How Gritty, the Flyers’ Insane New Mascot, Took Over the World
Here in Philadelphia, we do not often use the word “soft,” usually reserving it for mentions of the pretzels for which we are well-known and the sort of ice cream for which we go crazy every summer. No, folks, we are resolute residents who often feel the need to rebel against every swipe thrown our way and each gripe held against us. In that regard, we often look to our sports teams for affirmation of us as a spunky bunch, and with the dawn of a new hockey season only six days away for the Flyers, the team decided to embody that tenacity by unveiling Gritty, who, as the franchise’s first mascot in 42 years, is already proving a marketing masterstroke.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) September 24, 2018
We bleed the Flyers’ orange-and-black color scheme around here, so we have found interesting the perceptions that the nation has had of the hirsute harbinger of hijinks, who debuted in earnest Monday night at the team’s Wells Fargo Center only hours after his first public appearance at a local museum. Checking in at seven feet tall, he has the potential to help the organization reach the stratosphere branding-wise and enable the club to capitalize on the sports fervor that the Eagles’ victory in Super Bowl LII caused to explode.
Now, as we noted earlier, the Flyers have long held sway in our hearts, so the introduction of Gritty is not going to serve as a means to increase our fandom, but it could bring our purchase power to the fore and perhaps inspire young fans to become more enthused about the Eastern Conference squad, no matter how much flak the mascot has taken. Ahem:
— Matt Mullin (@matt_mullin) September 24, 2018
We need to commend the Flyers for unveiling Gritty just days ahead of the regular season, as the team, a perennial contender in our minds, has begun to make headlines as a legitimate threat to challenge the likes of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals. Organizations always look to up their merchandise game just as players are fine-tuning their efforts, so Gritty figures to help the Flyers move a ton of products whenever their marketing team swoops in with an assortment of ideas. The absence of those goods, thus far, we must say, has left us a tad disappointed, as upon attending last night’s game, we saw only the usual assortment of player-themed apparel items and novelties on shelves.
However, when we get down to the nitty-gritty, we know we must be patient with any release of items surrounding the googly-eyed addition (hey, we root for a club that last won the Stanley Cup in 1975, so we have the waiting game down pat). As we engage in another sort of endurance test, we have enjoyed tracking Gritty through Twitter (where he has shown an abundance of comic genius), watching him on “Good Morning America” and seeing him at the aforementioned game, where he dumped a huge bag of popcorn on the head of a New York Rangers fan, performed “Fortnite” dances and showed improvement with the T-shirt gun.
Come next month, we will also be able to celebrate Gritty with a toast in his honor, as Bucks County’s Broken Goblet Brewing will make good on perceptions of the mascot as terrifying by releasing a beer dubbed "Nightmare Fuel."
My dinner. worth it. pic.twitter.com/etLgQfc5wk
— Gritty (@GrittyNHL) September 28, 2018
The Flyers played two preseason games at the Wells Fargo Center this week, giving fans six periods to observe Gritty in all his hairy glory. Unfortunately, they dropped both games, but we are going to refrain from being naysayers and say that he will go down as an infectious influence on the team’s play and the organization’s marketing know-how, which we touched upon last season.
The team opens its regular-season home slate Oct. 9, so the clock is ticking on the Flyers to get some merchandise available for fans by the opener. Frankly, it would be a pity for the city if they have not immortalized Gritty in product form by then. We know we would part with some bucks to have our own slice of this unusual yet oh-so-irresistible entrance into mascot history. We say it all the time as we cheer them on, so, in another context, we must bellow, “Let’s go, Flyers!”