Fandemonium at the Kickoff

(Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series of periodic blog posts from NFL Director of Fandemonium, Ralph Lanier Jr.)

Welcome, NFL fans, to the 2010-11 NFL season. My name is Ralph Lanier Jr. and I am the NFL Director of Fandemonium. Since winning the title on Super Bowl Sunday, it has been an incredible adventure. The opportunity to meet so many NFL fans is amazing.

I experienced the thrill of the 2010 NFL Draft by announcing a pick for my team, the Miami Dolphins. The summer seemed to last forever before training camp started. The wait was torture! But it finally arrived and my son, Jake, and I were there the first day of camp, just to get a little taste of NFL football. We also attended the preseason games against the Tampa Bay Bucs and Atlanta Falcons.

Next, it was to New Orleans for the 2010 NFL Kickoff. The atmosphere in the “Big Easy” was electric! The Saints and Vikings fans were fired up for the opening game. My wife, Randi, and I experienced the cuisine and flavors of the area. As they say in New Orleans, “We live to eat, not eat to live!”

Game Day finally arrived last Thursday! My wife and I joined former Saints Joe Horn, Willie Roaf, and Michael Lewis for lunch at the Roosevelt Hotel. After lunch, we were escorted to the Kickoff Parade staging area to board a float with another former Saint, Deuce McAllister.

Our route took us through the heart of the French Quarter and along the Riverfront, passing by the Kickoff Concert stage, and then through downtown. The fans were lined up on both sides of our route, in some places huge crowds stuffed the sidewalks. We had beads of all colors and were tossing them into the crowd. Some fans were throwing their shirts and hats to Deuce for his autograph, and of course he was signing them as fast as he could!! Poor guy had to borrow my sharpie after his ran out of ink. The crowds didn’t seem to end until we were almost to the Superdome.

If you have never visited the Superdome for a Saints game, I would highly recommend you add it to your bucket list! It is an amazing experience. It is one of the loudest, craziest places I have ever watched a game. I don’t know how the Vikings could hear anything! The crowd was definitely “the 12th man” for the Saints. The noise was almost unbearable when they unrolled the Super Bowl Champions banner way up in the rafters before the game. During halftime, the Saints presented Hall of Fame inductee Rickey Jackson with his Hall of Fame ring to the delight of the home crowd. The Saints fans went crazy once more as the game ended with a victory. It was an amazing experience!

I would like to thank the NFL and for the amazing season of experiences ahead. I look forward to seeing all the NFL fans at the other events I will be attending this year. Stay tuned for more blogs after each event.

— Ralph Lanier Jr.

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