Here's what it takes to be a REAL Super Fan.
Every season, these Saints super fans take the spotlight as they cheer on players and get crowds pumped at games. Soul Saint, Da Pope and Cyborg Saint are among some popular super fans we spoke with about the type of dedication it takes to be a die-hard fan.
Originality, creativity, sacrifice and bravery are some of the qualities it takes to be a super fan. Some of these pros say staying committed isn’t as easy as it looks.
Leroy Mitchell, Jr., who moonlights as Whistle Monsta, says the real test of a super fan is rooting for the team even when they’re not performing well.
Mitchell said he created his whistle alter-ego more than 20 years ago for Saints games when the team wasn’t topping NFC rankings.
“When they are doing bad, everybody is complaining, jumping ship, freaking out, calling for people’s heads,” Mitchell said. “So it’s up to us to be like man pull it together.”
Soul Saint, who wanted to go by the alias “Mr. Knox,” said it also takes a lot of courage to dress up every game.
“That’s what makes a real super fan, you know, when you can go dress up and sometimes, you know, we look crazy to them,” Knox said.
Along emotional sacrifices, fans say it also takes creativity to come up with costumes. Copying ideas seem to be totally faux pas, according to a couple of fans.
Ben Collier, who transforms into Cyborg Saint, gave advice to people looking to become super fans.
“It’s not going to be right the first time; it’s a process,” Collier said. “It’s about making it your own and being original.”
From comic books to video games, Saints super fans grab inspiration for costumes from everywhere.
Lionel Alphonso looked to religion for his popular Saints pope costume. A Saints losing season paired with Pope John Paul II’s visit to New Orleans during the late-1980s was the catalyst toward his costume idea.
“Somebody dared me to wear a pope outfit to the game to bring the Saints good luck,” Alphonso said.
Alphonso also said the job of a super fan is to carry the torch for fans when times get hard.
“When the games are bad they look towards the super fans,” Alphonso said. “The old saying is: A lot of people can’t be football players, but you can always be a fan.”