Thursday, April 10, 2014

March Mascot Melee™: The Final Four

Only in New Jersey could people be so excited for their kids to meet the Devil. But, can Lucifer make it to the finals for a potential rematch with the Angels?
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe) and Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin)

We're almost home.

After four heated battled in the Elite Eight (Parts One and Two), we are left with the four baddest mascots in American professional sports. Only the NBA bracket champion Magic, MLB bracket champion Angels, NFL bracket champion Titans and NHL bracket champion Devils remain.

Did the actual NCAA tournament (which this is unceremoniously modeled after) end on Monday? Yes. Are we like, a week late? Yes. Do we care? Not really. We're really lazy. And by "we" I mean Jeremy.

Here's a look back at our bracket to see how we got here.

Click to enlarge
Now, let's get to our semifinals.

1. Tennessee Titans vs 2. Los Angeles Angels

JP: I don't think either of these mascots has faced a worthy challenger yet, but this one is as close to a toss up as you can get. On one hand you have titans, the giant first Gods of Greek mythology who were capable of incredible feats of strength.

On the other you have angels, servants of the Judeo-Christian God who have proven themselves as warriors in battles against Lucifer and his fellow rebels.

The real key here is that neither of these beings can die. Angels are immortal, as are the Titans, who were not killed by Zeus and the younger Gods. Rather, they were trapped or tricked in some way.

So, who would win this battle between two creatures that cannot die? While angels are very powerful, and just below God/Jesus in Christian belief, the Titans are themselves Gods.

That is an important distinction, and one of my three tie-breakers here. Another is that the Angels' mascot is really a rally monkey, and the final tie-breaker is the fact that The Los Angeles Angel's name, when directly translated, is "The The Angels Angels."

That's just silly.

Winner: Titans

1. New Jersey Devils vs 2. Orlando Magic

JC: An ignorant man might say that this is a battle of good versus evil. "Magic" is seen as a force of good, and the Devil, obviously, is evil. But there is a dark side to Magic as well. A dark, seedy underbelly that you don't talk about at parties. The kind of Magic that raises the dead and controls minds.

Generally speaking, the Devil doesn't have any supernatural powers. In some incarnations, he might be able to generate flames from his hands or something, but for the most part he's just a supremely clever, savvy manipulator. He tries to trick people into doing "bad things" (for the lack of a better term). He seems to transcend space and time, which I suppose counts as a supernatural power, but that doesn't really help him in a fight against the abstract notion of Magic.

If the Devil were squaring off against a Wizard (which the Magic bested in the previous round), or a Titan, or an Angel (which battled each other on the opposite side of the bracket), the Devil very well may have the upper hand, as those are concrete humanoids with minds and consciousness, not an ephemeral, amorphous entities that can't actually be seen or felt. As such, it cannot be corrupted by the Devil's misanthropic efforts.

Winner: Magic

Now, here's our bracket heading into the final.

Click to enlarge

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