Die hard fans of New Orleans' NFL team skipped the usual parties in front of their TVs this year, opting for a Mardi-Gras-style party in the streets of their city. The festivities made a splash on social media under the hashtag "Boycott Bowl," as many fans feel the Saints were cheated out of a place at the game during their last match-up against the Los Angeles Rams.
Videos showed Saints fans marching through the streets, playing music, dancing and completely ignoring the Super Bowl broadcast. They sang along to "When The Saints Go Marching In," sporting the jerseys of the team they feel was purposefully cut out.
The party reportedly included events such as the "Anti-Goodwell Protest Bowl" and the "Salty Super Bowl Bingo." Videos taken from overhead showed the massive scope of the party, with New Orleans residents streaming through the streets in droves.
The Saints themselves seemed to endorse the celebratory protest. The team's official account posted many videos and pictures from the Boycott Bowl and retweeted many others. In one tweet, the team wrote: "#Saints fans turn their anger into a reason to party," with the hashtag "best fans."
Video: Thousands of Saints fans second-line through downtown in a massive display of festive anger. pic.twitter.com/CK5Nedxnr7— Michael DeMocker (@MichaelDeMocker) February 3, 2019
The outrage stems from the Saints' NFC Championship game against the Rams which was decided by a highly controversial call by a referee. Local sports writer Jeff Duncan called it "one of the most egregious non-calls in NFL history," and afterward the team, the coach and the city all slipped into despondency.
Coach Sean Payton told reporters that he sequestered himself in his room, "eating Jeni's Ice Cream and watching Netflix." The people of New Orleans were so outraged that quarterback Drew Brees got on Instagram and asked them to calm down.
"Keep your chin up, hold your head high, puff your chest out because WE are the Who Dat Nation and WE will always persevere," he wrote.
After that, the #BoycottBowl movement began to gain traction, and it took over the city remarkably fast.
"At this point, it may be more efficient to list New Orleans area bars that WILL show the Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3," wrote Ann Maloney for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "Frankly, I'm with Where NOLA Eats Facebook group member Maclain Romaguera, who wrote: 'I wish we could make up a funny sign that all bars refusing to show the game can put in their front window...'"
With or without New Orleans, the Super Bowl is live on Sunday night starting at 6:30 p.m. ET on CBS.