The NFL claimed to own the trademark to the term "Who dat." The NFL also claimed that unlicensed shirts bearing the phrase would cause confusion among fans of the Saints about the official status of the merchandise.
This claim is made despite overwhelming evidence that the term "Who dat" was a spontaneous nickname given by the Saints fans to themselves over four years ago, and has been in common use by other teams over the last century.
According to Bobby Hebert, formerly a Saints quarterback and currently a sports commentator in New Orleans, the term "Who Dat Nation" originated after a highly anticipated 2006 game between the Saints and the favored Dallas Cowboys.
After the Saints won the game listeners from a wide geographic range called in to Hebert's radio show on WWL (AM), and Hebert commented, "Man, there's a whole Who Dat Nation out there."
In unrelated events, the following actions and cease and desist orders were served to the National Football League and NFL properties.
The office of the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, has sent a cease and desist order to the NFL for the use of the term "Saints."
Apparently, in the year 602, Francesco Roccaforte, the Secretary of State under Pope Gregory I (also known as Gregory the Great for his great business acumen) filed for a perpetual international trademark on the term Saints.
In a press release Cardinal Bertone's office stated:
"We love the great people of New Orleans, their great football team, and their 300-plus years of Catholic tradition. However, we have found that the illegal use of the nickname Saints by the NFL franchise in New Orleans has caused great economic and spiritual harm to the Church. It has caused confusion among the faithful and we insist that the league immediately cease using our trademarked name."
The amount of damages are not known, but bleacherreport.com financial analysts estimate the potential amount to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Spurred by the NFL's claim against the Who Dat nation and the recent action by the Vatican, numerous other claims have been filed against the NFL and related subsidiaries.
According to a spokesperson for the Apple River Illinois based foundation, "Use of the term Eagles by the Philadelphia NFL franchise has caused great confusion in our efforts to bring this majestic bird back from the brink of extinction. Every time we hold a fundraiser, we have to explain that we are in no way associated with convicted dog-abuser Michael Vick."
Later that day, the Merlin Falcon Foundation of Bellingham, Washington filed a similar claim with essentially the same basis as that of the Eagle Nature Foundation. Spokesman Chris Anderson stated "We do not wish to be associated with a franchise also known as 'the dirty birds.' It is causing confusion among potential donors."
Tuesday, the estate of the late William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody filed for an injunction in federal court against the Buffalo, NY franchise and the NFL claiming that "the gratuitous use of the name of our late great ancestor has caused permanent financial harm to those of us who make our living from the legacy of this great American hero."
Also on Tuesday, the Wisconsin Dairy Council sent a cease and desist order to every Green Bay Packer fan demanding "that all references to the term 'Cheesehead' be immediately terminated."
The claim by the Madison, Wisc.-based organization goes on to list unspecified financial damages. According to spokesperson Mots Zarella "The use of cheeseheads has caused confusion among potential consumers. Many do not realize that cheese is a food and believe it solely to be a head ornament."
Wednesday, the EverReady Corporation filed suit in California Superior Court against the NFL, the San Diego football franchise and Chargers owner Alexander Gus Spanos. Apparently, the term Charger has been trademarked as the name for their latest product, a wireless charging system, also know as Inductive Intelligence.
Later that day, former Dallas Cowboy Dat Tan Nguyen (Vietnamese:Nguyễn Tấn Đạt) issued a brief statement as follows. "Who Dat? I'm Dat. The use of my name in such a manner has caused me insurmountable financial and emotional problems. When my daughters tell their friends that their dad's name is Dat, their friends immediately break out with 'Who Dat say gonna beat dem Saints' causing my daughters to run home crying."
It is not known what action Mr. Nguyen is planning or if he will be seeking financial damages.
Where will this all end?