Phur phlies as Chicken is dethroned
The Phillie Phanatic, the beloved mascot of the Philadelphia Phillies, has officially dethroned his biggest rival, The Famous Chicken, as America's favorite sports mascot, myFOXphilly.com reported Tuesday.
The two sports mascots have swapped spots in the Forbes' annual fan survey, with The Chicken having held sway in the 2010 race.
Mr. Met, the winner in 2009, slid to fourth place with the Milwaukee Sausages now standing at third.
The Phanatic and The Chicken have been rivals since 1978, when The Chicken ruled a small roost of sports mascots.
Since then, the sports mascot business has taken off, and the Phanatic with his on-field shenanigans has become closely tied with the City of Brotherly Love.
The Chicken (or The Famous Chicken as he is legally called) has been making national appearances for years and is not solely associated with San Diego, where he got his start with a local radio station before working with the Padres.
In an ESPN interview in 2007, The Chicken trashed Philadelphia sports fans and the Phanatic.
The Chicken's "friend," Ted Giannoulas, told ESPN that Philadelphia was the city where he most hated to perform.
"Philly and South Jersey. That corridor of fans there, they're a hard sell," Giannoulas said. "Philly will never let me in, because they know I'd steal the thunder of the Phanatic. I could sell 60,000 tickets like that. But they don't want me because I'd steal that guy's thunder."
Giannoulas even claimed The Chicken was partly responsible for the birth and success of the furry Philadelphia icon.
"The dirty little secret of the Phanatic ... is that when they started him in the winter of 1977-78, the director of promotions called me up and said, 'Ted, how do you do it? We want to start a new character, and we'd like you to consult with us.' They called me 10 times that winter to consult," Giannoulas said.
The latest Forbes' poll suggests the student has surpassed the master.