Here in New Orleans, the Saints are more of a religion than a football team; fans prioritize watching the game above all else- appointments, responsibilities, the birth of a child… you name it. However, what seems like the most wonderful time of the year for most residents can be the most alienating time of the year for non-fans. If you can’t tell a linebacker from a line dancer or thought Fantasy only applied to Lord of the Rings, worry not! There are plenty of ways everyone can enjoy Saints Season, and our #Fraylife guide is here to show you how.
Get Your Tailgate On
While traditionally tailgating refers to a pre-game party in the back of a car, pretty much any gathering that involves drinking beer, eating BBQ, and watching the game can be considered a tailgate party nowadays. And as this is New Orleans we’re talking about, who here doesn’t love a party? Maybe you’re not too excited about the actual game part of the event, but it’s an excuse to eat, drink, and celebrate. Think of Game Days as any other holiday. The fun is in the celebration. After all, are you really that into Irish history, or do you just like drinking Guinness and having cabbages thrown at your face on March 17th?
Break out the Black and Gold
For New Orleanians, costuming isn’t just a hobby; it’s an art form. Take for example the Mardi Gras Indians, who spend an entire year painstakingly handcrafting their beads and feathers. Think of Saints games like parades: each requires the right outfit. Have fun searching thrift stores and costume shops for the perfect black and gold items. The bolder, the better, and if you’re really brave, you can even break out the greasepaint.
#FrayLife Tip: Anything gold and sparkly can pull double duty come Carnival!
Relish the Rivalries
Coke Vs. Pepsi. Marvel vs. DC. T. Swift vs. Kimye. We all love a good rivalry. It gives us the chance to pick a side and stay loyal. Every sports team has their biggest rival, and for the Saints, it’s the Atlanta Falcons (the “Dirty Birds” as they’re not-so-affectionately known down here). Even if you’re not into what’s happening on the field, you can still have fun making signs, talking trash, and reveling in the fact that the Falcons STILL haven’t won a Super Bowl. It’s a socially acceptable way to release your inner troll.
Connect with the Players
There are 53 men on the New Orleans Saints, and each one has his own story to tell. If you can’t get into the mechanics of the game, try picking a few players you like and follow their progress throughout the season. Pick the ones with the best hair, or maybe there’s a player from your hometown, or one that went to your college. Even better, why not follow the players who pay it forward? The Brees Dream Foundation helps people with cancer. The Mark Ingram Foundation facilitates programs for at-risk youth. A few quick Google searches, and you’ll be cheering for the hometown boys as hard as everyone else.
Love the City, Love the Team
The Saints are more than just New Orleans’s NFL team. They’re a symbol of the city itself. People here love the Saints because they love their city. During The Saints’ first game back in the Superdome after the fallout of Katrina in 2006, safety Steve Gleason blocked a punt, which kicked off a 23-3 win against the Falcons. This game, since dubbed “Rebirth” and memorialized by a statue in front of the Dome, represented not only the rebirth of the Saints but also the rebirth of New Orleans. The whole world saw images of the evacuees, of the Dome’s roof being ripped off. The Rebirth game was a way for New Orleans to say: “We’re still here. We can rebuild.” Football might not be your thing, and that’s ok. What’s important to understand is that in New Orleans the Saints are more than football. If you love this city, the Saints are part of that love. So, football fan or not, you can still be a Saints fan.
#FrayLife Tip: “WHO DAT?” is the shortened version of a Saints cheer (“Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?”). Saints fans are also referred to as Who Dat Nation. If someone yells “Who Dat?” the correct response is to smile and yell “Who Dat?” back.
Have a game day tradition you’re dying to let us know about? Tell us in the comments or tag us on social using #FrayLife and #NOLAFray.
View More Articles By Katie Baer