The New Orleans Times-Picayune thumbed its nose at the Super Bowl Monday, running an almost blank front page with the exception of “Super Bowl? What Super Bowl?” emblazoned across the page in large type, the Washington Post reports.
Monday’s edition was a tongue-in-cheek protest against the widely agreed-upon injustice that befell the paper’s hometown team, the New Orleans Saints, in their NFC championship game. In that game, a clearly botched officiating call led to the Saints losing in overtime to the Los Angeles Rams, who would, as a result, go on to face the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Even NFL Commissioner Robert Goodell acknowledged the injustice.
“It’s a play that should be called,” he admitted.
In addition to the eye-catchingly sparse front page, the Times-Picayune took their dissent to the sports page, with interior coverage focused on the generally dull nature of Sunday’s game.
“What do the Rams and the Saints have in common?” the headline asks.
“NEITHER SCORED A TOUCHDOWN IN SUPER BOWL LIII,” came the punchline, calling out the Rams, who would go on to lose 13-3, for failing to put up a single touchdown in their loss to New England. It would end up being the lowest-scoring Super Bowl of all time, with many fans more interested in outrage over the lack of SpongeBob SquarePants in the halftime show than in the game itself.
New England would go on to win their sixth Super Bowl, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl wins.
The newspaper’s bold take on the disappointing end of their team’s season caught the attention of social media, with images of the cover and sports pages becoming a viral sensation in the wake of what much of the country found to be a generally disappointing game.
Mark Lorando, an editor for the Times-Picayune, shared his own insights into the paper’s decision to take such a bold stance in their coverage of the game.
“The relationship between New Orleans and the Saints is different than in a lot of NFL cities,” Lorando said.
“We saw it with [Hurricane] Katrina. It’s personal here. The feeling two weeks ago was the Super Bowl was taken from New Orleans. On Sunday, New Orleans took the Super Bowl back.”
Monday’s front page was only the latest act of dissent from the jilted football town. After responding to the bad call with spirited protest rallies in the French Quarter, the Super Bowl itself was largely met with “no watch parties” and generalized boycotts against the big game.