One unexpected appearance was De Pope, Lionel "De Pope" Alphonso, NFL Hall of Fame number one Saints fan. We rode down the elevator to breakfast with him. He barely fit into the elevator with his mitre.Our breakfast was occupied with questions of costume and parking and tail gating.
I have never been a big jersey wearer. I've never owned one, not even now. For the playoff games I wore a black dress shirt I had never worn before. That seemed to have reasonably good effect so I was determined to wear it again to the Super Bowl. I was not so superstitious as to forgo washing it nor wear the exact socks pants or underwear on every occasion. In fact if that was required I probably couldn't remember which socks and underwear I had worn.
We departed the hotel around 1:30 PM on advice of the stadium employee I had spoken to earlier in the week. She held a low opinion of the NFL parking management which apparently ad snarled traffic pretty badly the week before for the pro bowl. Apparently the NFL decided that they knew how to manage parking better than the stadium teams that manages 20 or so games a year. Having attended several games there before I was very skeptical of their ability.We decided to prepare for limited tailgating by stopping at the Publix up the street and getting disposable a Styrofoam cooler, some ice, wine, beer cokes, sandwiches, snacks and two bottles of Prosecco for the later celebration. She has become enamored with Prosecco recently fortunately Publix has a good wine department as several varieties of Prosecco.
Given the distance She would need to walk and missing the tailgating, we decided to park in the Stadium lot. Taking the Florida Turnpike to the Stadium exit we were able to drive right into lot 13 and park in the second row. It was a nearly perfect parking space. There were no cars between us and the exit and only a few feet to walk to cross the street to the stadium.
One thing I noted in an earlier post was that the stadium parking lot had been designed with Tailgating in mind. I found this proof on the Stadium web site.
Notice that ample paved area outside the parking spaces for tailgating. At the Orange Bowl and Dolphin home games charcoal grills are permitted in that areas and are abundant. I have never observed a problem.
In our parking lot across the road things were less structured but there was still plenty of room. It was surely far enough away from the stadium to preclude any possibility of mischief.
There was a steady stream of cars parking in the lot and a trickle of fans heading to the stadium and the NFL pre-game thingy. Since it was more that 4 hours to kick off we decided see who was coming into the lot.
I started a walkabout. Almost immediately I found a bunch of Who Dats starting a charcoal fire intending to warm a pork shoulder. A little further on I found a bunch of Colts cooking some brats. No one seemed concerned about the tailgate police, although rumors of them were circulating.
I can say without any fear of contradiction Saints fans are way more fun than Colts fans. The best most Colts fans can do is wear a jersey with the name "Manning" on it and the wrong number. Everyone knows Archie wore number 8.
Seriously there were Saints fans in Black kilts with gold fluer-de-lis. Saints fans with black umbrellas with gold sequins and ostrich plumes. There were creole ladies of a certain age in Brees jersey's dancing to the Ying Yang Twins Halftime. The Saints were having fun and the Colts were serious.Working the parking lot I met several people who had driven from Louisiana including one couple truck bedding. They were winners of the stealth third round of the ticket lottery.
All the while were were enjoying the stream of fans heading to the stadium.
A couple hours before kickoff we headed to the NFL Game Day Fan Plaza. It was already winding down, but there didn't seem to be much there. We headed to the stadium, our seats were all the way at the top.
We had selected our seats hoping we would be surrounded by Saint's fans. We were not disappointed. We were surrounded by black and gold, mostly black. It appeared to me that Saints fans outnumbered Colts fans approximately two to one.
The game was about to begin.
The Saints are in the SUPER BOWL