Column: I’m a Who Dat, not a hater

Scott Boatright

By T. Scott Boatright

First and foremost, I’m a black-and-gold blooded Saints fan. I’m also a huge New Orleans Pelicans fan, and I’ve loved the Houston Astros since first attending some of their summer home games in the Astrodome in the late 1960s.

That said, as I was watching the MLB All-Star Game earlier this week, wearing an Astros baseball cap, I started chuckling to myself thinking about some good-natured ribbing I take from good friends sometimes.

You see, I might be more than a fan, I’m a true fanatic. And I like to “gear up” to support the teams I follow.

And while I love the Saints, Pelicans and Astros most of all when it comes to “The Big Three” pro sports, I have been a longtime fan of other teams, too. To the point I’ve been accused of “loving and following every team.”

That’s not true, but in some cases I have more than a few. But I have my reasons.

The NFL is my first and strongest sports love. But I’m older than the Saints. I’m also a big Packers fan, going back to flashes of memories of sitting in my father’s lap cheering on his favorite team before the Who Dats came to town. He loved players like LSU’s Jimmy Taylor (one of the original Saints via expansion draft), Bart Starr, Willie Davis, Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer (a great author, offensive guard and kicker) and Tulane’s Max McGee. 

But Green Bay is No. 3 on my NFL countdown, because they’re an NFL rival of the Saints. No. 2 are the Pittsburgh Steelers, and yes, that’s primarily because of Terry Bradshaw, although I remember following the Steelers when Bradshaw was still the No. 3 QB behind Terry Hanratty and Joe Gilliam.

The Titans are next because they’re the old Oilers, and both my parents had siblings raising families in Houston, hence my love of the Astros.

Those are my NFL “Big 4,” but there are other teams I follow, too.

I like the Ravens because I was hurt at the way Robert Irsay snuck the Colts out of town to Indy. You see, I’m a Colts fan, too, because of two quarterbacking greats. And I’m not talking about Peyton Manning. My love for the Colts other than those simple, crisp uniforms is because of Johnny Unitas and Bert Jones, a former Ruston Bearcat and LSU great.

The Chiefs are up there because of Buck Buchanan (my dad always loved Grambling players, too) and Hank Stram. The late Joe Delaney only solidified my love for KC.

I still like the Dolphins because of Don Shula and the fact he first coached the Colts to a Super Bowl and largely because of the way he built his Dolphins teams around his players. With Larry Czonka, Jim Kiick and Mercury Morris, his Dolphins ran. With Dan Marino, Mark Duper, Mark Clayton, Nat Moore and Tony Nathan, they passed the ball.

The Commodores (Redskins) I follow because of original Saints QB Billy Kilmer (who unexpectedly beat out Gary Cuozzo for that role) leading Washington to a Super Bowl against the Dolphins, and later because of the running of John Riggins before Doug Williams made history with his Super Bowl win over the Broncos.

I’ve pulled for the Raiders because of their attitude and players like the “Mad Bomber” — Darryl Lamonica and Kenny “The Snake” Stabler, and Philadelphia because of those great Dick Vermeil-era uniforms.

And I’m not a Broncos hater because the colors and uniforms of my high school team were based on the 1970s Denver look.

In the MLB, the Yankees are behind the Astros because of those great late ‘70s teams, followed by a tie between the Braves and Cubs, thanks to cable TV. I went to Braves games as a young teen for two summers when my father worked on a post-graduate degree at Georgia Tech, and my mother and I would drop my sister off with relatives in Jonesboro and Ruston before heading east to spend a few weekends to attend games with my dad.

I also like the Orioles because my father wanted me to be Brooks Robinson and play third base as he did when I was learning the game and bought me multiple training books by Robinson, and the Royals.

NBA-wise I loved the Jazz as a teen before hating them after they left New Orleans. I was a huge Karl Malone Fan but never could pull for the team again.

My second favorite pro hoops team was originally my first, going back to the days of Bill Russell, “Hondo” Havlicek and Dave Cowens.

Next come the Bulls, who I especially became a fan of as a young adult because “I always liked Mike,” still the best in my mind along with Pistol Pete Maravich.

And finally the Warriors, because of those 70s teams and watching Rick Barry’s “granny-style” under-handed free throws.

I realize liking and following that many teams is offensive to some, but that’s OK. I’m a lover, not a hater, and that’s all right with me.


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