If you haven’t heard, the Saints are playing at Jerry World on Sunday night.
They’re 2-0 there. How many opponents’ stadiums can you say about? Especially given the franchise’s road history (144-215-4).
But beyond dominating the Dallas Cowboys at what is now called AT&T Stadium (albeit by only three points both times), there are other reasons while more than one player calls it his favorite NFL road venue.
Start with the giant video board that stretches from one 20-yard line to the other.
“That screen is so huge,” said tight end Jimmy Graham. “You can’t help but looking up to see yourself.
“It’s sort of distracting.”
Well, not that distracting.
In the Saints’ last visit to Dallas in 2012, Graham had seven catches for 88 yards and recovered a Marques Colston fumble to set up the winning field goal in a 34-31 victory.
Cornerback Corey White is looking for his first such video-board highlight, at least in this stadium.
White, then a rookie, was placed on injured reserve the week of that 2012 Cowboys game.
“I’d love to get a pick and be able to look up and check to see if anybody’s coming up from behind me,” he said. “I’ve heard about how big that screen is, and now I’ll get to see it for myself.”
Guard Jahri Evans is another AT&T fan, even if offensive linemen are seldom featured on the replay screen.
“To me, it’s sort of hard to see from the angle we have on the field,” he said. “But it’s big, and it’s new.
“I think it’s an awesome sports venue.”
When it comes to NFL stadiums, new beats tradition.
With the opening of Levi’s Stadium this season, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which debuted in 1975, is now the league’s sixth-oldest facility.
The oldest is Lambeau Field, which dates to 1957. For comparison’s sake, Tiger Stadium was erected in 1924, and it’s not even the oldest in the Southeastern Conference.
But there’s an atmosphere at Lambeau which makes even hardened professionals sentimental.
“Green Bay is such a cool place to play,” tackle Zach Strief said. “There’s so much history there, and you feel like you’re driving up to a college game.
“I’ve never gotten to play there when it was cold (all three Saints games in Green Bay since Strief was a rookie in 2006 were played in September), but I would imagine it’s pretty cool. I wouldn’t want to play there when it’s minus-15, though.”
Count Saints coach Sean Payton as another Lambeau fan.
“Any time you play there, it’s pretty special,” he said. “There’s so much history, and it’s a unique environment, especially when you can go there in the fall.”
Surprisingly, Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, where the Saints have lost two playoff games plus once in the regular season in the last three years, is also mentioned among the favorites.
“I love the atmosphere there because of the crowd, but it’s a tough place to play,” Evans said. “I guess I’d like to have it both ways.”
Added center Jonathan Goodwin, “I’ve got to say Seattle because of the noise.
“Nothing comes close to being that loud.”
Defensive tackle Brandon Deaderick likes Heinz Field in Pittsburgh for much the same reason.
“The crowd there makes it feel like it’s you against the world,” he said. “It’s like you can hate it and love it at the same time.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, safety Jairus Byrd, who spent his first five seasons in the league with Buffalo, is fond of playing in Miami.
“It’s always a cool city,” he said. “And when you can play down there late in the season, it’s always nice.”
Having spent time with 12 teams over 15 seasons, kicker Shane Graham has played in more stadiums than he can remember.
Heinz Field and Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium are his favorites.
“Pittsburgh can be tough, but it has the best field conditions, and there’s always a great atmosphere,” he said. “Kansas City’s just fun because the fans are so cool and into it like you see at a college game.”
Count quarterback Drew Brees among the Arrowhead fans as well.
“When I was at San Diego, we’d go there once a year, and there was always something at stake,” he said. “It was a storied stadium, going back to the Hank Stram and Len Dawson days.”
In his career, Brees has played road games in 34 facilities, counting Wembley Stadium in London, where the Saints were the home team when they faced the Chargers there in 2008.
With the Saints, Brees is 39-30 in road games. With the Chargers, he was 15-15.
But the venue Brees likes best is one where he’ll never get to play again.
“When I was a kid growing up in Texas in the heyday of the Cowboys, I really liked Texas Stadium,” he said. “I’d wake up on Sunday mornings, go to church, come back home, and I couldn’t wait to watch the Cowboys.”
Brees did get to start two games at the now-demolished facility, as a high school senior at Austin Westlake when he led his team to a 55-15 victory against Abilene Cooper in the 1996 Texas Class 5A state championship and a 42-17 victory against the Cowboys in 2006.
But he’s unbeaten in Jerry World.
“It’s Sunday Night Football at Cowboys Stadium,” Brees said. “It really doesn’t get any better.”