It’s Sunday, you are watching the game and then he shows up. That strange robot character that Fox drags out each weekend. He mostly hops around while stats cover the screen. Like some kind of background dancer for the graphics department. But who is this mechanical mystery? This anonymous automaton? And more importantly, what’s the deal?
His name is Cleatus. Get it? Like cleats (those spiky shoes the pros wear.) Apparently, the name was selected by fans during a contest in 2007. When I hear that name, I can only think of the hillbilly Simpsons’ character.
And I use the pronoun “he/his” for the robot not because I’m a sexist pig but rather, Cleatus is a mascot for the NFL, a total dude’s club. I don’t know if he has a penis and I don’t really think we should talk about that. I just picked a word. Let’s move on to more robot jokes.
Cleatus kind of looks like a broke-ass Optimus Prime or an armored Tin Man. Or if the guy from Halo got a NASCAR paint job from the Barbie auto shop. He has “34” emblazoned on his chest which is a running back’s number but he looks a little slow to play RB. Maybe needs some WD-40 for those joints. Also, where is the rest of the team? Did they die in a bus crash like in Beetlejuice? Did anyone tell Cleatus or does he still think everyone is alright? Oh god. Terry Bradshaw please help!
And why don’t we have a robot football league? I mean we are ready for it. Video games like Cyberball and Mutant League Football have been preparing us for it our whole lives. A bunch of giant monsters smashing into each other and shooting footballs like missiles would be the coolest thing in its time slot. Let’s get Japan, MIT, and Bob the Builder working on it ASAP.
Over the years, our boy has really sold out and gone completely mainstream. There are action figures and corporate tie-ins for both movies and fast food. Fox loves the character so much that they spun him off for their NASCAR fans and introduced “Digger” a Caddy Shack style gopher who struts around the FOX telecasts on race day.
Fox even makes our buddy, Cleatus, work during the MLB playoffs when he is clearly designed for a different sport. To add insult to injury, on Thanksgiving, Fox replaces Cleatus with a CG turkey who uses all his same dance moves! That’s messed up. We should have a dance off to settle this once and for all.
End of the day, I kind of feel bad for the guy. He’s kind of overweight, can’t really dance or play football and has a shitty job. Wait, I think I just described myself. Well, never mind. I guess he is alright in my book. Maybe we should set him up on a date with Rosie from The Jetsons or with that vending machine in the student lounge.
So the next time you see a robot shaking his can and trying to get the crowd hype, please just go with it. You don’t know how hard some of these machines have it. Cheering for football is their whole life. Now, give me some space, I’m going to try a head spin.