Over the past five years, our very own fearless leader Dave Cariello has given us a glimpse inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for every Saints home game. The View From Section 140 (originally The View from Section 108) has been one of my favorite series of posts on CSC for years now, and for our fifth anniversary I wanted to get some insight from the man himself.
I'm sure many of you, myself included, have never had the opportunity to experience a game inside the Superdome. So outside of a high definition setup with surround sound, here's the next closest thing!
Wallace Delery: How long have you been a Saints season ticket holder?
Dave Cariello: Since 2006. I was part of that first sellout, when everyone was excited about the Drew Brees signing and the drafting of Reggie Bush. Say what you will about Bush but that dude put the asses in the seats when the Saints and the city needed it most. And that was before ever taking a snap. I also think we the fans all wanted to do our part in helping out the team and the economy after Katrina. Thank god I got in when I did, because the waiting list is getting crazy long.
WD: What is your favorite game you've attended in person?
DC: By far the NFC Championship Game against the Vikings in 2010, simply because of it's importance and intensity and emotion. The atmosphere was electric. I had that tingly kind of gut-wrenching feeling throughout the 4th quarter and overtime. And when the Saints finally won it was a euphoric, celebratory love fest; 70,000 friends all sharing the greatest moment of their collective lives together. Those moments just don't come around too often. The Dome re-opening game against the Falcons is a very close second for this very same reason.
That's what it's all about for me; that's what keeps me coming back. It's like chasing a high. Every time I step in the Dome I'm hoping it's going to be one of those games that I'll remember forever will be talked about for generations. A game that I'd be proud to say, "I was there."
WD: What is the funniest and/or strangest thing you've seen on gameday?
DC: The funniest was probably seeing one of the Saintsations eat it as she ran out onto the field. I got a good laugh out of that one. The strangest has got to be the power outage during the Super Bowl. I'm sure there are a few more that just aren't coming to mind.
WD: Was there a tangible apathy or complacency in the Dome following the Super Bowl season? If so, has the energy returned to pre-championship form?
DC: I think the energy returned during the 2011 season when the offense was firing on all cylinders and records were breaking everywhere. Last year was a lost season thanks to Roger, but I'm excited for 2013. With the return of Payton and a completely revamped defense, I think the fans are going to be extra pumped.
WD: Watching on television, we never get to see the pre-kickoff Who Dat chant. Is this new tradition an important part of the Superdome experience?
DC: Not really. Not in my opinion anyway. It's still new. Maybe over time it will become a bit more iconic. But as of now I don't think it's crucial. Sorry if that's not the answer you want to hear. I personally think it would be cooler if Drew Brees brought back the 2009 team chant (Win! Again! Win! Again!), did that right before kickoff, and piped it through the Dome sound system. Just a suggestion.
WD: What moment was the absolute loudest you've experienced in the Dome?
DC: The Steve Gleason blocked punt probably. I remember personally running up and down the aisle screaming like a mad man. It got pretty loud after Deuce's touchdown in the Divisional playoff win vs. the Eagles in 2006. I also have fuzzy memories of it being very loud during the MNF win over the Patriots in 2009.
WD: How does the Superdome and the fans in attendance compare to other NFL stadiums you've experienced?
DC: Actually, the only other opponent stadium I've ever been to was Giants Stadium against the Giants so I don't really have much to compare. I can tell you that Giants fans certainly have nowhere near the character and color of Saints fans. Just a bunch of corporate suits.
DC: Unfortunately, I never really got to experience any of Miami during Super Bowl XLIV. I flew in the morning of the game, went straight to the stadium and flew out early the next morning. But considering everything I heard from the media while they were here this past February, I definitely think New Orleans does the Super Bowl best. Everything during that week is all conveniently located downtown, in and around the French Quarter with the city's charm on full display. The icing on the cake is our incredible culinary scene. Why even bother having the Super Bowl anywhere else?
WD: What was the Super Bowl experience like in the Superdome? Was it pretty strange being in the Dome not seeing the Saints or Who Dat Nation in the building?
DC: Yeah, it was actually really weird. The Superdome is like my second home, I feel like I've spent so much time there. And it carries with it a natural association to the Saints. So to be in such a familiar environment but without my team was definitely an interesting feeling. It probably would have been weirder if I was sitting in the same seats I always sit in, but that wasn't the case. Honestly, it was nice to not have a dog in the fight and just enjoy the game for the spectacle that it is.
WD: Lastly, when you take your son to his first game, what will be the first Superdome memory you tell him about?
DC: Fortunately I have tons of memories to share but probably the first thing I tell him will be the story of my first time.
Thank you Dave, we all look forward to your View From Section 140 for years to come. Who Dat!
If you've had the opportunity to experience a Saints game inside the Dome, please share your memorable moments with us as well!