If you’re like most normal people, you hate the Patriots. Odds are you’re not usually a fan of the Broncos or the Panthers, either, So, as satisfying as it was to watch Tom Brady slowly lose the will to live as the Denver defense took turns slamming their helmets into his ribcage, New England’s loss last weekend probably left you without any clear rooting interest in the Super Bowl.

Neither team is so innately unlikable so as to allow for spite-rooting for the other team (unless you’re an old, white, male sportswriter, in which case, Go Broncos!). So, as an aid to the general football-watching community, I’ve prepared a rooting guide using the most obvious criteria: What mascot (Panther or Bronco) would your favorite team’s mascot root for?

Fans of all remaining 30 teams will find their logical assigned rooting interest in this guide. Some of them are easy to determine, and others are more complex, but they all have one thing in common: they are 100% correct.

Frequently asked questions regarding the guide:

Q: But I was gonna root for [Denver/Carolina] because of [some stupid reason not represented in this guide]!

A: Shut up.

We’ll start with the easier teams:


They’re birds. Panthers are cats. None of these birds would root for a panther.

Root for: Broncos


Cowboys a. love horses, which includes broncos (even if the horse has three legs, apparently, what the hell happened there) and b. probably have to worry about panthers eating their cows. Lots of fanbases have to worry about predatory cat behavior, apparently. This pairing is obvious. Young broncos are colts, and colts are too young to hate their parents, so this rooting interest is also obvious. All Texans are, in fact, cowboys, and look like the colorized gentleman sitting on Tripod up there.

As for the 49ers....

This creepy guy probably rode a horse down to the river to pan for gold, before the other prospectors drowned him in it for not having a soul.

Root for: Broncos


It is a well-established fact that all cats are assholes (source: Anyone who’s ever met a cat). Assholes stick together (source: The Human Centipede (Director’s Cut)). Not because they want to, but because nobody else will put up with them. The other big cat mascots will root for the panther, since the bronco would immediately commit justifiable stompicide.

Root for: Panthers


Much like the bird teams, there’s no way any self-respecting dog could root for a cat-mascot team.


There’s no way anybody rooting for the Browns could be described as self-respecting, you say? You’re correct, but:

Root for: Broncos


This is a close call. On one hand, Titans were Greek gods, who were fickle, vengeful, and prone to unprovoked violence and cruelty toward humans, like cats. On the other hand, this is the thing that stalks the field at Titans games:

I thought this thing was a cat until I noticed the raccoon tail, making this a thing that would get mauled by a cat of any size. The final verdict is based on the assumption that a bronco would ignore this mascot, while a panther would attack it (and then pop the inflatable helmet with its claws, while staring at you, because: assholes).

Root for: Broncos


In the wild, young broncos nudge each other and subtly point to the bison on the other side of the watering hole. “I heard that bison are just cows on steroids,” one says. “I heard that bison are assholes,” says the other. They both nod.

Across the water, which carries sound quite well, a bison sadly frowns.

Root for: Panthers


The Viking’s mascot, Ragnar, is an anthropomorphic bison.

Root for: Panthers


The Packers don’t have an official mascot, but an unofficial one (besides Fat Loud Guy Wearing a Cheesehead) is Packy Pack Packer, over here on the left. Yeah, I had no idea, either. Anyway, a quick internet search for “bronco sausage” and “panther sausage” has determined that a. I should always have SafeSearch on when doing image searches involving the word “sausage”, because the internet is terrible, and b. horse sausage exists, at least outside of the U.S.:

while panther sausage does not. Given Mr. Pack’s culinary interests, we know where his temporary loyalties will lie.

Root for: Broncos


Root for: Panthers


Root for: Broncos


To be clear, Steely McBeam, here, is the team’s secondary mascot. The primary mascot, Bill Cowher, doesn’t care for broncos or panthers. He gets home from work and watches game tape while eating bowls of nails and gravy until he falls asleep in his leather chair, which doesn’t leave much of time for pets. Steely, frankly, doesn’t look like a cat person.

Root for: Broncos


On the one hand:

On the other hand, you know what brought white people to Native American lands? Horses.

Root for: Panthers


Bear with us, as we exploit the Transitive Property of Hip Hop:

Root for: Panthers

(Note: Yes, Ice Cube is the Raiders’ mascot, unless they move to St. Louis before the Super Bowl. If this occurs, Raiders fans should just go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens again during the game.)


This thing, modeled after a fake shrunken head carved out of an apple by a six-year-old on a turbulent airplane, is actually named “Captain Fear”. Presumably “Captain Nipplechin” won the fan vote, but the team couldn’t lock down the trademark. In any event, the best guess is that broncos would avoid this mascot like the plague, while a panther would hang around in the hopes that it could pounce on any bird that tried to eat the apple.

Root for: Panthers


Until the 1990s, cats’ demand for tuna resulted in countless dolphins being caught and killed in tuna nets. Now, it was domesticated housecats that were eating the tuna, not panthers. I know this. You know this. Dolphins don’t know this, because dolphins lump all cats together. Dolphins are racists.

Root for:Broncos


The Saints have two official mascots: Quagmire Sir Saint and Gumbo. Their loyalties are split: Gumbo, as a dog, would root against the Panthers, while Sir Saint, would root for the Panthers, because his head was modeled on the scrotum of a hairless cat. To break the tie, we need to look to some actual saints. Patron saints, or “heavenly advocates,” according to Wikipedia.


St. Eligius is the patron saint of goldsmiths, other metalworkers, coin collectors, veterinarians, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), horses, and those who work with them. St. Gertrude is the patron saint of travelers, gardeners, and cats, and is the...anti-patron saint against mice and mental illness.

As the patron saint of metalworkers, St. Eligius would align his interests with Steely McBeam, who we have already conclusively demonstrated is rooting for the Broncos. Also, sadly, given what we’re learning about CTE, it’s a safe bet that if ol’ Gertrude is advocating against mental illness, she isn’t paying much attention to the NFL.

Root for: Broncos


According to some irresponsibly brief internet searching, panthers can be found in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, while a “bronco” refers to a wild horse in the U.S., northern Mexico, or Canada. Broncos are the more “American” beast.

Root for: Broncos


The Giants don’t have a real mascot, so we have to look to the preference of an actual giant. A giant would have no use for a bronco, because he couldn’t ride it, and it would likely run the hell away. A panther, though? Relatively speaking, size-wise, that’s like a pet cat to me or you. Probably still an asshole of a pet, but at least it might tolerate being scratched behind the ears by the giant.

Root for: Panthers


The Jets don’t have a mascot either, so we have to look to actual jets. Each Boeing 777 engine, just to pick one, has over 110,000 horsepower. We were unable to find records of any engines with pantherpower.

Root for: Broncos


This is, by far, the toughest rooting interest to figure out. Broncos are fierce, powerful, and independent, just like the mascot. Panthers are graceful predators, also just like the mascot. We’ll just have to ask him ourselves:

Root for: Whoever wants it more


There are 11 fanbases that should be rooting for the Panthers, 18 for the Broncos, and one left twisting in the wind thanks to the copout by Danny Woodhead. I hope that this guide has helped you, and you may now confidently buy Broncos and/or Panthers t-shirts to wear to your Super Bowl party. Remember: If you’re ordering online now, be sure to request expedited shipping!

Photos via Googling the mascot name, usually