It’s Wednesday, so it’s time to start looking ahead to Sunday’s game. There’s very little in the way of optimistic feelings about this Falcons team against the defending Super Bowl champions, so let’s start the rivalry week with a look back.
Tampa Bay is the weirdest competitor in the NFC South. They have the worst win percentage in NFL history and have been putrid throughout most of their history, putting up just 8 double digit win seasons (Atlanta has 10) and going sometimes decades without even sniffing contention. They also have more Super Bowl wins than any other team in this division and have kept the all-time series extremely close, so nobody in this division is in a great position to make fun of them, the Falcons very much included. That’s not going to stop us, but it’s only fair to acknowledge that.
That said, it’s also only fair to choose a defining moment that isn’t a blowout, as much as I’d like to gleefully point to Devin Hester’s devastating returns against the Buccaneers in 2014 en route to a 56-14 victory. When I think of these two teams, I think of a game turning on something preposterous and going, however narrowly, to the Falcons.
So maybe it’s a bit of recency bias at work, but I instantly think of Deion Jones throwing a pick six in overtime, his 30th interception of the year and just the most perfect ending to a wild game between Atlanta and Tampa Bay when they were both capping off lost seasons. It helps that it was a great play by Deion Jones and an iconic moment overall, but it helps more that it encapsulates the weirdness, the level of competition and the lightning fast changes that have defined this rivalry between a couple of largely miserable teams over the years.
You don’t have to agree, of course. What’s your defining moment for the rivalry?