Bill Byrne did some good things as Nebraska's athletic director: skyboxes, HuskerVision, and Haymarket Park. He also made a few mistakes as well, such as failing to keep football facilities competitive with the rest of college football. One of his bigger mistakes though was trying to replace Herbie Husker with that infernal blow-up doll Lil Red.
I never really understood the logic behind replacing Herbie with Lil Red. Did Herbie's overalls portray a hick, backwards image? Perhaps. But Lil Red wears overalls too. Did Herbie's costumes get a little worn out? Under Byrne's watch, Herbie started to resemble Raggedy Andy becoming softer and more out of shape. Steve Pederson did a nice job with redesigning Herbie, and he even won Capitol One's "Mascot of the Year" in 2006.
Lil Red has two tricks...thumping around inside the plastic suit like he's having a seizure, and then spinning around and jumping up and down on his head. That's it. He can't really move about in the stands. He's supposed to be "kid friendly", but I've seen kids run away frightened by the oversized abomination. Everyday Should Be Saturday called him a "mutant" and "Satanic". He's even been nominated as one of "eight mascots that need to die". (I've always thought that the best way to get rid of Lil Red would be to take him out to Boulder and let Ralphie gouge him.) (Disclaimer: Just inflate the suit without anybody inside; we're only out to get rid of the cosutme.)
I thought that by now, he'd have faded off as a fad that came and went like Cabbage Patch Kids, disco, and the mullet. But now comes word that somehow Lil Red has been nominated for the "Mascot Hall of Fame". (Side note: What the heck do we need a Mascot Hall of Fame for anyway?)
The other nominees seem worthy: Michigan State's Sparty, Miami's Ibis, the Seattle Mariners' Moose. Previous inductees include the San Diego Chicken and Philly Phanatic. No argument there. But Lil Red? Puhhhhhhleeeze!