Boycotting Saints fans may have contributed to low Super Bowl ratings

Posted at 10:16 AM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 10:16:26-05

While millions of people watched the New England Patriots win their sixth Super Bowl on Sunday, CBS executives likely came away disappointed. Just 45 percent of households turned in to the game, the lowest overnight ratings for a Super Bowl in a decade.

Some have blamed the low ratings on a dull game — the 16 combined points between the Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams were the lowest of all time. Others have blamed a lackluster halftime show, for which performers Maroon 5 were widely criticized.

But there may be another reason for the less-than-stellar ratings: Who Dat Nation.

Just 26 percent of households watched the Super Bowl in New Orleans on Sunday, a massive drop-off from the previous year. In 2018, 53 percent of households watched the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

In fact, Sunday's Super Bowl was the only time the game earned less than a 50 rating — outside of the 2017 Super Bowl, when the Saints hated rival, lost to the Patriots.

So, why did nearly half of households in the country's 50th-largest TV market decide to blackout the Super Bowl? Perhaps to send a message to the NFL.

On Jan. 20, the Rams defeated the New Orleans Saints 26-23 in the NFC Championship game to earn a spot in the Super Bowl. In that game, a controversial no-call on a Drew Brees incompletion forced the Saints to settle for a few goal with 1:45 seconds remaining. Had Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman been called for pass interference on the play, the Saints would have likely been able to take the lead with little to no time remaining.

The Saints still had the opportunity to win the game in overtime, but a Brees interception led to a game-winning field goal by Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein.

In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, Saints fans promisied to boycott the Super Bowl in protest of the controversial call. New Orleans fans even held a "Boycott Bowl" outside of Merecedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.

In a story about the ratings on declared " mission accomplished ."

The controversial no-call also prompted a class-action lawsuit by Saints fans gainst the NFL (which has since been thrown out ) and a call from Louisiana lawmakers for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to testify before an anti-trust committee.