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It’s hate week, so it’s time to remember why we hate the Saints

We really hate the Saints.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

It’s hate week! There is no team more deserving of your vitriol than the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta’s longtime rival and the most deeply annoying franchise in football. After they plastered 28-3 jokes on their in-the-works stadium escalators, the team is begging for us to like them even less, which is somehow always possible.

Here, our writers share their reasons for hating this execrable refuse heap of an NFL team, and we hope you’ll do the same in the comments. Try to follow the community guidelines, but you know, not so closely that you’re not insulting the Saints properly.

The Saints are the worst

There are so many reasons it’s almost paralyzing to choose them. This is a franchise that has enabled reprehensible people on a stunningly wide scale, employed a schmoozing used car salesman with a headset at head coach despite an endless procession of low grade scandals, let a bowl of oatmeal with a microwaved Stretch Armstrong arm linger three seasons too long under center, and has generally whinged their way through each season convinced the world is out to get them despite being media darlings for no discernable reason. Their general manager is the greatest cap manipulator in the league (or is propped up by actual cap genius Khai Harley, take your pick) and is still in the habit of routinely and self-destructively trading up until the Saints have four picks and blow two of them on a pair of players who have “bust” written on their forehead in permanent marker. Each and every season we have to hear about how the Saints are one of the NFL’s best teams, and only their inevitable collapse when it really matters makes all that starry-eyed adulation worthwhile.

None of that even has anything to do with the Falcons, but the rivalry itself offers a deep vein of loathing. We hate them because they’re our rivals, we hate them because Sean Payton was smug and infuriatingly dominant over the past decade, and we hate them because their players and fans are locked in an arms race over who can be the most petty and annoying. We hate them because they are the Saints, and they lord 28-3 over Falcons fans like they had any involvement in the matter and haven’t been involved in a hilarious series of postseason collapses themselves.

This is a team that is just above the Falcons in terms of all-time wins—literally one spot—and still sports a losing record against the rivals they’ve been crowing about beating for the past 10-plus years. They are the football outhouse next to ours, just with a fresh coat of paint and one sad little pine air freshener hanging off the door. They are our brothers in mediocrity, raised in the mire of decades of crummy football, and now like to pretend they’re above us when the stink of blown losses and failure rises off of them in waves.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda/Getty Images

The 2022 season might be a good one and it might be a bad one for the New Orleans Saints, but you can rest assured this team will fall well short of their dreams, and they and their fans will learn nothing from it. They will whine, stomp their feet, and find some arcane reason that they lost, setting about changing the entire league and whatever rules they can find to ensure it never happens to them again. The Saints are Icarus, one of my favorite comparisons, in that they always fly close enough to greatness to be burnt by it. Unlike Icarus, they have—and will—spend the plummet to earth complaining about how unfair it is that the sun is so hot and their wings so flimsy. —Dave Choate

There’s no franchise I despise more

Back in 2020, I wrote an article about just how and why the Saints are so unlikable. Of course the bad blood runs deep in this rivalry, now 55 years in the making. Falcons fans have always hated the Saints and vice versa, but it’s unreal just how reprehensible that franchise is on a general note in the NFL as a whole. My in-depth reasoning for this statement is in the article — I’m not going to rehash all of it here.

In brief summary, however, they’ve employed some truly awful people who have done some very terrible actions, and it’s not the least bit of a surprise given that there are few people in the NFL who are more reprehensible human beings than team owner Gayle Benson.

That fanbase deserves no happiness. As a collective, they’re completely repulsive and have convinced themselves that there’s no bad that’s ever happened to their franchise that wasn’t someone else’s fault. One of my great joys as a football fan over the past decade has been watching that franchise collapse in the playoffs over and over again while seeing that fanbase routinely melt into a puddle of disbelief.

I dislike a lot of teams across all sports. Despite my dislike, I still carry a level and measure of respect for many of them — I can’t help but respect franchises like the Patriots and the Bucs — but I truly don’t carry a morsel of respect for the Saints nor their fanbase. If that franchise were to fold and cease to exist tomorrow, I think the world would be better for it. —Adnan Ikic

Their fanbase is basically carnies

There are plenty of reasons to hate the Saints. Bountygate. Their best player ever peddling multi-level marketing scams. A crooked owner. Shocking allegations surrounding the Roman Catholic archdiocese. But the worst is the fans. The fans are by and large dumber, louder and more ignorant than any other fanbase. The only possible explanation is that groups of traveling carnies finally set down in a place that appealed to their carnie senses — a place supported nearly entirely by selling disgusting drinks to bachelor and bachelorette parties. What better comparison of the Saints than to its unofficial drink, the hurricane: a bunch of cheap sugary additives to cover up the putrid quality of the underlying booze, sold at a scam-worthy price.

I suppose I can’t blame the fanbase. If you were stuck in a remote location so far away from anything of interest, you too might base your entire personality on a historically mediocre football team and the booze you can pick up on the dirtiest street in the world. — Matt Chambers

Their ownership is reprehensible, and they’re always overhyped by the national media

I don’t know if it has to do with people loving the city of New Orleans—which, to be fair, is a fun vacation destination with great food—but the thing that annoys me most about the Saints is their constant overhype and adulation by the national media. It seems like they can do no wrong in the eyes of national reporters, as they’re constantly lifted up as Super Bowl contenders and given copious primetime opportunities even when they’re a fundamentally bad team. Look no further than this offseason, where we still see plenty of pieces about how they’re a plucky underdog team who will “shock the league”.

The Saints lost star head coach Sean Payton to retirement (who was possibly also courted by the Miami Dolphins), who despite being a complete ass was a talented football coach. They insist that everything will be fine because there’s “continuity” with Dennis Allen—who was an awful head coach in his previous outing—and Pete Carmichael Jr., who to my knowledge has never called plays in his entire career. I remember Falcons fans thinking the same thing when Kyle Shanahan left, because there was “continuity” with Dan Quinn.

They had to let their franchise left tackle, Terron Armstead, walk in free agency and traded away excellent nickel defender Chauncey Gardner-Johnson for literal peanuts because of salary cap mismanagement. Their expected Armstead replacement, rookie Trevor Penning, is expected to miss the majority of the season after a preseason injury. NFL media continues to insist that New Orleans has a great offensive line despite left guard Andrus Peat (52.1 overall PFF grade) and right guard Cesar Ruiz (57.6) both finishing as below-average starters and center Erik McCoy (63.6) barely cresting average. Jameis Winston is coming off a significant season-ending injury, and Michael Thomas is already dealing with a hamstring injury.

Sure, their defense will once again be among the best in the league. How well did that work out for them in 2021? Or in any of the previous seasons? The NFL is an offensive league now, and I just don’t see this Saints offense improving from last year without their offensive mastermind in the building.

Oh, and they paid their players to injure opponents during their Super Bowl run and used the team’s resources to help the Catholic Church cover up a massive sex abuse scandal. The national media still worships them. They’re the worst and I’d hate them even if I wasn’t a Falcons fan. —Kevin Knight