Forget what the Discovery Channel has taught us. In the end, the Cowhead was indeed mightier than the Bear.
For the last two NHL postseasons, the Boston Bruins have run print ads in front of TD Garden that playfully mocked their playoff opponents' fans. In 2010, the Bruins had a billboard that read: "Never, Ever Date a Flyers Fan. Even If She Shaves Her Moustache."
In 2011, they posted another anti-Philadelphia ad that read, "Black and gold runs through Boston's veins. In Philly, it's just cholesterol."
For the Eastern Conference finals, they ran the billboard seen above that questioned the existence of Tampa Bay Lightning fans as if they were mythic creatures.
They also had other signs, including one that read "Welcome, Tampa fans, nice to see you fixed your bandwagon"; and the ad shown on the right that pokes fun at the retirement community that is Florida.
Thing is, there are plenty of Lightning fans, many of them aren't elderly, and some of them didn't take too kindly to these ads; like Clark J. Brooks of the Tampa Bay blog Raw Charge who said Bolts fans should have a laugh at it but also "retaliate in kind, rising (or stooping) to whatever levels necessary to make our point."
This week, someone took command of the counteroffensive. And his name is Cowhead.
OK, his name is actually Mike Calta, but he's the host of The Cowhead Show on 102.5-FM in Tampa Bay. It's one of those wickedly funny morning radio shows with girls making out in studio and listener stunts and a big enough following to have crossed over into television.
Cowhead targeted the Bruins ads, according to the St. Pete Times — and now they've been removed.
From the Times:
It created so much backlash — especially after Tampa Bay radio personality Cowhead (real name Mike Calta) of 102.5-FM urged listeners to call the Bruins marketing department in protest — the team on Wednesday removed the offending signs.
"In a swift and strong attack we showed the Bruins organization that not only do we exist, but we are ready to fight for our team," Calta e-mailed the St. Petersburg Times. "We moved in like Seal Team 6 and shut them down in a way that other teams they attacked have never been able to do."
(UPDATE: Barstool Sports Boston is reporting tonight, via the Bruins, that the team received "death threats" from callers protesting the signs. The team spokesman did not indicate if the Bruins followed up on the threats.)
Even though the slogans are all approved by Bruins brass, team spokesman Matt Chmura told the Times that they're supposed to be seen as emanating from the Bruins Bear, the team's cantankerous advertising mascot:
"The Bear is supposed to be a fun vision of how the Bruins fans think," Chmura said. "It's just a fun-loving character that tries to embody Bruins fans and their spirit."
Look, the ads are hilarious. While we applaud the Loch Ness Monster Lightning fans' protest to the Bruins, it'd be much more in keeping with the spirit of Stanley Cup Playoff animosity to strike back with something even more insulting and caustic, rather than having them remove the ads.
Make a Zdeno Chara(notes) Wicker Man out of grouper parts. Hit a guy in a bear suit with a Taser gun. Use the centuries of comedic fodder the city of Boston has given the world, to the point where you can't find a New England comic that isn't geographically self-deprecating.
The Flyers set the bar this low for Bostonian retaliation this postseason. Surly Tampa Bay fans could have cleared it.
(Stick-tap Boston Sports Blog.)
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