Before I go further, let me be clear about this: I believe the Saints organization, Gregg "Hitman" Williams, Payton, Loomis and anyone involved in the bounty system should be punished justly. In fact, I think a lifetime ban against Williams is not excessive, while Payton deserves to lose at least half this season if not the full of it. I also believe that this does go on at other teams, but those teams were not stupid enough to get caught documenting these practices.
I realize the title of this post is absolute sacrilege to die-hard Falcons fans, but hear me out. There's a reason behind the incendiary post and it's a reminder that suffering is visited on the heads of the just and the unjust alike.
Let me also say - I'm no Saints fan. I want nothing more than for the Falcons to stomp the Aints into the curb everytime we play them. I want Ryan and company to painfully embarrass this team every single time we play. If this franchise never wins another game, I won't shed a tear.
With that said, of all the franchises that should be able to sympathize with the Saints fans right now - it's us. Our recent string of success has helped us to recover from our own devastating controversy: the Mike Vick scandal.
It was not that long ago that our star QB - one that many of us thought would bring home the Lombardi trophy - became a convicted felon for heinous crimes. The entire franchise - and the fan-base - were shaken badly. The set-back to the Falcons could have been far, far worse. The fact that we only suffered one losing season in the midst of the shake-up is a testament to Mr. Blank and the rest of the organization. Things could have been dramatically worse.
So, why sympathize for the fans of our most hated rival? Simple - Saints fans did not ask for this. Just as we did not ask for Vick to become a dog-murderer and felon, Saints fans did not want this. Just as we were heart-broken, they are now heart-broken. Just as we were devastated and fearing for their teams future, we were also devastated and fearing for our teams future.
I'm not asking you to like Saints fans - or to even root for their recovery. But as a fellow Falcons fan, I'm asking you to sympathize with them right now - as we have only to look back to 2007 to realize it wasn't that long ago that we were in the same position.