New Orleans Loves the Saints

Would you like to be dealt a blackjack hand by Drew Brees? Watch Reggie Bush spin the roulette wheel or have Jimmy Graham pass you the craps dice? Just visit the New Orleans Harrah’s on a Sunday during football season; casino employees are allowed to wear NFL jerseys, a policy 95 percent take advantage of. Starting on Saturday night and going through Sunday, the casino floor turns into the stands at the Superdome. All but one of the participating employees I saw last weekend chose a Saints jersey — there was a 3-Card Poker dealer wearing a Mike Wallace (Steelers) jersey. Most of them chose some variation of a Brees jersey — home, away, Pro Bowl, pink, Super Bowl patch, “Cool Brees.” The best I saw was a senior woman dealing blackjack with an Archie Manning jersey.

I asked a dealer if the casino handed them out or if all the employees already owned a jersey. “Oh, no, they don’t give them to us,” he said. “Everyone has a Saints jersey.” You would have thought I asked whether everyone owned their own toothbrush.

“Are the Saints a big deal around here?” I asked one dealer who was wearing a Deuce McAllister jersey. She picked up on my sarcasm, but a fellow player did not. I wasn’t sure if he was going to die from shock or laughter, but eventually he was able to speak and say, “Boy, you must not be from these parts.”

I picked up on the Saints dedication right away, as my cab driver from the airport ranted about Roger Goodell and his “unfair” suspensions as we passed the Superdome. Then I remembered the Super Bowl is there this year. Will Goodell even go? He might want to wear one of those masquerade masks they sell near Bourbon Street.

My artsy photograph makes it seem like the text — in support of the Saints head coach — is on a banner behind an airplane, but it’s actually on a t-shirt.

Some non-New Orleans notes…

Employee of the Week: Joe Buck, FOX. He called the NFL game between the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers and the playoff baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, both in San Francisco, on the same day. The home team lost both games.

Tweet of the Week: Richard Sherman taunting Tom Brady after Seattle’s upset win over New England last Sunday. If this wasn’t the reason Twitter was invented, I don’t know what was.

Stat of the Week: The entire AFC East is 3-3. As this Wall Street Journal article notes (no, I didn’t write it, but that’s so nice of you for thinking that!), this is the latest in the season — since the current divisional format was put in place in 2002 — that an entire division was tied. There are 11 3-3 teams (previous high was 7), no winless teams, and just one undefeated team. If you’ve thought it’s been a particularly tough year for Survivor/Knockout pools, here’s proof.

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