Thunder, the Broncos’ horse, will gallop during Super Bowl 2014

NFL Super Bowl XLVIII will have another splendid equine appearing on Sunday besides the ones in Budweiser’s beloved Clydesdale ad. But this one will be live, in person, and on the playing field. His name is Thunder.

Report Source: MIKE KLIS of The Denver Post
Video Source: FOX 21 NEWS via YouTube

PHOTO: TANNEN MAURY / EPA
PHOTO: TANNEN MAURY / EPA
Ann Judge-Wegener rides the Denver Broncos mascot ‘Thunder’ onto the field before the start of the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. Jan. 19, 2014.

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Thunder, the Arabian gelding who serves as the Broncos’ mascot, will be at MetLife Stadium during the Super Bowl.

As we speak, Thunder is on a Fedex cargo plane, on his way to the Super Bowl.

But after he flies, Thunder will ride! Like all Fedex packages, the 900-pound Thunder must first stop in Memphis to get checked and tracked. He is scheduled to land at the Newark airport at about 5 p.m. EST.

After talking it over with league officials, Thunder, the Broncos’ Arabian gelding mascot, will lead the team onto the field at MetLife Stadium for the opening introductions to Super Bowl XLVIII.

And Thunder will be able to run out to the Broncos’ end zone whenever the team scores a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks.

He can’t run the full length of the field as he does following touchdowns in games played at Sports Authority Field at Mile High because the Super Bowl — in East Rutherford, N.J. — will be played on a neutral field.

Thunder II, in his 10th season with the team, takes a ride on the playing field after every Broncos touchdown. He’s been the most overworked mascot in the NFL this year as the Broncos scored a league-record 606 points and a league-record 75 touchdowns.

He was the personal riding horse of Sharon Magness Blake for five years before she turned him over to the team in 2004.

The late Thunder I, who served as the Broncos’ for 11 years, attended the Broncos’ Super Bowls in San Diego in 1998 and Miami in 1999. He passed away in 2009.

Thunder II has only performed at home games, but the Broncos received permission from the NFL to bring him along for the Super Bowl.

FOX 21 NEWS VIDEO
Yep…Broncos mascot ‘Thunder’ is flying FedEx

FLYING HIGH

Speaking of flying (but not riding), let’s give equal time to the Seattle Seahawks. Seahawks mascot Taima is sweeping into town to lead his team into MetLife Stadium Sunday evening.

Taima, named by Seahawks fans — which incidentally means “thunder” — quickly became a fixture of Seahawks Sundays. Since 2007 Taima has been the first one out of the tunnel leading the team on to the field before each home game.

The 9-year-old augur hawk sports a distinctive black head with a unique cream-colored throat with a dark stripe.

Taima is handled by Master Falconer Trainer/Handler, David Knutson from Spokane, Washington.

Taima the Hawk leads Seattle Seahawks including cornerback Richard Sherman on to the field before an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Seattle. Photo by Elaine Thompson/AP.
PHOTO: ELAINE THOMPSON/AP
Taima the Hawk leads Seattle Seahawks including cornerback Richard Sherman on to the field before an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Seattle.

The New York Daily News reports:

Taima has to keep his nerve as he navigates 12-foot spires of flame, screaming cheerleaders, booming fireworks and thousands of crazed fans [then back] to his trainer’s gloved hand.

Both mascots were handpicked for their ability to deal with loud noises and the super spectacle that is NFL football.

Thunder the horse had to take classes to teach him to run over the white yard lines on the football field.

Read more about Thunder at the following source links:

Thunder, the Broncos mascot, on his way to Super Bowl, NFL says he can gallop on field; by Mike Klis; The Denver Post; Jan. 30, 2014

Denver Broncos mascot Thunder the Horses heading to the Super Bowl; by Mike Klis; The Denver Post; Jan. 22, 2014

Read more about Thunder and Taima at:

Denver Broncos’ and Seattle Seahawks’ mascots head to town for Super Bowl; by Ginger Adams Otis; New York Daily News; Jan. 30, 2014

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