Saints fans reflect on 1st live game in Superdome: ‘I feel safe’ said one clown

Posted by | October 28, 2020 .

The Saints’ win was only one major storyline from Week 8 in New Orleans. The other: 3,000 Who Dats getting into the building for the first time in the 2020 season.

That number in attendance for the Saints’ victory over the Carolina Panthers represented less than 5% of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s capacity, but represented a significant benchmark as city and team officials move forward in the new normal amid coronavirus pandemic.

Reflecting outside the Superdome after the game, several fans applauded the team’s handling of the gameday experience, feelings of safety with the many precautions in place and one significant point of discussion going forward.

“We can fit more people in the stadium. We could’ve had four times as much and still had space, I think,” said one fan that was decorated in full clown makeup.

The Saints played without fans entirely in Week 1, and several friends and family members were allowed in attendance for the next two games. After discussions about potentially holding home games in Baton Rouge where LSU has played in front of a maximum crowd of 25,000, city officials agreed to allow this week’s number with the potential to progressively raise the capacity if no larger issues with the pandemic are encountered.

One of those 3,000 fans in attendance was Larry Rolling, known as “the sign guy” and a mainstay of broadcasts from the Superdome with his eye-catching messages each week.

“Hey Saints, we all mask for you,” read Rolling’s sign at this week’s game.

He lauded Superdome workers for ensuring fans kept their mask on throughout the game.
“I felt safe, absolutely. … It was a great experience,” Rolling said.

New Orleans now has two weeks of Saints road games before having to make a determination on capacity for the next home game in Week 10 against the San Francisco 49ers, and then another divisional clash in Week 11. The Saints then go on the road for three road games before returning in Week 15 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

And regardless of how many are in attendance, the players appeared universally encouraged by the presence of live, cheering fans looking down from the few thousand filled seats scattered throughout the lower bowl — even mustering up enough noise for a “who dat” chant in the fourth quarter.

“I don’t care how many fans. It it was 10; if it was 1,000; if it was 3,000. It’s just good to have some people get back in there,” Saints star running back Alvin Kamara said after the win over the Panthers. “Everybody’s itching to get back into the stadium. Hopefully next game we can have 10,000, 20,000, I don’t know. But it’s just good to see those fans back out there. We enjoy having them as much as they enjoy being there. It’s definitely a huge advantage; they brought some noise today.”