green blob. 

No. 16 Saint Louis University Billiken

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    CLEVELAND - MARCH 16:  The Billiken, mascot of the St. Louis University Billikens entertains the crowd during round one of the Midwest NCAA Tournament Game against the Utah Runnin Utes at the Cleveland State University Convocation Center on March 16, 2000
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Looking at this mascot, one would think they were watching a science fiction movie rather than a sporting event.

    This elfish-looking mascot isn't very intimidating and doesn't seem to have any connection to the school in any way, shape or form. It's just a random figure the school has embraced and come to love as its mascot.  

No. 15 Otto the Orange University of Syracuse

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    NEW ORLEANS - APRIL 5:  The Syracuse University Orangeman mascot, Otto the Orange, runs during the semifinal round of the NCAA Final Four Tournament against the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns at the Louisiana Superdome on April 5, 2003 in New Orl
    Craig Jones/Getty Images

    Is he a basketball? An orange blob? No, he's an orange and Syracuse's mascot.

    The orange is not native to the cold climates of New York, so it's a little confusing why they would pick a southern fruit for their mascot.                

No. 14 Texas Christian University Horned Frog

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    Photo courtesy http://www.weirdworm.com/img/people/a-dozen-totally-weird-looking-mascots/horned-frog.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://www.weirdworm.com/img/people/a-dozen-totally-weird-looking-mascots/horned-frog.jpg

    Usually when people think of the small, greenish amphibians known as frogs, what comes to mind is Kermit the Frog. 

    However, this Texas university decided that the horned frog would make for an exceptionally powerful and frightening mascot for the school.

    What's even more confusing about this mascot is the way it is depicted by the school. It looks more like a deformed dragon than a horned frog. 

No. 13 Wake Forest's Demon Deacon

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    WINSTON-SALEM, NC - FEBRUARY 14:  Mascot 'The Deacon' of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons paces the side line during a break in the game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on February 14, 2009 in Winston-Salem, North Caroli
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Good and evil are well known to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. 

    Wake Forest, however, has combined them into one mascot with the Demon Deacon.

    Not only is he creepy looking, but his name is in conflict with itself which makes him one confusing mascot. 

No. 12 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Puckman

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    Photo courtesy http://assets.boardingschoolwizard.com/uploaded/puck.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://assets.boardingschoolwizard.com/uploaded/puck.jpg

    While not the most well known athletic association on this list, RPI has one of the oddest and most confusing mascots in sports. 

    Most mascots have human-like features such as faces, eyes, mouths, etc., but this one is just a puck with arms and legs and the school name across the puck.

    You never can be quite sure where he's looking or if he's moving backwards or forwards. 

No. 11 Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops

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    Photo courtesy http://connect2.owu.edu/issues/20090408/ourTown/mascotMadness_1.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://connect2.owu.edu/issues/20090408/ourTown/mascotMadness_1.jpg

    Here is another conflicting religious mascot. 

    Religious figures are most well known for their passive and peaceful nature, but this confusing mascot has this religious figure as a fighter. 

    It's two conflicting natures in one mascot, which makes him extremely confusing. 

No. 10 UNC School of the Arts Fighting Pickle

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    Photo courtesy http://assets.boardingschoolwizard.com/uploaded/pickle.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://assets.boardingschoolwizard.com/uploaded/pickle.jpg

    Do you find food intimidating? Probably not, unless you're allergic to it or get bad heartburn from it.

    Which is why this is a confusing mascot. Food isn't scary or intimidating, so one would think this school would have chosen a more fierce mascot than a pickle.  

No. 9 Delta State University Okra

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    Photo courtesy http://assets.boardingschoolwizard.com/uploaded/okra.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://assets.boardingschoolwizard.com/uploaded/okra.jpg

    Here is another example of a school using food as a mascot. 

    Okra isn't the most well known or eaten vegetable in the world. But, despite its relatively unknown stature, this school chose this vegetable as its mascot. 

No. 8 Wichita State WuShock

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    Photo courtesy http://collegerule.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/wushock.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://collegerule.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/wushock.jpg

    What is WuShock? 

    Looking at him, he looks like a broom or possibly a fuzzy pencil, but he is actually a bundle of wheat. 

No. 7 Fort Wayne Mad Ant

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    Photo courtesy http://www.nba.com/media/dleague/fortwayne/mascot_400_071205.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://www.nba.com/media/dleague/fortwayne/mascot_400_071205.jpg

    Most people are anything but scared of ants, even those huge gross ones that always seem to find their way into your home. 

    However, Fort Wayne decided to use this bug as its school mascot. However, how they represent this mascot in costume looks like something from another world rather than an ant. 

No. 6 Williams College Ephs

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    Photo courtesy http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/000/457/202/williamscollege_display_image.jpg?1287648577
    Photo courtesy http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/000/457/202/williamscollege_display_image.jpg?1287648577

    Is this mascot Barney's cousin?

    No? Well he sure looks like he could be. 

No. 5 Western Kentucky’s Big Red

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    Photo courtesy http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/1009/ncaa.2010.all-mascot.team/images/western-kentucky-big-red-ophd-110854.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/1009/ncaa.2010.all-mascot.team/images/western-kentucky-big-red-ophd-110854.jpg

    What is this?

    Is it a big red blob? A muppet? Who knows, but this big, fuzzy creature has become the lovable mascot of Western Kentucky.

No. 4 Scottsdale Community College Artichokes

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    Photo courtesy http://assets.boardingschoolwizard.com/uploaded/scc.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://assets.boardingschoolwizard.com/uploaded/scc.jpg

    Here is yet another example of a confusing food-related mascot.

    Not only is this quite possibly one of the most random vegetables this college could have chosen for a mascot, even its mascot suit is a little ambiguous about what the mascot actually is. 

No. 3 University of Santa Cruz Banana Slug

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    Photo courtesy http://makingcreativematter.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/uc-santa-cruz-banana-slug.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://makingcreativematter.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/uc-santa-cruz-banana-slug.jpg

    Here is another school using a bug as a mascot. 

    Not only is it confusing why a school would use a very non-threatening bug for a mascot, but when looking at the actual mascot, it's very hard to tell that it is a banana slug. 

No. 2 Evergreen State College Geoduck

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    Photo courtesy http://www.evergreen.edu/athletics/images/archive/SPEEDYgeoduck.jpg
    Photo courtesy http://www.evergreen.edu/athletics/images/archive/SPEEDYgeoduck.jpg

    What is it? How do you pronounce its name?

    The name is pronounced "gooey duck," and it is a mollusk found near Evergreen State College.

No. 1 Phillie Phanatic

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    And the ultimate confusing mascot is the Phillie Phanatic.

    The most often question asked is: What is he?

    Who knows, but this muppet-looking mascot is not only one of the most well known, but one of the funniest looking and acting mascots in all of sports. 

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