Last time we encountered Colin Cowherd, he was using his supreme knowledge to dump on “young, cheap” hockey writers around the country.  Yesterday on his ESPN Radio show, Colin Cowherd went back to his wheelhouse – brilliant social commentary!  The man that brought you John Wall’s lack of a father makes him a bad NBA PG, Sean Taylor’s past “stains” playing a role in his murder, and unemployed people in Ohio and Indiana are bringing it upon themselves has now turned his all-knowing gaze to the city of New Orleans.

You see, Colin Cowherd can’t understand why the NFL would play the Pro Bowl in New Orleans.  Forgetting the NFL doubled up hosting the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl in the same city in 2009 in Miami, Cowherd was amazed at New Orleans potentially hosting the game.

While that would be peculiar but not newsworthy, of course that’s not all.  Cowherd also can’t understand why all these major sports events in the past year – the BCS National Championship Game, Final Four, and Super Bowl, would all go to New Orleans… the “least safe major city in the country.”  Oh, no.  Here we go again…


“Can I ask you something, why is the least safe major city in the country now the default destination for every big sporting event?  It is the least safe major city in the country, not my opinion, statistically the least safe.  I have been to every major city in the country outside Kansas City.  There are only two where locals will tell you turn around don’t go that way – Detroit and New Orleans.  And nobody from Louisiana calling me can even debate that.

“It doesn’t have a world class airport, it is not geographically easy for much of the country to get to.  If you live Rocky Mountains west, New Orleans is a long way away.  Again, it’s not a world class airport like an Orlando or LAX.  It’s not.  It’s a small airport.  It’s amazing, I don’t know what it is.”

Only Colin Cowherd could throw an airport diss into an insanely offensive, factually wrong, out-of-touch rant.  There are so many things wrong here, it’s actually worth going through them in detail…

Anyone that even casually follows sports knows New Orleans is one of the premier destinations for hosting major sporting events.  Colin Cowherd is paid a handsome sum of money by ESPN to talk about sports and he “doesn’t have an answer” as to why New Orleans has hosted these major sports events this year.  To solve this mystery, here’s a brief list of the major sporting events New Orleans has hosted and is scheduled to host…

10 Super Bowls: Super Bowl IV, Super Bowl VI, Super Bowl IX, Super Bowl XII, Super Bowl XV, Super Bowl XX, Super Bowl XXIV, Super Bowl XXXI, Super Bowl XXXVI, Super Bowl XLVII (2013)

5 Final Fours: 1982, 1987, 1993, 2003, 2012

2 NBA All Star Games: 2008, 2014

4 BCS National Championship Games: 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012

With Miami, New Orleans has hosted more Super Bowls than any other city.  In fact, New Orleans has hosted 21.3% of all Super Bowls.  New Orleans hosts the BCS National Championship Game on a four year rotation and hosts the Sugar Bowl every year.  New Orleans has hosted more Final Fours than any city except Indianapolis since 1980.  All of this is news to Colin Cowherd.

Cowherd also says New Orleans is hard to get to and a long way away from areas west of the Rocky Mountains.  This apparently makes it an extremely inconvenient destination for all these major sporting events.  Let’s take a look at the last five Super Bowl sites:

SB 43: Tampa
SB 44: Miami
SB 45: Arlington
SB 46: Indianapolis
SB 47: New Orleans

Distance from Los Angeles to Tampa: 2,528 miles
Distance from Los Angeles to Miami: 2,733 miles
Distance from Los Angeles to New Orleans: 1,895 miles

It is a longer distance to travel from the West Coast to Florida than it is from the West Coast to New Orleans.  Hopefully that’s not news to most of you.

But of course, it’s the characterization of New Orleans as the “least safe city in the country” that is the most toxic.  It’s reckless, it’s offensive, it’s wrong.  Colin Cowherd says this isn’t just his opinion, it’s fact.  Here are actual facts:

Neighborhood Scout does not include New Orleans in its list of 100 most dangerous cities.
-New Orleans is not in the list of the Top 10 most dangerous cities for women
-New Orleans did not make The Atlantic’s Top 10 most dangerous cities according to the FBI.
-New Orleans did not appear on this list of the 25 most dangerous cities ranked by violent crimes per 100,000 people at Business Insider

New Orleans has had to battle against this negative perception, especially in the years since Hurricane Katrina.  To hear the city thrashed in such a way is sad, quite frankly, knowing what New Orleans has endured and persevered through.  

I can only share with you my personal experience in the city.  I spent a week in New Orleans in 2006 and again in 2007 doing Hurricane Katrina relief work.  I saw images that will never be erased from my mind including one house in the Lower Ninth Ward where a clock was still frozen in time when the hurricane hit a year and a half earlier.  I saw incomprehensible destruction and human grief that is indescribable in words.

But I also saw something incredible in New Orleans.  I saw people who held onto hope when they lost everything.  I met some of the most generous, hospitable people in my life.  I encountered a city that wanted visitors and tourists to come to prove to the world they could come back from one of the worst natural disasters in American history.  I saw a city that had a culture and a spirit like none other.

Does the city have a crime problem?  Sure.  Does the city have bad places to stay away from?  Yes.  But so does every other major city in this country.  New Orleans is not the only place in the world where out-of-towners need to be careful.

These major sporting events returning to New Orleans should be celebrated, not villified.  It is a testament to the people of New Orleans to see these games come back.  You should see the city for yourself once.  Go meet some of the people there, explore the French Quarter, visit Jackson Square, take a stroll down Bourbon Street, or enjoy a beignet at Cafe Du Monde.  That’s the New Orleans I came to know… no matter what sports talk shock jocks may say otherwise.

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