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Fri January 10, 2014
Seattle Vs. New Orleans: How The Football Foes Measure Up Off the Field
The Seahawks will play the New Orleans Saints at the Clink this weekend, but it's clear both teams' fan fever runneth over the football field and deep in their hometowns.
So we wanted to know what off-field bragging rights each team might have. Who has it better at home? And whose mascot reigns supreme? We teamed up with WWNO Public Radio in New Orleans to consider the facts.
Their Sir Saint/Gumbo Vs. Our Blitz, The Seahawk
NOLA: Saints owner Tom Benson just doesn’t have a knack for mascots. Is there a reason Gumbo the goofy Saints dog is, well, a big goofy Saints dog? What does he have to do with football? Are there bits of dog in the Superdome gumbo?? Oh, he’s a “Saint” Bernard.
Sir Saint is another creepy 70s-era holdover from former owner John Mecom. Apparently, Sir Saint was “retired” and then brought back — decades later — because there’s nothing that says “New Orleans” more than a guy with a giant foam chin who just stands around. (See also: Pierre the Pelican, a.k.a. Nigthmare Fuel, the Murder Chicken, etc.)
Seattle: Blitz, the Seahawk, is the kind of mascot that makes your town feel large. The friendly-faced bird is “built like a bodybuilder,” as Wikipedia puts it, and has a full, effortlessly suave head of hair.
Since he debuted in 1998, Blitz has been busy rallying the 12th Man, growing his own Facebook page and reportedly has the brain of a Microsoft exec. (P.S. Say, NOLA, has Sir Saint mastered fetch yet?)
Pike Place Vs. French Market
NOLA: “Whoever controls New Orleans controls the entire Mississippi River,” Thomas Jefferson reportedly once said, and the French Market is where much of the continent’s commerce took place. The French Market is America’s oldest public market, and has existed on the same site since 1791.
Seattle: Sure, French Market may be older, but Seattle’s Pike Place Market has a whole lotta personality. Take, for instance, its throaty fishmongers who throw around slippery salmon with the greatest of ease, and the resident monkfish that keeps visitors in check. And the 108-year-old market is said to be haunted by ghosts of sailors and merchants past.
Bonus: the waterfront market lends views of spectacular summer sunsets over Puget Sound.
Their Coffee Vs. Our Coffee
NOLA: Two words: South America. New Orleans has a long history as the American port most closely tied to South America, the continent that knows a thing or two about coffee. Banana Republics were made and lost from New Orleans boardrooms, and the transshipment and roasting of coffee remains one of the major anchors of the port today.
Seattle: The Emerald City is home to Starbucks Coffee, and that’s just the tip of the foam on your latte. The city also has dozens of independent coffee roasters (a few that even deliver by bike!) that keep the locals caffeinated — and warm during the rainy months.
Their Music Vs. Our Music
NOLA: People complaining about the rain is the Pacific Northwest’s gift to American music. Compare that to NOLA: the birthplace of jazz, the original American music that rock n’ roll is based on (or rips off explicitly); the city’s continuing centrality to the national hip-hop scene; and the integration of music THAT YOU CAN DANCE TO into every facet of life in the Crescent City, and you have a clear winner.
Seattle: Hey, New Orleans, ever heard of grunge? Hardly the sound of "people complaining about the rain." Once the home of grunge, Seattle has been home to Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. These days, Seattle’s collar-popping native son, Macklemore, is doing the city proud (and also teaching us how to dress better on a budget). How's that for music you can dance to?
Our Tech Industry Vs. Their Hollywood South
Seattle: Last year, the Seattle metro area ranked first in the U.S. in new jobs and second for wage growth, thanks, in part, to its strong tech pulse.
Microsoft, Amazon and numerous startups in the city help us stay at the forefront of technology. Yes, we’re nerdy and we’re proud of it.
NOLA: Seattle may have Microsoft, but NOLA is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity, especially in the digital media and film realms. The latter so much so that Louisiana has been bestowed with the moniker of Hollywood South — the state has been drawing large and small productions thanks to tax credits and investments in people and film infrastructure.
It isn’t only the producers who love NOLA — Hollywood stars do, too; where else can a megastar enjoy herself without being hounded by paparazzi and curious locals?
Our Legal Pot Vs. Their Parties
Seattle: Recreational pot is now legal in Washington, and Seattle city leaders are already preparing for the anticipated marijuana tourists. Seattle’s city attorney, for one, wants to ease the ban on public pot smoking to accommodate tourists. Do you have legal pot, New Orleans? Hmm? Thought so.
NOLA: Recreational marijuana may now be legal in Seattle, but pretty much everything else is legal in Louisiana. New Orleanians pride themselves on having a good time, and celebrate the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Why stay at home, stoned, when you can get a drive-thru daiquiri and yuck it up at a Saints game?
NOLA: Remember, Saints fans: Seattleites can holler themselves hoarse, and jump up and down all they like, but at the end of the day, they have to live there while we get to live here. There’s power in that Popeyes, and New York is just a few weeks away.
Seattle: The power of the 12th Man in Seattle is so strong that even Seattle Central Library plans to show the game. (If things get loud, don't call security, says city librarian Marcellus Turner.)
And things are about to get seriously rowdy at the Clink. University of Washington researchers have even installed a seismometer to see just how rowdy we get.
Best buckle up, Saints.
Sports with Art Thiel