It’s been more than two weeks since I’ve had the urge to write about the Saints. Even now, I find it hard to put what I feel into words. Like most Saints fans, my feelings have been on a rollercoaster ride through a gambit of emotions.
I realize now that I dissociated myself from what happened in the NFC Championship. After the game, I walked out of the Superdome, shell-shocked, yet somehow unsurprised and oddly at peace. Why? Because as a Saints fan, I’m used to the disappointment.
I’ve only been a hardcore Who Dat since 2004, so forgive me for not mentioning the heartbreaking moments that occurred before then. I simply wasn’t cognizant of them.
In my past fifteen years of fandom, however, the Saints and their fan base have endured some of the most difficult circumstances to persevere through. Yet, every heartbreak is seemingly followed or preceded by equally heartfelt moments for the Who Dat Nation.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Superdome and almost permanently sent the team packing to San Antonio. Folks from all over Louisiana and the gulf south remember losing their homes, their cars, their schools, their places of worship, their jobs, their families, and their friends due to the effects of the storm.
Even if you didn’t lose anything physically, if you experienced it, you lost your mind. It’s hard to imagine entire cities of people with PTSD, but that’s exactly what New Orleans is, even to this day.
And somehow the very next year in 2006, the Saints rewarded their downtrodden fans with their best season in franchise history. Three years later, they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. I don’t need to tell you how orgasmic the 2009 Championship season was. If you were in New Orleans, you remember it all too well.
What many forget, though, is that less than three months later the Deepwater Horizon exploded and, over the next 87 days, began to leak 4.9 million barrels of oil across 68,000 miles of the Gulf of Mexico. The oil on the water’s surface alone covered an area the size of Oklahoma.
The dispersants that were used only bonded to the oil, causing it to sink and killing organisms so fast many areas of the Gulf are now dead zones. The hard working people who came to help clean up and came into contact with the dispersants are now popping up with cancer almost ten years later.
So even the most cathartic sports achievement New Orleans has ever enjoyed was muted 73 days later by the world’s worst oil spill disaster in history. Saints fans could now make the claim that they had survived two of the worst man made disasters ever.
Forget the NFC Divisional round heartbreaks in 2011 to the 49ers or in 2017 to the Vikings. This latest loss to the Rams must be filed under another category of heartbreak: man made disaster.
Plenty has been said about the missed calls on both sides and the missed opportunities by the Saints to stamp their ticket to the Super Bowl, but what more can be said of Saints fans’ incredible resilience and sense of community following such a misfortunate event?
The many gatherings in and around New Orleans this past Super Bowl Sunday show exactly why this is one of the greatest fan bases across all sport.
Saints fans took Sunday to celebrate their team and city! #NOLA pic.twitter.com/feZyV6uSbp— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) February 5, 2019
Saints fans are allowed to be pissed, but honestly, we just don’t have enough time stay angry. It’s almost Mardi Gras after all. As fellow transplant New Orleanian Ani DiFranco says, “Maybe you can keep me from ever being happy, but you’re not going to stop me from having fun!”
The sold-out Blackout Bowl festivities at Fulton Alley featuring Choppa, Big Freedia, and Rockin’ Dopsie were way more entertaining than watching a terribly tattooed and disgustingly shirtless Adam Levine mail in perhaps the worst Super Bowl halftime show of all time. You know it’s bad when you make Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson’s shit show performance look good.
The Saints fans' protest had a better halftime show than the actual Super Bowl— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) February 4, 2019
Even if Super Bowl LIII wasn’t one of the most boring football games played this year, Saints fans who gave it a miss would still have had a much better day taking to the streets for crawfish boils, second lines, concerts, and replays of XLIV at their favorite bars.
The worst no-call in sports history wasn’t enough to keep the Who Dat Nation from enjoying Super Bowl Sunday. After all, there’s almost nothing they relish in more than overcoming a little man made disaster.