Thursday, April 23, 2009

Saints Nation: Origins of WHO DAT?!

By request from "The Plaintiff", I have decided to share the origin of "Who Dat?" as the story has been told to me. Keep in mind this is a second hand story from the many knowledgeable Saints fans I've talked to, so PLEASE feel free to comment and share your "Who Dat?" origin story if it's different. The story starts in Patterson, Louisiana - home to former Saints' star running back Dalton Hilliard. In the late 70's/early 80's, Hilliard's high school team made it all the way to the Superdome for the state championship against John Curtis. Rumor has it that the Patterson Lumberjack fans brought a chant to New Orleans with them of "Who Dat say dey gonna beat dem Jacks". The chant followed Hilliard everywhere he went. After 4 years at LSU where the chant scored some popularity, Hilliard was drafted by the Saints. It is said that the chant followed him to New Orleans and spread like wildfire amongst the fans. One thing is for sure: Who Dat is of absolutely NO RELATION to the chant "Who Dey" used in Cincinnati.  There's also debate about which chant started first. "Who Dey" was used at some point in 1981 when the Bengals made the Superbowl. "Who Dat" started in Patterson prior to '81, but it wasn't adopted as a Saints cheer until years later when Hilliard joined the team. The disagreement on which one came first stems from the issue that while the Bengals used "Who Dey" prior to the Saints using "Who Dat", but the official "Who Dat" slogan was created in Louisiana before "Who Dey" existed. So we've got the eternal #21 to thank for the cheer. The term "Who Dat" is a shortened version of the official Saints cheer which goes: "Who Dat? Who Dat? Who Dat Say Dey Gonna Beat Dem Saints?"