In south Louisiana, where even funeral processions are sometimes set to playful music, we have a long tradition of wearing grief lightly.
Given our colorful history of laughing through tears, we’re heartened, but not surprised, that today’s planned boycott of the Super Bowl among Saints fans has become an exercise in celebration, not sulking.
Members of Who Dat Nation are grieved that awful officiating at a January 20 playoff game between the Saints and Los Angeles Rams quite possibly robbed the New Orleans franchise of a chance to play this year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta. Many of the Saints faithful say they’ll skip watching today’s matchup between the Rams and the New England Patriots, opting out of what’s usually one of America’s biggest prime time events of the year.
The boycott might strike folks outside Louisiana as a grim sacrifice, but in this part of the world, we don’t have much use for ashes and sackcloth. This is a place, after all, where people often gain weight while observing the dietary restrictions of Lent, with no-meat Fridays inspiring the consumption of the best seafood on earth. Take something away from us, and we quickly find alternatives the rest of our fellow Americans might envy.
So it was inevitable that today’s boycott has emerged as a boost, rather than a bane, of the civic culture. While You-Know-What airs You-Know-When today, Saints fans have no reason to sit glumly on the couch nursing their dashed hopes for the 2019 Lombardi Trophy. No-watch parties abound as a festive answer to the no-call that will live in infamy, and some bars plan to show the 2010 Super Bowl game in which the Saints prevailed. With live street music on tap as another bit of alternative programming, today could very well be a mini-Mardi Gras.
Taking a cue from Saints Coach Sean Payton, who recently confessed to bingeing on ice cream and Netflix after the Debacle in the Dome, south Louisianans have been eating through their post-season anger in the lead-up to Boycott Bowl, chomping on “no ref” cookies and “We Was Robbed!” king cakes among other we-hate-Goodell goodies.
That subversive humor also isn’t unexpected in Who Dat Nation, where carnival season for centuries has been a welcome occasion to mock the self-important dunderheads in positions of authority.
Even without the Super Bowl, it’s shaping up to be a super Sunday in south Louisiana. National trophies are nice, but as the past two weeks have made clear, the people who live here are already champions of the heart.