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Why Raider Rusher is a good idea

Sep 25, 2013, 5:09 PM PST

Whether you agree with it or not, Raider Rusher is here. The goofy mascot emerged straight from the frames of NFL RUSH ZONE, a kids cartoon co-produced by the NFL and Nickelodeon, to make its official debut at Raiders headquarters on Tuesday.

When an image of the mascot first leaked online, the Raiders fan base was up in arms.

“Well, I’m not surprised,” Raiders director of public affairs Mike Taylor said of the initial response. “People have a passion for the Raiders and that continues to be the case, but once you understand what this is all about, this is about kids, this is about the youth, this is about our community.”

The Oakland Raiders have a certain mystique to them. They are tough, gritty, dark and angry. They are a team steeped in tradition with three Vince Lombardi Trophies. They may have fans that dress like mascots, but they certainly don’t have one.

What would Al Davis have said about this?

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It’s easy to pile on. Especially when a mascot is involved. Based on the rampant displeasure voiced by fans that laid eyes on this strange looking creature with an enlarged head and no torso, Field of Teams decided to go to the source and see what the hype was all about. In the end, it turns out it’s not so bad.

Every team in the NFL has one of these NFL RUSH ZONE characters. The Raiders are the first to take their character and bring it to life. It’s actually a pretty smart move. It represents the team in a family friendly way. The team will only feature the character in the three kids zones at the Oakland Coliseum and the interactive fan tailgates. The Raiders have made it very clear that it won’t be seen on the field or standing behind the end zone hogging television time.

Raider Rusher actually appeared at the Raiders home opener against the Jaguars. No one was the wiser, because he stayed in his designated zones and no one made a big deal about it.
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Based on the reaction Raider Rusher got when he made his introduction on Tuesday, it’s hard to argue with the Raiders’ logic on this one. The Raiders invited approximately 100 kids from Emerson Elementary and the Oakland Boys and Girls Club to check out this new community relations tool, and they all went absolutely crazy when the thing hit the stage. Positioned directly under Al’s infamous projector, Raider Rusher whipped the kids into a frenzy before they watched a special preview of an episode of the cartoon featuring the character and running back Darren McFadden.

When they hit the Raiders’ practice field for some drills, they had a hard time keeping the kids away from the thing. If you look at it for what it is, a community relations tool, and not as a mascot, it’s actually a pretty effective weapon.

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