By John Sigler |
April 9, 2021 6:40 am
The Who Dat Nation is a big-tent fandom, with no shortage of famous supporters. From actors and athletes to politicians and musicians, celebrity Saints fans come from all walks of life — and quite a few of them hail from New Orleans and the communities surrounding it around the Gulf South. Like all fans, their following might be more casual or committed from one to the next, but they’re all fond of the black and gold. Here’s a list of 25 of the Saints’ most famous fans, ordered alphabetically by their last names:
A prominent developer and producer in the video gaming industry famous for his work with the “Unreal” and “Gears of War” franchises, Bleszinski picked up his Saints support from his wife, who is from New Orleans. He’s also known to throw a bone to the Steelers; a personal friend is also a minority owner of the black and yellow. But he credits the Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV win with sparking his love of the sport.
Buffett is a common sight at the Superdome and around New Orleans; he performed the national anthem before the 2018 NFC title game and continued to harangue the NFL for its bungled no-call at Jazz Fest the following year.
A well-known political consultant and media commentator, Carville is a Louisiana native and big-time LSU fan. He’s also proudly celebrated the Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV victory and rained fire and brimstone down on the NFL for its handling of the 2018 NFC championship game no-call.
Chesney is tight with Sean Payton, watching games from Payton’s personal suite at the Superdome and occasionally visiting training camp practice. He was also invited to join festivities in the Saints locker room after their victory in the 2009 NFC Championship Game. He’s not above playing fast and loose with his loyalties, though; Chesney frequently begins and finishes tours in Boston, taking time to mingle with his friends on the Patriots and Red Sox rosters.
Harry Connick Jr.
Among the many New Orleans natives on this list, Connick is unique in his constant presence with the team. Whether he’s taking in practice or appearing on the Saints’ official podcast to chat about recent happenings with the team, the award-winning musician is always eager to show off his fandom.
One of the greatest mixed martial artists of his generation, Cormier grew up in Lafayette, La. and still keeps up with the Saints in his retirement from the sport. He looked to Drew Brees as an example of how to represent himself, saying in 2016: “You try to carry yourself in the way of a professional. When I watch one of my favorite guys, a little guy you guys may know, his name is Drew Brees. He’s always dressed to the 9’s. He doesn’t go to a press conference in a t-shirt with jeans, he’s got his nice suit on, always carries himself in a professional manner and I try to take the same approach as most professional athletes.”
While promoting the film “Draft Day” back in 2014, in which he portrayed a fictional Cleveland Browns general manager, Costner opened an interview by expressing his Saints fandom, telling the Columbus Dispatch: “The Saints suffered infinitely more than the Browns have. The Browns have been a pillar of this league for a long, long time. I don’t know about suffering. People go, they boo and they cheer. They have their beer, and they go home. But what they are is, they’re loyal. I love that they fill that stadium, so yeah, I would love to see them win. Just the way I loved seeing the Saints win.”
A proud New Orleanian and close friend with Drew Brees, DeGeneres has frequently hosted Brees and his family on her eponymous talk show. She’s also visited Saints practices during training camp and toured the team facilities.
Another New Orleans native, Duplass grew up during a tough time in Saints history and takes pride in staying true to the black and gold, recalling: “I’ve been a fan since the early 80s and they were wearing the bagheads in the stands and embarrassed to even be Saints fans,” Duplass said. “We had quarterbacks taking off their helmets with red faces because they were still drunk on Sunday morning. I’m diehard.” Since then he’s gone on to launch “The League,” a successful comedy circling the sometimes-absurd fantasy football scene.
Efron had an awkward first meeting with Sean Payton, but they got to know each other better over dinner and he’s since gone on to visit the team facility and observe practice. Efron recalled: “I also got to go to their practice field because Sean invited me to their practice field, I got to throw the football with Drew Brees, which was super fun, it was sick.”
The Hall of Fame quarterback grew up an hour outside New Orleans in rural Mississippi, and grew up as a Saints fan; a relationship he not-so-secretly maintained after turning pro himself. He’s also remained tight with Drew Brees over the years, despite his tough loss to the Saints in the legendary 2009 NFC championship game.
Goodman’s family is from a bit further up the Mississippi River, in St. Louis; when the Cardinals left town in 1988, he took up rooting interests with the Saints, and continued to support them after the Rams arrived in 1995. He’s since moved to New Orleans and had a front-row seat to their Super Bowl run, telling ESPN: “It started during the season. There was something going on. Each week, the local television stations built it up. It was just a crazy confidence. They were always a fourth-quarter team. That’s kind of a tradition. You knew they would pull it out some way or another. It was just amazing, and the party kept going.”
The celebrity chef established his credentials quickly in the Sean Payton era; he included an offer to cook the first meal Drew and Brittany Brees sat down for in their new home if they agreed to sign for the Saints during their recruiting visit back in 2006. Since then he’s gone on to pal around with Payton and film promotional videos for the team, while also engaging with other fans on social media.
Another New Orleanian hailing from the Ninth Ward, Larroquette is known as one of the more versatile actors around with a decades-long history of roles in film, television, and live theater.
The New York filmmaker is best known for his Knicks fandom and appearances at Giants games, but he’s also developed a relationship with the Saints after filming several documentaries around New Orleans. He’s recently spoken at team meetings on Sean Payton’s invitation.
A New Orleans native, Mackie’s star has risen in Hollywood with prominent acting roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Avengers” films, and he recently released his own feature miniseries on Disney. He’s often worn Saints jerseys into interviews and late-night TV spots and is known to spar with rival Falcons fans on Twitter.
Neville is one of many successful musicians with New Orleans roots, and he’s still an avid Saints fan. He’s been around long enough to remember when the fanbase’s iconic “Who Dat chant” was first established: “I’ve been hearing ‘Who Dats’ all my life. My mom used to tell us about “Who Dat” when I was a little boy. It’s part of my history.”
One of the biggest names in tennis recently showed off her fantastic Saints letterman jacket, covered in the signature fleur-de-lis and black and gold detailing. There aren’t many athletes active right now who have experienced more success; her recent 23-game winning streak included a stunning sweep victory over Serena Williams in the Australian Open semifinals.
“The Wire” star and New Orleans native is a prominent voice in the Who Dat Nation, often calling in to sports talk radio shows, ESPN, NFL Network, and generally making the media rounds when he’s not interacting with other fans on Twitter. He’s also one of the better-informed Saints fans you’ll catch online, keeping up with the latest roster moves and watching games with a sharp eye during the season.
Pitt and his family owned a French Quarter townhouse for years, and he still keeps a close eye on the Saints. He’s talked about the team’s highs and lows in interviews and made aside comments about feeling down after a tough loss, while remaining quick to defend Drew Brees after an ugly game here or there. He also narrated an NFL Films “America’s Game” feature on the 2009 Super Bowl XLIV-winning team.
Another UFC lightweight champion from Lafayette, Poirier is preparing for his third match with Conor McGregor (each fighter has won a previous bout, setting up the much-anticipated trilogy). But Poirier has enjoyed many Saints games from the stands, surrounded by other fans; he lucked into a seat for their memorable comeback win over Washington in 2017.
The Saints endeared themselves to Quaid while he was filming “Everybody’s All-American” in Baton Rouge in the late 1980’s, and he’s kept up with the team ever since. He’s discussed his fandom during interviews on ESPN’s NFL Live and in promoting movies he’s shot in Louisiana.
The “Good Morning America” host wears her fandom on her sleeve, and she won’t be seen in anything else. After the Jets upset the Saints back in 2013 (yes, the cursed Josh Hill end-around game) her New Yorker coworkers tried to get the jump on her: “I work with a lot of people who are Jets fans so when I came in they had me put on a Jets hat. They wanted me to tweet it but I will not be seen wearing anything other than Saints gear.”
The pop music icon grew up in Kentwood, La., and even though she lives in Los Angeles with two young sons who were quick to adopt the Rams upon the team’s relocation, she remains a supporter of the black and gold; Spears recorded a memorable Super Bowl ad celebrating her Saints fandom.
The “Million Dollar Baby” actress joined her “P.S. I Love You” costar Harry Connick Jr. at Super Bowl XLIV, which sold her on becoming a Saints fan for life. She’s since made the trip to New Orleans to tour the Superdome before games, often showing off her Drew Brees jersey.
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