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A Personal Definition of the “Who Dat Nation”, and what the Jacksonville Jaguars Can Learn From The New Orleans Saints
By MARLENE D. MALONE, , MOP Squad Sports Associate Editor in Chief
Jan 29, 2010 - 1:06:38 PM

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Hi kids and welcome to yet another edition of Generation X.  This time I have a rather serious topic to discuss with my readers.  As we all know, the New Orleans Saints will battle the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl on February 7th.  This promises to be an epic battle between two great teams.

This column is written to address several critics…not only of the Saints in general, but of me personally.  I’ve read many articles bashing the Saints saying the only reason they are doing so well is because of sympathy caused by Hurricane Katrina.  One article went even as far as to say the referees were biased against Minnesota because of that very sentiment about Katrina survivors.  That is such a load of garbage.

I have to wonder if these people saw the same game on television I did.  Brett Favre is arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL, but he did what comes natural in huge championship games:  he choked.  It was a tight game, but a fair game.  Truth be told, the Saints had more penalties called on them.  I think what amused me the most was reading the arguments stating how the game was won on a coin toss.  Gosh, anything to bash the underdog!  Let’s all accept the fact the Saints are going to Miami and be happy!

Now many people this season have claimed to be a member of what Gulf Coast natives refer to as the Who Dat Nation.  Most of these so-called fans have no idea what that means or what exactly is means to be a true Saints fan.  I’m sure most of you readers are now asking, “Okay Marlene, how do you know what it means to be a Saints fan and what is the Who Dat Nation?”

Well, in case most of you have forgotten, I proudly hail from a small town about an hour and a half east of New Orleans called Biloxi, Mississippi.  I can remember some of my earliest sports memories were of me and my dad watching football together Sunday afternoon.  Most of the time, the Saints were being broadcast.  True, during the 1970’s and 1980’s the Saints had a losing record, but it was that closeness with my dad that made watching the Saints special.  Sad to say my dad and I never were close otherwise, but I always knew I could count on watching football to have something to do with him where we weren’t at each other, even for a few hours. 

It also creates a bond with other Gulf Coast residents.  We all have been through other devastating storms before Katrina, and the one constant in sports has always been the Saints.  Even though I left the Gulf Coast in 1994, my heart has always been with the Saints.  Unfortunately, in North Florida, their games are not broadcast very often.  That was the major reason I had begun to follow the Jacksonville Jaguars.

To me, the Jaguars reminded me of the Saints in that they always have to struggle for respect.  I believe Wayne Weaver has made personnel decisions that have affected his team both positively and negatively.  The major issues right now with Jacksonville are (1) the people of this city have never bothered to properly support the team.  Unlike New Orleans fans, Jacksonville residents only come out when the team performs well, and (2) the coaching staff, including Head Coach Jack Del Rio, need to be replaced immediately.  Players need a disciplinarian, not a friend.  Tom Coughlin was fired from Jacksonville and he turns around to take the Giants to the Super Bowl.  Several players upon leaving the Jaguars sign with team that go to the Super Bowl.  Am I crazy, or does there seem to be a pattern here?

In summary, I have to say being a fan in general means while you cheer on a specific team, you still have respect for the competition and their abilities.  I see too many so-called fans who bash other teams without taking this into consideration.  As we all know, the NFL is ever-changing.  The guys you hiss and boo today will be the guys who end up on your team tomorrow.

Until next time, be kind to each other.

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