Poe the raven, a mascot who has only been around for ten years, who was seeded at the very bottom of his bracket, received more votes than his final opponent, Chief Zee of the Washington Redskins, to be named the "Most Fierce NFL Mascot" for 2008, according to CBSSportsline.com
With a final total of 52% of the votes, Poe won in the same fashion he had during the entire competition: with a come-from-behind victory, fueled by the fans' support and spreading word of the competition through online message boards.
"This was a win for the organization that is the Baltimore Ravens, a win for the city of Baltimore, a victory for Ravens fans near and fear, young and old!" Poe exclaimed.
Although the Redskins have a larger fanbase than the Ravens, many fans from other teams voted on Poe's behalf.
"Let's unite for this one moment. Come on Giants, Eagles, and (yuck) Cowboys fans, vote for Poe, it is a vote against the Redskins," said an NFC east fan on one of CBSSportsline's message boards.
Other fans took offense that Chief Zee isn't a real mascot since he isn't employed by the team, and voted against him taking that into account. That mattered to Poe as well.
"This is a victory for all us with feather laden wings, thick flowing manes, rigid scaly fins, jagged sharp claws, long pointy horns. This is for those of us with the oversized shoes to fit our paws, hooves, and talons in. This is a victory for true mascots of the NFL!"
Chief Zee was less than enthused at hearing the news. "Anytime you lose, man, you're disappointed somewhat," Zee said in an interview with The Washington Post. "But what you do is you tighten up the belt and go on with it, because it is what it is."
Ravens fans can take pride in knowing they played their part in this unlikely Cinderella story. Congratulations Poe!
POSTED July 1, 2008 - 4:36PM
Although the Ravens won't play the Washington Redskins until December 7, fans don't have to wait that long to see the next chapter in the "Battle of the Beltways," as well as to participate in it.
Poe, beloved Baltimore Ravens mascot, will be squaring off against Redskins super-fan Chief Zee in the Championship round of CBS Sportsline.com's "Most Fierce NFL Mascot Competition."
For most of June, fans from around the NFL have had the opportunity to vote for which team's mascot stands out of the toughest in the league. CBSSports.com writer Ron Davis got the idea when a similar poll for college football mascots proved successful.
"We wanted to give the fans something to do in the off-season leading up to training camp," Davis said. He emphasized the use of the message boards for this voting competition, hoping fans would talk about it, and exchange some friendly smack talk with one another.
A mascot from each team was selected, although a few were well-known fans of their teams or other representations. They were seeded into two brackets, the AFC and NFC, with the winners of each squaring off in what amounts to a fan-voted "Super Bowl." The seeds were determined based on the threat each mascot would physically pose in real life.
The participation on the message boards, as well as the sheer number of votes, have exceeded all of Davis' expectations. Over 1.3 million votes have been logged throughout the entire competition.
Compared to other mascots like lions and panthers, Poe the raven was seeded 16th, last in the AFC bracket. His first opponent was the superhero Boltman, representing the San Diego Chargers. Davis expressed doubt in Poe's ability, writing "does the raven even stand a chance?" But thanks to some promotion on the Baltimore Ravens Message Board, Poe squeaked by with 52% of the votes.
"Poe would totally wreck Boltman. Check out that beak, it's monstrous," said one fan on the message boards.
The surprising victory led to the follow-up article reading "Upset of the Century!"
Since then, Poe has taken down Steely McBeam, the relatively new Pittsburgh Steelers' mascot, and T.D. the Dolphin, Miami's mascot. Poe beat each of them with a whopping 70% of the votes in each contest. That just left Billy Buffalo, representing the Bills. The contest was close, but with Ravens fans flocking the message boards, Poe closed it out with 53% of the votes.
"I can't thank the fans enough," Poe said when finding out the news. "I do it for the love, the love of the team, the love of the fans, the love of being a mascot. My fierceness is genuine and comes from my tell tale heart, and I give that heart to my team!"
Meanwhile, in the NFC bracket, #8 seeded Chief Zee has beaten the San Francisco 49ers' Sourdough Sam, Roary of the Detroit Lions, The Philadelphia Eagles' Swoop, and Viktor of the Minnesota Vikings. Each margin of victory, however, has gotten substantially smaller going into the match-up with Poe, with his win over Viktor only by 2%.
Chief Zee brings a wealth of experience into this contest, as the Hall-of-Fame fan has been a mainstay at Redskins games since 1978. The number of votes in the NFC bracket is also substantially larger, nearly 990,000, compared to less than 393,000 in the AFC bracket.
The fans are up to the challenge, though. On the Ravens message boards, fans have been telling each other to spread the word.
"We need to get more voters for the championship, I've started advertising this in other Baltimore Ravens and Orioles forums. Let everyone know. POE MUST WIN!!" wrote one dedicated fan.
Poe is ready to step up as well. "I'm going to put Chief Zee right where he belongs, back in the cupboard like in that book I once read."
So as the "Battle of the Beltways" adds to its legacy in this new and interesting way, Ravens fans should vote to make sure Poe comes out on top! Hopefully, the Baltimore Ravens can start and end the season the same way: with a championship.