Who Dat: The Story of My First Saints Game
Am I doing that right?
So I went to my first Saints game tonight. It was a religious experience.
Seriously, I saw the Pope. All right, not that pope — but it was one of four or five “Saints Popes,” who are mainstays in the Superdome and sit in the same section.
Whenever I meet someone new, one of their first questions is, “Are you a Saints fan?” I tell them I just moved down here not too long ago, but am not adverse to it.
Overall, I don’t think I could have been to a better sermon than I did on Sunday.
From start (a Better Than Ezra benefit concert for their charity, in which I got in for free) to finish (Drew Brees’ game-winning 80-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Spiller in overtime), the experience was top-notch. Heck, even our seats — which were at the very top row of the upper deck — allowed us our own private “suite” area (OK. OK. There was a legit metal bar in front of us and a landing behind us, so we could stand).
There were two things that really stood out to me the most Sunday night as I took in the whole experience: Saints fans are unlike any others I’ve been around (and that includes my trip to the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Atlanta) and as much as this topic has been belabored about ad nauseam, New Orleans pulls together in those hours.
An incredible sense of camaraderie surrounded the tailgate and permeated inside the stadium. People of all walks of life love their Saints and just want to see a win. I heard the spirits of New Orleans residents are on high the day following a win and there is just a new aura about the city. So far I hadn’t experienced that, since there were nothing but losses before Sunday night. Then Brees found Spiller on a wheel route and the running back slipped one tackle and was off to the races to pay dirt.
As we filed down the ramps of the Superdome, cheers of “Who Dat” rang through the corridors. Then they got louder as we left the stadium. I couldn’t help but join in as I made my way through the crowd and walked back to my downtown apartment.
There was definitely a different energy around the city today. As I walked to work, there were some people saying “Who Dat” to each other. Certain restaurants offered lunchtime specials thanks to the win.
And just to be clear: My No. 1 team is stil the Philadelphia Eagles. I had some great memories watching their games. And while I’m a fan of the Baltimore Ravens because of Joe Flacco (University of Delaware connection), No. 2 team is still up for grabs. Just might be the Saints now.