The streets of New Orleans empty while the Saints are playing. People pack into bars and crowd around their TVs. You know the deal: The Saints aren't just a football team here — they're a part of the culture. But not everyone in New Orleans is a Saints fan. The anti-Saints are out there, even if they're rarely given a chance to talk about it. Meet three of the people you might call "Screw Dats."
Why don't they love the Saints?
Kerry Jordan Clemmensen, Kenner: "I just don't care about football. I grew up in a family that didn't watch sports, married a man who doesn't watch sports and just never really got into it. The bounty stuff is hard to overlook. Grown men acting like that?"
Justin Maxwell, Mid-City: "I love sports in general, and football in particular. I'm just more vested in a good contest than in having a contest validate my region. Perhaps this is because I grew up in [Buffalo] Bills' territory in the early '90s, when they were almost winning Super Bowls, and then I moved to Minneapolis in the late '90s when [the Minnesota Vikings] were also almost winning Super Bowls. I seem to value the kickers more than everybody else. Probably because of all this."
Lizy Freudmann, Lower Garden District: "When I was little, like 2, and my dad and grandpa would watch football, I would say that they were 'watching men go boom' — which is more or less the same way I feel about it now."
How do they handle being around Saints fans?
Freudmann: "Even people I am close with don't have patience for my ambivalence about the Saints, and rather than be the Debbie Downer, I usually just sit it out."
Maxwell: "They don't ask, and I don't tell. I am occasionally tempted to shout 'Go Pack!' in crowded movie theaters, though."
What do they do during Saints games?
Freudmann: "It's a great time to go to the grocery store."
Clemmensen: "We either stay home watching geek TV, or we go shopping, because there is next to no one in any of the stores."
Freudmann: "The stores are empty and they're not playing that awful music. They're playing the game, so I can at least get an idea of what's going on, because I know that it is important to people, which is important to me."
Clemmensen: "Or go to the movies! Here, in this order: Eating in non-sports restaurants, shopping and going to the movies. Do all things that get crowded otherwise."
Maxwell: "I really focus on sports I can watch from my couch. For a few years it was auto racing, because the droning noise would lull me to sleep, then someone would crash and explode, the announcers would scream to wake me up, I'd watch the instant replay six times and go back to sleep. Live sports are often disappointing, but the occasional lacrosse game still calls to me."
Do they ever cheer for the Saints?
Maxwell: I believe Mr. Burns from The Simpsons once said: 'Way to go, Local Sports Team!' As happens far too often, he communicates my sentiments well."