The Atlanta Falcons are nearing their 100th game against the New Orleans Saints, the team that has been their most bitter rival ever since both of these squads sucked out loud. It’s kind of a momentous occasion, and it’s also a good moment to reflect on just how great this rivalry has been.
We hate the Saints, the Falcons seem to actively hate the Saints, and the feeling from both the New Orleans fanbase and franchise seems very mutual. That’s what happens when you live through bottom-feeding years and triumphs together, and every game in the last 15 years seems to either come down to the wire or chock full of great moments. These two teams just play good, bitterly tough football games against one another, and as much as I hate the Saints, I have to admire that.
That’s why it’s little surprise that most Falcons fans correctly recognize that the Saints are the single biggest rival for this Atlanta team. In a recent FanPulse poll, 90% of Falcons fans said exactly that, with 5% naming the Panthers (the Falcons lead them 29-18 all-time), 2% the Buccaneers (26-24 Atlanta but they’re the Bucs), and the 3% who remember the NFC West years fondly the 49ers, who utterly dominated Atlanta during those years. The correct answer has been, is, and likely always will be New Orleans.
So raise a glass to the Saints, and then spit contemptuously on the ground. They deserve it.