While CBS was airing a party inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome in Atlanta an even bigger party was happening a few blocks from the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Thousands of fans gathered for what some are calling the biggest New Orleans Second Line in recent city history.
At least three different Boycott NFL events took place in three different areas of the Greater New Orleans Metro. All three were reportedly over the capacity and filled with energy and pride. The largest gathering of the three took place in the mouth of the city, The French Quarters. There were so many people in the streets they looked like ants from the sky cameras. For more than 7 blocks people danced and chanted the famous ‘Who Dat’ slogans. The Second Line Boycott ended in a massive party in Fulton Alley featuring lights, spirits, and performances from popular musicians. The crowd span across several blocks and the excitement didn’t turn down until the game was over.
The NFL has constantly undermined the Saints fanbase and the people along the Gulfcoast. New Orleans is the nucleus of the entire Gulfcoast which covers Southern Mississippi and Alabama as well as NW Florida. Yes, Pensacola and Destin, Florida is part of the WhoDat Nation. Gulfshores and Mobile, AL are part of the WhoDat Nation. Gulfport, MS and all the way up to Jackson is Who Dat Nation territory. The New Orleans Metro alone is about 1.3M people but with the extension of Baton Rouge and upper Louisiana points you could estimate 2-3M Saints fans in it’s host state without even including the expansion of the Gulfcoast allies.
Because New Orleans is the largest market along the Gulfcoast it is the center for the surrounding cities but is often overlooked by the NFL when compared to Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Dallas because of how populated those markets are. The New York Metro has over 20M people by itself. Los Angeles Metro is the closest to it with 13.3M. The NFL is a business and it will always focus more on the markets with the greater potential to make the corporation the most money.
There are two very important factors the NFL overlooked.
1. Due to Hurricane Katrina, the Saints fanbase has now spread all over the country. There are thousands of Saints fans in Atlanta. There are thousands of Saints fans in Dallas and in Houston. There are so many fans in Los Angeles that when the Saints played the Rams two years ago in California it was hard to recognize the Rams as the home team.
When the NFL calculates the potential of a fan base they use two very critical checkpoints. The population of the market and the median income of the households in that market. However, when it comes to the Saints all of that goes out of the window. In larger markets Sports takes a backseat to the many other social options available in those cities. However, in cities such as New Orleans, Green Bay, Kansas City, and even in Tampa Bay… football is another kind of monster. You can’t measure it’s muscle like you would in most larger markets because no matter what the household income is in these cities they support their team as much as they do their Religion.
2. The Gulfcoast is often the third coast in the United States. People focus on the West Coast and the East Coast and completely forget there is another bordering coast. The neighboring states of Southern United States may disagree on many political issues but they alll share the same economic struggles. The Oil Spill didn’t just affect New Orleans. It affected the whole Coast. Hurricane Katrina didn’t just affect New Orleans. It affected the whole Coast. When New Orleans suffers the whole Coast takes a hit. The NFL centers it’s attention on New Orleans and forgets the strength of the entire Gulfcoast.
National Media supports New Orleans
Sports analysts such as Skip Bayless of ESPN’s Undisputed and many others tweeted their disgust with the Superbowl. Bayless even tweeted, “I still have your back Saints Fans.” ESPN even sent out a mass alert highlighting the big party in the streets of New Orleans. News Media from all over the country were informed of the massive crowds gathering in New Orleans and began to subreport it on their stations. Never in the history of the Superbowl has a city generated so much attention that it forced national media to pay attention to it’s own celebration on the NFL’s biggest day.
TMZ reports Steve Harvey saying it was the worst game he had ever been to. An MSN reporter said, “Essentially, that blown no-call in the NFC championship game did no one any favors… It [New Orleans] couldn’t have matched how boring the Rams were to watch. L.A. looked every bit like a team that didn’t deserve to be here.” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards encouraged the whole state to watch old episodes of NCIS New Orleans instead of the game.
The Times Picayune, the City of New Orleans’ signature newspaper, made a bold statement in their Sunday paper with a blank front page reading, ‘Superbowl? What Superbowl?’ as the only only words on the entire front page other than jump-feeds along the bottom.
National Overnight Ratings for the Superbowl dropped to 44%. It was the lowest watched Superbowl since 2009. However, an even more drastic drop was along the Gulfcoast. The Superbowl fell to 26%. It means half of the residents of New Orleans and its Gulfcoast supporters didn’t even watch the game at all. To be even more clever, the game’s final score was 13-3 which was also the exact regular season record of the Saints. Most people in New Orleans are calling it karma for the Rams.
The most substantial observation is that the Patriots played the Atlanta Falcons in the Superbowl in 2017. In the final quarter the Patriots were down 28-3. They rallied back to beat Atlanta in overtime. The NFC South Division rivals have never allowed Atlanta fans to forget their only chance ever to win a Superbowl with a blown lead of 28-3. This year’s game featured the Patriots winning again in Atlanta and the game was played on the third day of February… a month with only 28 days. It’s so poetic it makes you wonder if it’s all scripted.
Maybe the New Orleans voodoo is real because New England may have won the game but certainly New Orleans won the day.