How Does a Mascot Eat a Cheerleader?
The inflatable costume used by a football team’s mascot allows a cheerleader to appear to be eaten alive on the field. The large costume has a flap on the mouth that can be pushed aside, creating a bigger opening wide enough for the mouth to be slipped around the cheerleader, which creates the illusion of her being swallowed. The person inside the costume carries the cheerleader once she gets inside.
The Tennessee Titans mascot is called T-Rac, an oversized, masked raccoon. The raccoon is the state animal of Tennessee. The costume is full of air, giving the appearance of great size. The cheerleader is chosen because she is the smallest member of the team and, therefore, the easiest to fit inside the inflated mascot suit.
The “attack” is performed during the halftime show, when the cheerleaders are dancing. T-Rac appears, doing his usual funny dance until he suddenly devours the young cheerleader. After she is pulled inside, she is rescued by the other cheerleaders, who attack T-Rac with their pom-poms. This causes the giant raccoon to fall to the ground, at which time the girl climbs back out and celebrates her survival with her fellow cheerleaders.
The stunt became a viral YouTube video and was repeated week after week. Another team, the Toronto Raptors, added the stunt to their halftime show using the same method. That team's mascot is a Velociraptor.