Who Dat? Geaux Saints! (Dedicated to Carey Alice Tews)
First, congratulations for the New Orleans Saints on winning the Super Bowl. I wanted them to but didn’t expect them too. I’m glad because they deserve it, and dare I say are entitled to one. In spite of their mostly crappy defensive showing at the game.
(I have lots of pictures, but they may not be on Flickr for a few days.)
As late as Thursday morning I was still unsure I could go to the game. I was told I might have ticket(s) available to me but not where or how many or even a guarantee. I wasn’t worried because even if I had one, I knew some other people who were going to the game. I ended up going — if you know where Evan usually sits, it was two sections over and five rows higher: just under the scoreboard on the far side even with the sideline. Pretty much the worst seat in the house. But, it’s the SuperBowl. I wish I had gotten a ton of tickets because I had lots of friends who wanted them, but my Dolphins rep said I was lucky to get even one ticket considering the waiting list had over 5,000 people on it for just a few hundred tickets for the home crowd. Most were singles scattered about the arena. Again, it’s the SuperBowl.
I ended up going in one car with Evan. With parking passes at $75 for the parking all the way at 199th Street and the Turnpike in the lots on either side of the Turnpike, two cars was a joke of a poor idea. The closer lots were $250 and $500. He was due at my house at 10am, but arrived at 930. We went to breakfast at Original House of Pancakes, then to Publix to buy food thanks to the slight relaxing of the no-tailgating rule. We then went back to my house to load the car.
We left my house a little after 11am, arriving at the stadium parking area near noon. The lot wasn’t that full despite having opened at 11am. It didn’t get full until close to 1pm. Note to self for next time. We ended up having a French Canadian park next to me, and I only point it out because after the game he was pissing on my tire. Seriously. (Evan claims it was the tree near my car, but I disagree.)
We prepared to go in, ditching all camera cases, binocular cases, and everything else that was on the banned list. The list that they changed three times this week. Not cool. We finally decided to go into the fan area and kill time, as you can only sit in the parking lot and be bored for so long — without a tailgate it’s just not so fun. And we kept getting pestered by people selling legitimate items (lanyards, programs) and counterfeit items (hats. T-shirts, towels, lanyards).
¨We went in, got in the security queue. They first make sure you have a ticket, then they glance at your for obvious no-nos such as large bags, coolers, mortar shells. Next up they check your ticket again, make you throw away all food, water, etcetera (in spite of the instructions saying sealed bottles of water were okay). Then you get patted down. Then you go through airport style security. I emptied my pockets and threw everything into the bucket as instructed. Went through, all was well. Evan’s belt buckle (smaller than mine) kept setting it off, so he got a hand-wand search. We collected our stuff and went through. Only then did I realize in my other pocket I still had a pack of 4-AA batteries. Nice job by the metal detector. Fail. They were handing out Pepsi Max Zero for free on the way in. We then went to the port-a-john which was repulsive by any description. I only mention it because you figure the NFL which is so image conscious, might have had someone there to clean them. After that, I showed Evan the Super Bowl Ring collection (see ProBowl post). We meandered about, watched the tail end of the Daughtry concert (from behind the stage as we didn’t have a ticket). Next, we went into the merchandise store. Sadly, they had nothing left in my size. Judging by the $35 t-shirts, $80 and $130 polo-shirts, and $150 hoodies, and $600 jackets walking out the door, you’d never know the economy was in bad shape.
After that we went into the stadium where our tickets were check again. We wandered a lap around the lower bowl peeked out into the Stadium and shot some photos. I found an $80 shirt in my size that should have cost $25 tops but I bought it anyway. Then after that, we went up to our bowl where we took a lap or two. A number of Saints fans were thanking us for our city showing them hospitality. (I should mention that we didn’t coordinate it but both wore Dolphins stuff — maybe 20 people in the arena did). I like the Saints fans and it’s cool to hear those Cajun accents.
We eventually worked our way to our respective seats.¨C16C ¨C17C In the arena, they showed a tape of parts of the Daughtry concert and also the Steve Winwood concert. Later, there were warm-ups and finally Queen Latifah came out and sang American the Beautiful. She was followed by Carrie Underwood performing the National Anthem. So boring a singer is she. They should have reversed them. That was followed by a fly-over by F18’s (I think they were anyway). Then kickoff. One fan mentioned the stars were aligned for a New Orleans win, and I hoped he was right.
We were in the Saints half of the stadium — most of the tickets clearly went to the Saints organization. Maybe 90/10 Saints fans. Oddly, in the Colts section it was 70/30 so the stadium was very Saint heavy. I never want to hear “”Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? Who dat? Who dat?” again. Ever. Seriously. The guy next to me (left) was ornery as hell. He became more and more friendly as he consumed more and more beer. I think his wife grew jealous because as he got drunker and drunker, he kept hugging me (something I don’t like strangers to do). She was pregnant and he was very happy I gave her my fries when she got tired of the glacial concession lines. On the right side I had two Eagles fans. I mentioned my long-suffering friend Tom and we talked Jeff Feagles, Pumpy Tudors, and Donovan McNabb.
Thanks to the Eagles fan for that fine joke. Halftime was The Who in a spectacular light, laser, and fireworks show. Evan and I took lots of pictures and I’m glad he did too because this is when my batteries died and replacing them in the dark was difficult. Two minutes may not sound long but for a ten-minute show it is.
The Saints decided to play football the second half, thank the football gods. Their defense was still weak but overall it was a more balanced game. If their defense had played harder, it could have been a blowout. I felt very detached from the whole game, and it was a bit tiring since our entire section stood the entire game. As the game ended, with about 30 second to go, Evan and I headed downstairs trying to stay in sight of each other as we made our respective ways to the down ramp. We made it to the bottom of the stadium ramp at about 10pm and ran to the car. Because of some fancy and possibly illegal driving we got home before 11pm.
I’m tired so I’m not posting more but thought I’d get that first post out there.