Unmasking The NFL: How Much Do NFL Mascots Make?

Unmasking The NFL: How Much Do NFL Mascots Make?

Every football fan knows players and coaches make mega money, but how much do NFL mascots get paid? The average NFL mascot salary was $60,000 in 2023, but there are a few exceptions, like the Dallas Cowboys’ Rowdy, who makes $65,000.

Keep reading to discover the other highest-paid mascots, and what it takes to make it as the person behind the suit.

The Highest-Paid NFL Mascots

Rowdy (Dallas Cowboys) – $65,000 annual salary

Being the mascot of “America’s Team” comes with lots of perks. You get to perform in front of 80,000 people at every home game, you get to take part in lots of community events, and you get paid the joint most of any mascot in the NFL.

Rowdy’s $65,000 annual salary works out to $50/hour, which can’t be beaten by any other mascot in the league.

Fun facts: Rowdy has 73K followers on Instagram and was named “Most Hated NFL Mascot” by Sports Illustrated in 2015.

Pat Patriot (New England Patriots) – $65,000 annual salary

New England's mascot Pat Patriot
Image of Pat Patriot mascot (credit: Christian Newton/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The joint highest NFL mascot salary is Pat Patriot of the New England Patriots, who also earns $65,000 per year ($50/hour). Pat has become one of the most recognizable NFL mascots in the modern era, thanks to his appearances at eleven Super Bowls over the last 25 years.

Pat can usually be found at Gillette Stadium for Patriots home games, where he entertains the crowd, signs autographs, and poses for pictures.

Fun facts: Pat was created by cartoonist Phil Bissell in 1960 and was originally based on an American Revolutionary soldier.

Average NFL Mascot Salary

Viktor, the Minnesota Vikings mascot
Image of Minnesota Vikings mascot (credit: David Jones/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The average NFL mascot salary is $60,000 per year, or $45/hour. Only Rowdy and Pat Patriot earn more than this, and their additional salary is probably down to the scale of their respective franchises. The Cowboys and Patriots are two of the most famous teams in the league, and their mascots have been a recognizable part of the game-day experience for decades.

Here’s a list of some reported NFL mascot salaries for the 2023 season:

MascotTeamHourly salaryAnnual salary
RowdyDallas Cowboys$50$65,000
Pat PatriotNew England Patriots$50$65,000
Sourdough SamSan Francisco 49ers$45$60,000
ToroHouston Texans$45$60,000
Staley Da BearChicago Bears$45$60,000
SwoopPhiladelphia Eagles$45$60,000
MilesDenver Broncos$45$60,000
PoeBaltimore Ravens$45$60,000
Steely McBeamPittsburgh Steelers$45$60,000
BlueIndianapolis Colts$40$50,000
BlitzSeattle Seahawks$40$50,000
Freddie FalconAtlanta Falcons$40$50,000
ViktorMinnesota Vikings$40$50,000
Sir PurrCarolina Panthers$40$50,000

Extra Appearances

Like NFL players and cheerleaders, mascots are required to do lots of extra work, separate to what is seen on game day. For example, Sourdough Sam, the mascot of the San Francisco 49ers, attends youth camps and schools where he spreads messages about the importance of healthy eating and exercise.

Sourdough Sam at Library Card Launch & Storytime
Image of Sourdough Sam mascot (credit: San José Public Library/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

These extra responsibilities would be part of the mascot’s contract with the franchise, and each would vary slightly. However, for additional events, there are likely bonus earnings available for mascots.

For example, it’s possible to book Sourdough Sam for private, corporate events which would cost $1,050 for just two hours, with the performer taking a healthy hourly wage for the appearance.

Most Popular NFL Mascots

Rowdy and Pat Patriot are the highest-paid mascots in the NFL, but it doesn’t mean they are the most popular. Since 2016, there has been an NFL Mascot of the Year award and Blue, the mascot of the Indianapolis Colts, has won it a record three times.

In 2023, Blue also won Social Media of the Year and Anchor in the Community, showing his presence both online and in the Indianapolis area. Blue also boasts a massive 254K followers on Instagram, which is more than any other NFL mascot.

Blue Mascot with its awards
Image of Blue mascot (credit: bluecoltsmascot/Instagram)

Other NFL mascots with a big following on Instagram include Blitz the Sea Hawk (104K) mascot of the Seattle Sea Hawks, and Toro (184K), mascot of the Houston Texans. Clearly, though, online popularity, reach, and awards don’t necessarily equate to higher pay for NFL mascots. Despite having hundreds of thousands of followers collectively, Blue and Blitz both earn $15,000 less than Rowdy and Pat.

Challenges Of Being An NFL Mascot

Being an NFL mascot isn’t just fun and games, so before you consider applying for the next vacancy in the league, you might want to consider some of the downsides. Here are some of the big challenges NFL mascots have to overcome:

Extreme Weather

Across the 32 NFL teams, mascots have to deal with some extreme weather. Whether it’s running around the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami in 70-degree heat, or risking catching frostbite in -13 at Lambeau Field, dealing with extreme weather would be a genuine headache for many NFL mascots.

Hard Work

Throwing on an oversized costume and dancing in front of thousands of people might seem easy, but to be an NFL mascot, you have to be seriously committed. Mascot responsibilities don’t start and end when the game does; a lot of preparation and performances away from the stadium are required. The Colts mascot, Blue, reportedly makes up to 300 performances each year and plans all his own skits.

Delivering Every Time

Being a mascot is a performance role, and every time an NFL mascot puts on their costume, they have to give it 100%. And we’re not just talking about NFL games. The same energy and enthusiasm are needed at every school, charity, and corporate event the mascot attends.

Mascots also deal with a lot of drunk fans who may overstep the mark. Every now and then, things don’t go to plan.


In general, mascot identities are kept private to protect the performer and to help maintain the magic of the character. So, keeping your job a secret, especially if you’ve been doing it for several years, would be a challenge.

How Many NFL Teams Do Not Have A Mascot?

Four current NFL franchises don’t have a mascot. They are:

  • Green Bay Packers
  • New York Jets
  • New York Giants
  • Los Angeles Chargers

The exact reason for these teams deciding against having mascots varies, but often the team name, history, and branding just aren’t a good fit. For example, Green Bay’s name comes from the Acme Meat Packing Company, which produced canned meat, so it doesn’t exactly lend itself to an inspirational or cute mascot. Maybe the New York Jets could consider creating a mascot based on a fighter jet. Or maybe not.

Not having a mascot isn’t always due to a lack of trying, though. For example, in the 1980s, the Packers tried and failed to introduce “Packy Packer”, who was just a man who carried sausages (we’re not joking)! Some things are just best left alone…

Summary – NFL Mascots Pay Dwarfed By NBA

There are pros and cons to being an NFL mascot. They are paid a decent salary, and get up close and personal with the action on the field and their adoring fans. If you’re a performer, an NFL mascot gig might seem appealing, but don’t start searching for vacancies just yet.

The highest-paid NBA mascots can earn almost ten times that of their NFL colleagues, and they don’t have to deal with the weather!

For more articles on the NFL, check out The 10 Oldest NFL Teams, Top 10 Richest NFL Players Ever, and 5 Best Moments In NFL Playoff History.