• Georgia Skuza

The City of Mascots

Philadelphia: the City of Brotherly Love and our nation’s first capital. To Philadelphians, Philly is the best city in the world, and for countless reasons. Philadelphia sports have been around since the late 1800s, when the major league baseball team, the Phillies, was created. Deemed “The Big Four”: The Sixers, Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers are fan favorites nationwide – unless you’re a New England or Dallas fan… (41-33). However, not only are the players themselves loved, but their infamous mascots are too. Now the real question is, do the fans love the sports, or do they love the mascots more?


The Phillies have the Phanatic, the Sixers have Franklin the Dog, the Eagles have Swoop, and the Flyers have my personal favorite, Gritty. The Philly Phanatic has been around since 1978, getting the crowd riled up and supporting the Phillies. Swoop is famous for ziplining into Lincoln Financial Field and parachuting onto the field, and was also the leader of the Super Bowl LII victory parade in our beloved city.


Gritty is the most recent mascot to join the Philly sports world. Before Gritty, the Flyers had “Slapshot” since 1976. Ever since 2018, Gritty has taken the world by storm. With 270k followers on Instagram, one could label Gritty an “influencer.” Between Tinder and pop star jabs, dancing and swooning over Claude Giroux, Gritty steals the show at all Flyers games.


With every good comes a bad, and two of Philly’s mascots have landed in hot water recently. The Philly Phanatic has been accused of being “a very bad boy” and being “too rough” with fans, according to a Bleacher Report written by Gabe Zaldivar in 2012. According to Zaldivar, the Phanatic allegedly “picked Suzanne Peirce up, as well as the lounge chair was resting on, and threw them both in a nearby pool.”


“The suit alleges the Phanatic lost his mind on July 17th, 2010 as Peirce was enjoying her sister’s wedding.” According to Peirce’s attorney Aaron Denker, “Peirce claims she hurt just about everything in the incident, including ‘severe and permanent injuries to her head, neck, back, body, arms, and legs, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and tissues.” Peirce was thrown into the shallow end of the pool and allegedly injured the above elements.


The lawsuit was filed in 2012, after the 2010 incident, for an undisclosed amount of money. The Phanatic showed no concern for the allegations and was photographed at a game dancing with Paula Abdul. There is no information regarding whether the suit was settled. Interesting fact: the Philly Phanatic is the most sued mascot in “the majors” according to a Cardozo Law Review.


The Phillies have the Phanatic, the Sixers have Franklin the Dog, the Eagles have Swoop, and the Flyers have my personal favorite, Gritty. The Philly Phanatic has been around since 1978, getting the crowd riled up and supporting the Phillies. Swoop is famous for ziplining into Lincoln Financial Field and parachuting onto the field, and was also the leader of the Super Bowl LII victory parade in our beloved city.


Gritty is the most recent mascot to join the Philly sports world. Before Gritty, the Flyers had “Slapshot” since 1976. Ever since 2018, Gritty has taken the world by storm. With 270k followers on Instagram, one could label Gritty an “influencer.” Between Tinder and pop star jabs, dancing and swooning over Claude Giroux, Gritty steals the show at all Flyers games.



The more recent allegation was against Gritty, the Flyers mascot turned extreme-leftist meme. According to Christian Hetrick, a journalist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gritty was accused of punching a 13-year-old fan Brandon Greenwell in the back after “Greenwell playfully patted the mascot on the head”.


Chris Greenwell and his son Brandon are season-ticket holders to the Flyers games. After they took a picture with Gritty and one of his “Gritty Guards”, that is when the apparent altercation happened. After the suit was filed, it was announced that a “thorough investigation that found nothing to support this claim” had been conducted and had concluded, according to the officials at the Comcast Spectator and the Philadelphia Police Department.


Though Franklin and Swoop don’t make the news as much as Gritty and the Phanatic, they’re still famous in the Philly community. The Sixers wanted their new mascot to be “For Kids, By Kids”, so they created Franklin. Today, while Franklin isn’t being a “stunt dog” at Sixers games, and “contributes to developing kids into lifelong fans” according to the Sixers NBA website.


When the Eagles are in season, Swoop is a regular participant on the “Eagles Kids Club” television show and an animated version of the mascot is the host.


At the end of the day, the mascots continue to serve the same chaotic energy that Philly sports fans share. There is no doubt about it: Gritty, the Phanatic, Swoop, and Franklin are their teams’ number one fans.

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