You can see a lot of things in Shreveport: Profane cold cures, transcendent hairdos, famous rappers at TGIFridays and more than a few truly amazing paint jobs. And for Monday night only, you could have also spotted a live gyr falcon circling downtown for no particular reason.
The Air Force Academy's live mascot, "The Bird," took advantage of his usual pregame flight around the stadium to flee the premises ahead of the Falcons' 14-7 Independence Bowl win over Georgia Tech, leaving Independence Stadium behind for a quick tour of the Shreveport nightlife – bars, casinos, eligible swallow-tailed kites on the town. According to the ESPN2 broadcast, The Bird eluded his handlers for the better part of three quarters before finally being spotted downtown, corralled and hustled back to the stadium for the victory party as the final seconds ticked down on the Falcons' win.
[Rewind: Mascot falls off dugout roof]
Frankly, considering the snooze of a game The Bird was supposed to be overseeing, most of the fans on hand probably would have taken flight, too, if they could. Air Force's ball-control, triple-option attack didn't crack the end zone until well into the fourth quarter, but effectively stoned Georgia Tech's ball-control, triple-option attack thanks to four Yellow Jacket turnovers. Both offenses embarked on second-half drives that drained well over eight minutes apiece from the clock, yet ultimately resulted in zero points. The falcon had the right idea from the beginning, proving once again the old maxim: Don't hate The Bird. Hate the game.
[Rewind: Woman sues mascot over injury]
- - -
Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.