NDIANAPOLIS – Before there was Blue, there was Huddles.
Shortly after the Colts arrived in Indianapolis, Barb Spurlin’s husband, Paul called the team asking to send a representative to a parade at a firefighter’s convention they were organizing.
“They were like, ‘we’re still trying to get everything taken care of. We really don’t have anybody, but we do have a mascot,'” Barb’s son, Kevin McGovern remembers. “He’s like, ‘well, can we get the mascot?’ And they were like, ‘we don’t have anybody to be the mascot.'”
Paul Spurlin said he would be the mascot, but he was six-foot-four. The costume required someone shorter, so he volunteered his wife.
“Mom was at the right height and got the gig,” McGovern said.
The 43-year-old signed a contract officially becoming Huddles for the 1984 season.
“Her favorite was anytime she could get a high-five from one of the players and then the kids that wanted to come up and get pictures with her,” said McGovern. “Anything with kids, that made her day too.”
McGovern’s day was made as well. The teenager accompanied his mom along the sideline at the Hoosier Dome to make sure she didn’t get run over.
“The outfit was just a big, giant helmet with just a little screen at the top of it, so her vision was pretty tunnel vision,” McGovern said. “I was 19-years-old and my mom’s the mascot and I got sideline tickets to the game, I was like, ‘man, she was my rockstar.'”
Garrett Lutz was Huddles for the 1985 season. When he moved overseas, he suggested his younger brother, Matt, a student a North Central High School, take over.
“It’s kind of like wearing the Santa Claus outfit, “Matt Lutz joked. “I mean you’re making a dream true for some of these little kids that are dying to meet Huddles. I’m naturally a pretty shy guy and there, nobody can see who’s inside there and you can just let loose and dance and twirl and fall down, whatever it was and have no worries about it.”
And Huddles was prone to falling down, not being as agile a mascot as Blue.
“Kind of more like Eeyore,” Lutz said. “He was very clumsy. He had large hooves. Large feet. A large costume that was very round and he wasn’t very mobile, so it was a bit more challenging than what Blue gets to do.”
For both Barb Spurlin and Matt Lutz, playing Huddles was one of the highlights of their lives.
“I think it’s pretty special,” said Lutz. “Not many kids get a chance to go out and do what I got to do whether they be in high school, college or afterwards. I mean it’s one out of 70-thousand people in that building roughly that gets that honor and it was pretty special.”
“I look at what Blue is today,” McGovern said. “How big that’s blown up, it’s just amazing that she may have had a little bit to do with how that’s grown.”