If you’re a casual fan entering this year’s Super Bowl between the Saints and Colts, you may be unaware of the Saints rallying cry of WHO DAT? You’d best get used to it, because you will here it 9,000 times between now and Sunday, I assure you.
Saints fans have long assumed that their WHO DAT? was something that belonged to them, and to the city of New Orleans as a whole. But the NFL, until Tuesday, saw things a bit differently. They aggressively pursued a trademark of that phrase, and demanded that vendors cease selling merchandise with that phrase not officially licensed by the NFL.
Naturally, this struck some as a bit mean-spirited. Extremely mean-spirited. Petty and downright sleazy, actually. And so the NFL has officially retreated on its stance. From USA Today’s Michael McCarthy:
Louisiana politicians took the offensive, painting the NFL as a corporate bully trying to cash in on a fan term that really belonged to a city and community still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
On Tuesday night, the NFL appeared to bow to pressure by admitting, in writing, it did not have exclusive rights to the "Who Dat" phrase, fleur-de-lis symbol or the Saints black and gold team colors.
This is not the first time the NFL has tried to stomp its feet around to trademark something. In 2007, they gave up on trying to trademark the phrase Big Game for anyone using the phrase to reference the Super Bowl. In 2009 they gave up on banning churches from holding Super Bowl parties.
I think what’s going on is obvious here. The NFL is trying to monopolize the English language, and the only way to stop them is to make sure you publicly call them greedy jerks to cause them to retreat.
Saints fans successfully got the NFL to back off. I suggest you follow their example when the NFL tries charging you for that DEFENSE! sign you brought into the stadium.