If you poll any number of Falcons fans on their standard for success next season, I would be willing to bet that nearly all of them would include beating New Orleans as a factor in that evaluation. The Saints are Atlanta's most dreaded rival--a situation exacerbated by their record against the Falcons during Sean Payton's tenure. Losing to the Saints is always insufferable. There are no exceptions.
The Saints are the obvious answer to this question. But which other team do you hate to lost to most, other than New Orleans?
Maybe it's the Arizona Cardinals, with their defense that has proven to be Matt Ryan's kryptonite over the last couple of seasons. Maybe it's the Packers, who crushed all of our hopes and dreams following the 2010 season. Maybe it's the Bucs--losing to them in Tampa Bay last season was certainly painful. Maybe it's the Panthers, because who doesn't hate losing to a division rival?
For me, there's just one answer to this question. It's the San Francisco 49ers.
First of all, the Niners used to essentially be the Saints in the eyes of Falcons fans--a division rival in the NFC West from 1970-2001, and a team that usually seemed to have the Falcons' number. The all-time series record between these two teams is 46-30-1, with the Niners holding the advantage. 39 of those wins came during the time these two teams were in the same division.
Also, the most painful loss for the Falcons in recent memory--including losses to the Saints--was undoubtedly the NFC Championship loss to the Niners following the 2012 season. To add insult to injury, we all had to sit through the ridiculous spectacle of losing to the Niners in the last game in Candlestick. The season had long been over from a mathematical perspective, and very few--if any--Falcons faithful expected to win that game, yet that loss was nearly as infuriating as the losses to New Orleans last season.
Which team do you hate to lose to most, other than the Saints?
- 2014 NFL Draft: Falcons Have Partners If They Want To Trade
- 2014 Free Agency: Falcons Linked To Michael Johnson
- Falcons May Have Four Compensatory Picks In The 2014 NFL Draft
- Defensive End Position Review: The People Who Sack Have Just Been Sacked
- What Claude Humphrey Means For the Hall of Fame and the Atlanta Falcons