The man who will lead the Indianapolis Colts onto the field for Super Bowl XLIV isn't Peyton Manning or coach Jim Caldwell but Marietta's own Trey Mock.
Known to the NFL as Blue, the Colts' mascot, Mock will sprint out in his 40-pound acrylic horse suit waving a team flag.
He'll blow out his nostrils, do his signature belly and booty shake.
Mock won't be nervous. The 28-year-old Walton High grad already has a Super Bowl ring from the 2006 season, the year he created Blue as the Colts' first mascot.
"I'll do my normal shtick on the sideline, but I'm not allowed to have props because they don't want either side to have an advantage," Mock told the AJC from Miami. "Normally I'd have a bunch of props and costume changes. For this game, it's pretty limited. I still have a couple things up my sleeve, though.
"Pay attention to what happens on field goals and extra points, when Blue is underneath the goal posts. As they go to [commercial] break, that's kind of our moment when we get the most camera time."
It's a cool gig being Blue -- he travels the world and even married a Colts cheerleader -- but it comes with misconceptions.
"A lot of people hear you're the mascot and they're like, ‘What else do you do?'" Mock said.
He's a fulltime Colts marketing employee. Blue made 350 appearances last year, mainly at schools and hospitals. During one pep rally, he rappelled off a bank building in full fur.
Mock is up for almost anything, but he drew the line when two ardent Colts fans asked Blue to officiate at their wedding. He did perform at the reception.
Mock -- who got his start as Aubie the Tiger, Auburn's mascot -- devises a pregame skit for every home game. He uses friends, even his parents, as actors. Of course, they must sign waivers.
For the Dec. 27 game, Mock and a character he created called Air Blue staged a wrestling match against two Jets fans, played by friends. Blue climbed a ladder and jumped, body-slamming a groggy Jets fan laid out on a wooden table.
The table snapped in two. His friend cracked a rib.
"We kept up the performance but he was like, ‘Ohhh, you just killed me on that,'" Mock recalled. "We finished the skit, I got up in victory and moved on. He got carried off the field and we had some doctors look at him. But he's fine. That's pretty standard.
"We're not out there to crack ribs, but sometimes that happens when you're performing."
(Check out all of Blue's skits on his Colts page).
Mock has missed one preseason game in his four-year tenure, after his appendix ruptured.
Marrying the cheerleader
Ali Mock, 25, has heard all the lines about cheerleaders dating players.
"I tell people all the time they have strict rules against player and cheerleader fraternization," she said. "I always tell everybody I couldn't get a player so I got the next best thing. Trey hates it when I say that, but I think it's funny."
With the Colts on the road in December 2006, Blue and 12 cheerleaders visited military bases in Japan and Hawaii. Trey and Ali fell in love on that trip.
"I knew we had a mascot named Blue but I didn't know who was inside the suit," she said. "I had never seen him before until the airplane. He was just really funny, made me laugh so hard."
Aubie and Blue (played by Mock's friend) served as ring-bearers at their 2008 wedding.
Blue is such a presence in their lives, Ali said, "we always refer to him as another person living in our house." At home sometimes Mock will lean back, "pooch his stomach out" and act like he's about to belly shake.
"He forgets sometimes," Ali said. "And I'll say, ‘Are you in the suit right now?'"
Sunday's game will be Ali's last a cheerleader. Now a teacher's assistant, she plans to get her teaching certificate.
The mascot factory
A diver and track athlete at Walton, Mock never considered becoming a mascot until he attended Auburn's freshman orientation and saw Aubie perform. Mock's friends immediately told the natural jokester and dancer he should go for it.
He and two others helped Aubie win the 2003 national championship for mascots -- yes, there is one. It was the fifth of Aubie's sixth titles.
The character has proven to be a career launching pad.
"Between the Aubies and the Delaware mascots, those are two programs that their mascots go pro," Mock said, noting former Aubies work as Freddie Falcon (Atlanta Falcons) and Hooper (Detroit Pistons).
Mock did an internship with the Falcons, then got hired by the Buffalo Bills. But he was back at home, thinking about getting a regular job with his marketing degree, when the Colts invited him to apply. He beat out 57 other mascots.
"I got to sketch out and build the entire character from the ground up," said Mock, who plans to keep going as long as his knees and hips hold out.
His costume has a detachable mane and tail that comes in different colors. It is roomier than Aubie, but plenty hot. Mock loses 13 pounds of water weight every game.
"I am actually sponsored by Febreze," he said. "For good reason."
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