Who dat.... For years it was pretty simple to ignore the New Orleans Saints fan chant because the Saints were, well... the Saints. But these Saints aren't those Saints anymore. These Saints are really good, and really entertaining, and really could be playing in the Super Bowl in two weeks. This is forcing some of us to come to terms with "who dat."
Now, I'm not currently, nor have I ever been, a retired spinster English teacher. Nonetheless, I generally prefer my words and phrases to have some fairly obvious connection with accepted standards of grammar.
Who dat? It don't.
According to several sites on the always-reliable Internet, the phrase "who dat" has its roots in minstrel shows and vaudeville acts in the early 1900s, and became something of a fixture with some jazz and big-band acts in the 1930s. Over the years, some historically black schools in Louisiana adopted the phrase as a cheer for their sports teams, and in the 1980s it caught on with Saints fans.
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I'm a little uncomfortable with minstrel shows, but I believe in jazz even more than I believe in grammar. So if "who dat" worked for the Count Basie Orchestra, it works for me.
More recently, the phrase has reportedly been used several times in hip-hop lyrics, which offends my rapidly aging sensibilities. But what can I do?
Now you might be wondering why I went to such great lengths to say: "I'm an out-of-touch Midwestern white guy."
But to my way of thinking it was a really long way to say: "Even if you don't have a rooting interest in either of today's football games, they're going to be fun to watch. Even though they're playing in domes."
Who dat? The quarterbacks, dat's who.
Brett Favre, Vikings. Yes, his annual retirement Kabuki is painful. Yes, I'm one of the many churlish whiners who wished he had ridden off into the sunset on his mower last summer.
But you have to admit he makes a game entertaining. He isn't precise. He isn't impassive. He isn't predictable. And that's why he's fun.
But if we have to hear about how much he's relishing this opportunity one more time....
Most over-analyzed trait: The spirited butt slap.
Drew Brees, Saints. Remember last week, when lots of people were sure the Saints were going to get bounced out of the playoffs by the Cardinals? Maybe not. Brees led New Orleans to three touchdowns in the first quarter, five in the first half. No interceptions. No sacks.
Really, it was nothing new. He passed for more than 300 yards seven times this season. Completed 70.6 percent of his passes. Took the Saints to 13 consecutive wins.
Plus, he's never retired.
Most over-analyzed trait: His height (He's only 6 feet tall!).
Peyton Manning, Colts. The best of the best. He won another MVP award this season. He's incredibly talented, always seems to make the right play. And we all love him in commercials. He's just a big lovable lug. If he throws four interceptions today, somebody else will get the blame.
Most over-analyzed trait: Hey, his dad and brother were both NFL quarterbacks, too....
Mark Sanchez, Jets. The other guy. He's the one who's never been an MVP, never been to a Pro Bowl. He's a rookie who's supposed to do as little as possible. And that might make him the most important quarterback today. To his credit, last week when it was time to panic, he kept the Jets on course.
Most over-analyzed trait: He doesn't really like Pete Carroll.
Run 'n' Gun is The Eagle Sports staff's weekly look at the offbeat side of sports.