Tyrann Mathieu is already kind of a big deal in New Orleans. The Saints safety’s homecoming was so widely anticipated that his pre-order jersey sales broke the internet, so it’s fair to say NOLA already treats him like one of their own.
In honor of this momentous signing, we take a look at the origins of his notorious “Honey Badger” nickname, a moniker that has followed Mathieu throughout his nine-year NFL career and will likely be plastered on many Saints fans’ jerseys in 2022.
The roots of that name trace back a decade ago to Mathieu’s LSU days when a certain video of a honey badger happened to go viral.
In the video, a narrator hilariously describes the honey badger’s traits and repeats the now meme-ified phrase, “Honey badger don’t care.”
Saints’ safety Tyrann Mathieu will forever be known as the Honey Badger
Following LSU’s rout of West Virginia, defensive coordinator John Chavis played the viral video for the team and likened the animal to Mathieu, whose performance that game exemplified honey badger-like traits: namely, his ferociousness and fearlessness that helped him get a forced fumble and interception.
The nickname stuck, and Mathieu’s personality became irrevocably shaped around that of a stubborn and feisty mammal.
Hopefully, Mathieu brings more of his tenacity to the Saints, where he can expect to have a starting spot in a gold star defense. After a productive stint with the Kansas City Chiefs, the All-Pro safety joins Marcus Maye, Marshon Lattimore, and Ceedy Duce in the backfield and should keep the Saints’ secondary elite for years to come.
No one else on the Saints can boast that cool of a nickname, anyway. Jameis Winston’s “Mr. 30-30” has undesirable implications while “CantGuardMike” for Michael Thomas was fitting back in 2019 but has yet to be proven this season.
The Honey Badger nickname fits Mathieu as well as Mathieu fits the Saints, and it seems the veteran safety has already made a lasting impression in NOLA.
If the Saints fail to make the playoffs in 2022, the Honey Badger will care.