We’re winding our way to the end of bowl season this week, and it’s been a wild ride. Before it’s all over, we should stop to appreciate some of the unheralded personalities that make this magical month possible - the bowl mascots.
Sure, you may be familiar with some of the more popular bowl mascots. There’s the impish potato man from the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. There’s the Orange Bowl’s orange, who every year gives me three seconds of “wait, did Syracuse make a major bowl?” confusion. And then, of course, there’s the Outback Bowl, whose mascot I believe is some kind of poisonous flower?
Anyways, those are all well and great, but those bowls aren’t today. Today, one of the marquee matchups of bowl season — as indicated by its “noon on a Monday” timeslot — is the Military Bowl, presented by Northrup Grumman. The game is a titanic matchup between the American Conference’s Cincinnati Bearcats — who went a surprising 10-2 this season on the heels of two straight 4-8 campaigns — and the Hokies of Virginia Tech, who barely squeezed into bowl eligibility with two wins to close the regular season.
Now, it may be easy to make family-friendly characters out of such lovable things as onions and potatoes, but it’s a bit different when the bowl sponsor is [checks notes] one of the world’s largest arms companies. If Northrup Grumman is going to sell fans some stealth bombers during this game, they’re going to need a mascot to soften their edges. And they’ve got just that! Let’s meet him.
Okay, introduce yourself to our readers.
[looks up from typing out email on his Blackberry] Oh, hold on, just a second - I’ve got to finish sending this invite to tomorrow’s conference call. [continues typing] Okay. Uh, hi, yeah, I’m the Northrup Grown Man. You can call me Kevin, though.
So, what do you do?
[chuckles] I’m sort of a jack of all trades. I do some logistics, some operations, but I dabble in some project management. Sometimes when things get really hot and heavy, I’ll even dive into optimization.
No, I mean at the game.
Oh. Yeah, I’ll walk around the sidelines and do some light networking. I’ll try to pump the crowd up with some of my patented moves like “raising the roof” or “the dab” [he demonstrates something that is definitely not dabbing]. Usually after about 20 minutes of that, my back starts acting up, so I’ll just lay down on the turf for a while and catch up on email.
I see. That doesn’t make for great television, does it?
Oh, no, it’s terrific. I’m big on optimizing my time — have you read any of Tim Ferriss’ books? They’ll really change your life. Touch back with me before you leave, I’ve got some extra copies in my Sonata. Anyways, yeah, I take that time I’m resting my back, and I’ll send emails right to fans in the stands. It’s the kind of personalized touch that I don’t think you see from a lot of other bowl mascots.
What do you email them?
All sorts of things, really. Suggestions for the concession stands - “you’ve gotta try the bacon burger, it’s epic” and “do you like craft beer? try the Sam Adams!”. I’ll send some highlights from earlier in the game, some memes, some funny stuff from the internet - do you like Ricky Gervais?
Haha, yeah, I agree, he’s great. He just did this thing - [chuckling] hold on, let me send you the link, you’ve gotta see this -
So, do you lay down for the entire game?
Nah, I’ll get up right before halftime to use the restroom - here’s a pro tip from an insider: it’s less crowded if you go during game action. Not a lot of people know that. And then it’s halftime, and it’s really my time to shine. I get out the cannon.
A t-shirt cannon?
Close, but it’s even better than that. It’s a business casual shirt cannon. I’ve got some wicking polos in there, some blue plaid oxfords — I even get a little crazy with it [leans in, whispers] I put some Untuckd shirts in there this year. You can wear those on date night [elbows you playfully]
Please don’t touch me.
So yeah, I guess you could say it gets pretty wild.
Hey, you like sports, right?
I write for a sports blog.
You should check out this awesome site, it’s called-
Please don’t finish that sentence. I already know what it’s going to be.
Oh, hey, I know we’re just havin’ some laughs here, hangin’ out and all, but [looks around conspiratorially] I can write this whole thing off if we [making air quotes] “talk business”, so...
Do you want to buy a stealth bomber?
No, thank you.
[winks] Had to ask. [looking around for server] Can we get some more apps over here? [smirks] Gonna tell Diane in accounting you’re considering it though.