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Who needs a mascot when you have a wild animal?

Some Cleveland Browns fans credited a ‘rally skunk’ with their team’s big win on Sunday

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) calls signals during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 27.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) calls signals during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Cleveland, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. Cleveland won 23-17, and now the team’s fans have a rallying cry.

David Richard, Associated Press

Cleveland Browns fans went wild on Sunday when a wild animal found its way into the stands at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Videos shared on social media show people popping up from their seats to capture footage of the skunk, which, by comparison, appeared calm, cool and collected.

Although the skunk didn’t get to watch much of the game (it went into hiding under some stairs to evade potential captors), that didn’t stop some Browns supporters from crediting the animal with their team’s surprising overtime victory. The home team beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-17 after trailing for much of the second half.

“The era of the rally skunk has officially begun,” tweeted one fan.

What is a rally skunk?

The name “rally skunk” is a callback to another famous Cleveland critter: the rally possum. That animal appeared at the Browns stadium on Sept. 20, 2018, during the team’s first win in nearly two years.

“It returned two weeks later on the day of their 12-9 overtime triumph over the Baltimore Ravens,” CBS Sports reported.

After those big wins, Cleveland’s rally possum became an informal mascot. It appeared on T-shirts and even inspired a bobblehead toy.

What happened to the rally skunk?

It’s unclear if the rally skunk will gain as much fame as the rally possum, but it is clear that Browns fans have deeper affection for vermin than the average American.

The team is now 3-0 in games where wild animals find their way into the stands — and then into viral videos.

It’s possible that the rally skunk will be back later this season, since it remains on the loose. Hayden Grove, a reporter for Cleveland.com, followed the skunk around after the game and tweeted that it was roaming freely and enjoying leftover snacks.