With about four minutes left in the first quarter of the New Orleans Saints‘ game against the Buffalo Bills, the CBS cameras turned to the seats to show some of the crowd while they plugged their fantasy football game. You all know how this goes — it is pretty much par for the course and is in no way abnormal.
This particular camera shot, however, was a little peculiar. It was strange because the camera appeared to show Rob Ryan and Sean Payton not on the sidelines coaching the Saints, but rather watching the game amongst the fans.
Very peculiar, indeed.
Fear not, Saints fans, as it was not the real Ryan and Payton. It just happened to be two fans who dressed up like the defensive coordinator and head coach. The fan dressed as Ryan had the trademark hair while the Payton lookalike sported the head coach’s visor cap. They definitely were not in the same league as, say, people who dress up like characters from the movie ‘The Big Lebowski’ and attend the festivals associated with that, but you could clearly see what they were going for.
I have previously addressed the Rob Ryan phenomenon, noting that he was becoming a bit of a thing down in New Orleans. It is not that dressing up and going to a Saints’ home game is all that uncommon, because you will see that at just about any Saints’ game in the Superdome. Rather, can you imagine New Orleans fans dressing up like former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnoulo? Can you imagine any other fans dressing up as any other defensive coordinator?
Who is out there dressing up like Monte Kiffin, Dick Lebeau or Wade Phillips?
You do not see this because no one loves their football team the way New Orleans does. It’s a special relationship, and it is no surprise that the citizens of the Big Easy are embracing the man who righted their defensive ship, who once gave a tour of his late 1990s Ford Econoline Van and showed up at a dive bar after a Week 1 victory and bought a round of drinks for everybody. With great power comes great responsibility.
Saints fans love their city and love their team like nobody else can. It’s not crazy — it’s just football.