The Daily Helmet: Huddling Up In The 80s
In the early 1980s the NFL targeted their youngest fans by releasing a set of cuddly little mascots called Huddles. Each team would have their own tiny mascot and they could be seen as stuffed animals, knicknacks, books, stickers and tons of other merchandise. Surprisingly, as far as I know, I never had a Huddles plush character of my own. If I did, I don’t remember and there is no sign of one in my collection. As far as I can tell Huddles were first introduced around 1983 and were around for most of the 80s. In addition to each team having their own toy line, the Huddles characters were also represented on the field with each team having a live costumed version of their Huddles character in their stadium. Some of the Huddles mascots were better than others, but my favorite part was that every single one wore a helmet. Each mascot was a anthropomorphic version of the team name. The Bills was a Buffalo of course, the jets a tiny plane, the Raiders a pirate and so on and so forth. Of course with two teams mascots being Natives, their Huddle characters were Native Americans, which probably would be problematic these days. For the two horse teams, they took the easy way out with both Huddles being almost identical.
I would love it if they brought these back. I don’t have any kids, but I would for sure collect them. As for the originals, there are plenty available on ebay. You can find many of the plush characters. Like this Detroit Lions Huddles or this Cleveland Browns one, which was basically just a kid in a Browns uniform. The Vikings guy, of course had his horns. This Packers guy is still in his original packaging, and thus fetching a pretty high price. I still don’t know how a Dolphin could play football, but here he is in all of his Dolphin wearing a helmet with a Dolphin wearing a helmet on it. Here is a Redskins Huddles Plush. I think the bird team Huddles might be my favorites. Here is the Seahawks and Falcons. You can also buy figurines, stickers, pins, bedsheets and more if you want to deck your house or room in all Huddles. You could also get a Huddles book if you wanted to read your kids or yourself to sleep with wonderful NFL characters. I would love to collect all of the plush characters, but they can go upwards from $25 – $100 depending on the character and whether it comes in the original box.
Here is a Huddles commercial featuring Lyle Alzado, who apparently was trying to collect them all!
The live mascots were also great if not disturbing. My favorite Huddles moment is the famous hit on Joe Montana in the 1990 NFC Championship game where the 49ers Huddles mascot helplessly looked on from the sidelines.
The fact that the Oilers Huddles had a tattoo of an oil derrick is amazing.
In 1986 future Denver Mayor Michael Hancock would dress as the Huddles character for the Broncos Super Bowl season, earning $25 a game.
A modern version of the Huddles mascots would be so amazing. The huddles 1980s mascots were incredible and were miles better than these two creeps: