Meet Robert Francis, the Man Credited With Starting the ‘Who Dat’ Chant [Video]
The origins of the "Who Dat" chant have been shrouded in mystery for almost as long as it's been around. We did some digging to settle its origins once and for all...
Remember in 2010 when Roger Goodell told French Quarter shops owners they couldn't legally sell any merchandise with "Who Dat" on it because the phrase was owned by the NFL?
Yeah, that was funny.
However, when it comes to the infamous "Who Dat" chant, can it actually be traced back and credited to whomever "invented" our beloved New Orleans Saints war cry?
Well, kinda sorta.
Who Owns The Legal Trademark For 'Who Dat"
Brothers Steve and Sal Monistere of San Antonio started Who Dat Inc. and "trademarked 'Who Dat' in 1983 when they produced a song by the same name featuring Aaron Neville and the Singing Saints" according to NPR.com.
In the "Who Dat?" song from 1983, you'll see past New Orleans Saints players Brad Edelman, Louis Oubre, John Hill, Reggie Lewis, and Dave Waymer.
So, Who Dat Inc. holds the legal trademark for "Who Dat", but who actually gets the credit for starting it?
Who Started The 'Who Dat' Chant?
Many people point to New Orleans' St. Augustine Purple Knights during their 1983 State Championship High School Football run.
According to WDSU longtime New Orleans sportscaster Ken Berthelot reports the first time he ever heard the "Who Dat" chant was on the team's bus while "reporting on St. Aug's run to defend its three state champion titles won in the 1970s."
Taking nothing away from the mighty St. Aug, it sure seems like it probably, had to have popped up before 1983 right?
Robert Francis - The Who Dat Man From The Who Dat Land
In a new story from KWBJ posted to YouTube in 2009, Robert Francis "The Who Dat Man from Who Dat Land" says it all really got started in 1979 at Patterson High School in St. Mary Parish.
The original chant out of Patterson High was "Who Dat, Who Dat gonna beat 'dem Jacks?" referring to the school's mascot, The Lumberjacks.
Francis says that in 1979 when Patterson took on John Curtis at the Superdome in New Orleans for the 2-A State Championship, the "Who Dat" chant caught on like "wildfire".
There was also a running back on the 1979 Patterson High football team that played a big role in the "Who Dat" chant being adopted by the Saints.
Some say the "Who Dat" chant began at Patterson High as early as 1974.
Saints and LSU great Dalton Hilliard was the starting running back for the Lumberjacks during his tenure at Patterson High.
Although the "Who Dat" chant allegedly began to catch on in the City of New Orleans in 1979, once Hilliard began playing for the Saints, he played a big part in making it stick with the Black and Gold.
According to Wikipedia, Dalton Hilliard "became the first player in NFL history to rush for 1200 yards, catch 50 passes, score 18 touchdowns and have fewer than 8 fumbles in a single season."
The subject of Mr. Francis, Dalton Hilliard, and Patterson High recently bubbled up on Facebook which also provided some great information on the subject.
Cincinnati Bengals 'Who Dey' Chant
For decades, one heated debate has been between Saints and Bengals fans of who stole from who.
Cincinnati Bengal fans contend they did it first, and that Saints fans stole their "Who Dey" chant, but modified it to "Who Dat".
From fansided.com -
"It stems from a well-lubricated rhetorical question of, 'Who dey, who dey, who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals?!' Often connected to the New Orleans Saints’ 'Who Dat?', the origin story of 'Who Dey?' dates back to the 1970s in Cincinnati, but it really took flight during the team’s first Super Bowl run in 1981.
Below is the news piece that was done on Mr. Francis "The Who Dat Man from Who Dat Land".