— Mike Monaghan (@lifewithmikey52) December 27, 2023
Reader Mike Monaghan spotted a listing for these 1994 NFL erasers on his local Facebook Marketplace page. As you can see, they feature a line of cartoon mascot characters called “NFL Team Heroes,” all of whom wore No. 0. I couldn’t remember ever seeing the erasers or the mascots before, so I did a little digging on eBay and elsewhere. Sure enough, these erasers were a thing:
After combing through eBay listings and a few other sources, I was able to find the erasers for 21 of the teams. Here they are (apologies for the crummy image quality on some of these):
Would George “Papa Bear” Halas enjoy having his nickname attached to such a goofy-looking character? Maybe!
Obviously, the Bengals’ mascot character had to be a tiger. I’m stumped by the name, though — anyone know what “Sarge” might be referring to?
Good one! The name fits nicely.
Could be worse. I gather the name “Miles” was meant to refer to Denver being the Mile High City.
A Dawg Pound character, but with Brownie the Elf’s name — odd.
A creamsicle parrot! Love it.
Really? I mean, I get that a bull charges, and the team is called the Chargers — but you already have a bull representing the Bills, and the Chargers are known for their lightning bolts. Weird choice here. (Update: As several folks have quickly pointed out, the Bills’ character is a buffalo, not a bull. Duh — stupid Paul. But I still think this is an odd choice for the Chargers, even if it isn’t Bills-redundant.)
Good character, but the moniker feels kinda lazy. Couldn’t you name him Furlong or something like that?
Shouldn’t he be wearing a helmet, like the dolphin on the team’s old logo?
Not bad. Clever name, too.
Not sure why they gave the Giants a robot character. Was he supposed to be gigantic? They should have included something for scale!
The Jags hadn’t even played a game yet in 1994, but they were still included in the erasers program. And look: They used the original leaping-jaguar logo, which ended up being scrapped!
Now, wait a minute — a rocket is not a jet, am I right?
Why do I get the feeling that no actual hip-hop fans were involved in the creation of this character?
This is probably my favorite one of the bunch. An Oilers mascot named Derrick is really good!
The Panthers, like the Jags, weren’t yet an on-field presence in 1994, but they still got their own eraser. I’m assuming the name “Charlie” referred to the city of Charlotte.
As if Pat Patriot and Flying Elvis weren’t enough, the Pats had another patriotic mascot character. (Also: This is the part where I point out that cartoon characters must always have four fingers, not five, because that’s just the way it is, the end.)
Seems kinda sedate for the Raiders. Should’ve been more Black Hole-esque, no?
This is the one I find most puzzling. A dog? For the Saints? What am I missing here? (Update: As several folks have quickly pointed out, it’s a Saint Bernard.)
Hmmm — shades of Foghorn Leghorn with those feet!
Another robot, this one clearly modeled on the Steelers’ old Steely McBeam character.
In addition, there was apparently a product line of plush dolls based on the same “NFL Team Heroes” characters (but with the logo on the jersey chest, instead of No. 0). These were made by a New Jersey company called Stuffins. Some match up with the characters shown on the erasers:
But I also found the plush toy for the Cowboys’ character, who looks like, duh, a cowboy. No indication of what his name was supposed to be, unfortunately,
And here’s the strangest thing I found: It’s the Bucs’ parrot, but wearing the colors and logo from the team’s 1997 redesign — even though the tagging on the doll carries a 1995 date! Check it out:
In addition, Stuffins apparently made a line of pillows featuring just the mascots characters’ heads. Here are the ones for the Packers and Vikings (two teams I was unable to find in any other product format):
Anyway: I’m now officially intrigued by the NFL Team Heroes program. Anyone know more about it?
Update: Wait, there’s more! It turns out that there were actually live, costumed versions of these mascot characters at the 1995 Pro Bowl! Full details here.
Also, there was apparently a line of Team Heroes baseball caps. Here’s one showing KC’s character — a wolf.
(Big thanks to Mike Monaghan for sending me down this enjoyable rabbit hole, and to Anthony Sperando for that hat link at the end.)