In the almost ten years I’ve been on Twitter, there’s been four major sport communities that I’ve found fascinating.
There’s Egg Bowl Twitter, which features the fans of both Mississippi State and Ole Miss, which is more venomous than what I’ve seen from Iron Bowl Twitter.
Braves Twitter, which I enjoyed pissing off during their time as a functioning baseball team, especially after the infamous Wild Card game in 2012.
Vol Twitter, who in 2017 led an uprising to stop Greg Schiano from being hired as the Tennessee football coach.
The fourth group, Saints Twitter, a group that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with over the years, is probably one of the most influential, if not knowledgeable NFL communities on Twitter. And while the team’s account ranks 18th among NFL teams in followers, the bonds that the members of Saints Twitter have forged over the years goes beyond the football season.
Recently, I had a chance to talk with several members of Saints Twitter about what makes our little black-and-gold village stand out from other NFL communities on Twitter.
The Beat Writer
“I worked for a smaller place in New England,” Nick Underhill said of his time covering the Patriots on Tuesday afternoon, “So we basically had to go out and find readers, which is easier because of Twitter. It just becomes embedded in your life.”
Underhill, who has covered the Saints since 2015 for the New Orleans Advocate, feels that Saints Twitter is more understanding with local reporters.
“I think Patriots Twitter did make me a better reporter,” he said, “But when I was covering them I used to be in fear of getting something wrong. If you mess up a scoop or even a story, they would be on you viciously. Here in New Orleans I think the people here are more understanding when it comes to local reporters. But I still operate like I could get ran out of town. I try to do everything I can to make sure it’s correct.”
If it wasn’t for the piano, Baton Rouge resident Kandace Richardson wouldn’t have fell in love with football.
“I was 11 years old and playing the piano when LSU took on Kentucky in 2002,” she said in an interview for Where Y’at Magazine in July, “I could see the TV from where I was sitting at. As soon as Devry Henderson caught that pass, my family and I began screaming at the top of our lungs. That’s what made me fall in love with the sport.”
Richardson, who traces her Saints fandom back to the Aaron Brooks era but didn’t begin following the NFL more intently until after Katrina, said that Saints Twitter is more like a family.
“I’ve met numerous people because of the Saints on this app. And we will rib anyone that comes for the Saints.”
“The first NFL game I went to was in 2005,” remembers Tre Potts, “The Saints took on the Detroit Lions in San Antonio and lost 13-12.”
A San Antonio native, Potts said that despite the loss, that game in the Alamodome stuck with him.
“They weren’t really good, but I wanted them to do well. Plus I had relatives scattered across Louisiana and Mississippi that were Saints fans.”
Now living in Corpus Christi, Texas, Potts said that the best thing about Saints Twitter is the passion the fans have.
“I always feel like we can have fun win or lose.”
The Loud Minority in Packers Country
For Wisconsin native Derek Devereaux, being a Saints fan in the middle of Packers country is almost similar to being a Republican on Chicago’s South Side, a loud minority in the majority.
“I come from a family of Packer fans,” he said, “When my brother and I used to play Madden, he would pick the Packers and I would pick the Saints. So it pretty much snowballed from there.”
For Devereaux, the best thing about Saints Twitter is the bond.
“I have friends who root for other teams and when they’re losing, they tend to break apart. It also helps that the team heavily connects with the fans.”
“My father is a 49ers fan,” said Saints fan Jen, “I was 10 or 11 when I told him I wasn’t a 49ers fan anymore. He hated the Saints for some reason and never let me forget that I switched teams. Plus I thought Bobby Hebert was hot.”
Now living in California, Jen, who goes by @Who_Dat_Jelleh on Twitter, says that being part of Saints Twitter is like being part of a family.
“We support each other, fight each other, but at the end of the day it’s all love.”
For Mike Effler, choosing a handle for his Twitter account wasn’t hard.
“I hate the Falcons as much in June as I do in November,” Effler said Wednesday, “So when I saw that there was a ‘Fuck David Stern’ handle, I created FuckTheFalcons.”
Effler, who created his account five months after the Saints’ historic Super Bowl win, said that because of Saints Twitter, he’s made friends for life.
“Twitter can shut down right now and I’ll have 10 friends for life. We mean this shit.”