PETA may protest, and an occasional dowager may be frightened by his grandmother-sized teeth, but all LSU fans know that when you say “Mike” in Baton Rouge, you’re not talking about the scourge of the Utah Jazz.
The patriarch of the Bengal dynasty was first introduced to Tiger Stadium at the LSU-Lousiana-Lafayette game in 1936, and when the Baton Rouge Bayou Boys wound up on the long side of a 93 to 0 count, our guest from the jungle was set up for life.
Of course since tigers don’t live forever, in the intervening 76 years there has been more than one “Mike,” with the current Mike VI holding court since 2007. Like his predecessors Mike III and Mike V, Mike VI has roared his approval when LSU won National Championships under his reign. But although he also enjoys a nice juicy steak, he’s never once—so far—taken a bite out of any of the opposing players who have to pass by his cage on the way to and from the visitors’ locker room.
What’s rather strange is that in all the LSU gameday football programs we’ve seen, the one on this page was apparently the only one to feature a picture of Mike I on the cover. Perhaps the cover designers were simply heeding the Commandment about graven images, and let’s not forget that the selection of each new “Mike” is signaled by a puff of white smoke from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. Whatever you might want to read into this semi-sacred ritual that seems to take its cue from the Vatican, it’s clear that LSU fans take their mascot VERY seriously.
Click here to buy a poster of this program cover.