Welcome to the third and final installment of our offseason NFC South Trash Talk series. Today, we are taking a derisive look at the team that has been the Saints most bitter division rival: the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons have been an interesting team since 2008 when they drafted quarterback Matt Ryan, alternating a few years of sheer brilliance with seasons of abject failure. Playing a big part in the Falcons' misery the past nine years are the New Orleans Saints: Since Sean Payton arrived in New Orleans in 2006, the Saints are 13-5 against the Falcons, recording five season sweeps in the process. Oh sure, most Falcons fans will remind you that Atlanta leads the all-time series against the Saints 49-43. They won't mention that most of those wins came when guys played with helmets (like on the picture below) that actually contributed to giving them concussions when they got hit in the head.
Oh and did you know that two of the Falcons' five wins against the Saints in nine years came in 2014? Yes, before leaving the NFC South, former Falcons head coach Mike Smith finally swept a Sean Payton team. In case you hadn't noticed, they were happy, really, really happy about it in Atlanta.
Yeah, that's of course despite the fact that they finished the 2014 season with a 6-10 record, but hey they don't do a lot of winning in Atlanta, so be nice.
As I've done in this NFC South Trash Talk series, I'll highlight three reasons why I've had a great time making fun of the Saints' divisional opponent du jour. However, I had about 125 reasons to laugh at Atlanta, so I'm going to try and use some superhuman restraint here. First, allow to start by fondly remembering a former foe, one who has now left the NFC South. Someone we are going to miss dearly as Saints fans.
A man of amazing poise and composure
A man who did not fear big (failed) fourth down calls
The NFC South thanks you for all the good years, Mike.
Now let's get to the meat of it all. Here are three things that will forever make us laugh at the Atlanta Falcons:
1. Falcons Fans
What do you mean there are no Falcons fans? Sure there are! Plenty of them actually, I've met several of them during my travels around the country. And I have to say, most of them were passionate, loyal fans. Falcons fans are just what you'd want the fans of your favorite team to be.
Pictures speak louder than words right? So for you doubters out there, take a look:
Here are Falcons fans in Seattle:
What? You can't spell Seahawks without "Hawks."
Here are Falcons fans in Boston:
I even met a bunch of Falcons fans in Denver
Oh and of course, Falcons fans in Atlanta
They were the loudest.
2. Matt Ryan is Better than Drew Brees
Falcons fans in Seattle, Boston and elsewhere get really sensitive about this. I've heard them say so many times, that they'd rather have Matt Ryan than Drew Brees. My reaction usually goes something like this:
Matt Ryan is a good quarterback and at age 30, he is obviously younger than the 36-year old Drew Brees. However, Ryan has yet to show that he can put a team on his back and take them to the promised land. In a nice stretch from 2010 to 2012, the Falcons went 36-12 in the regular season, only to flame out in the postseason each year, including a hilarious 24-2 defeat to the New York Giants in 2011.
That day, Ryan led an offense with Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Michael Turner to exactly zero points! The only score for Atlanta came through a safety on Eli Manning. The day Drew Brees leads the Saints offense to zero points in a game, please wake me up from my lifelong slumber.
3. Rise Up
So the Saints had "Who Dat," the Bengals "Who Dey" and Dallas had "How ‘bout dem Cowboys!" So of course, Atlanta thought: hey, the moment is right for us to have our own little slogan as well guys! And they came up with something that reminds me of...this:
So um...how is that whole thing risin' for you Falcons fans?
Not great uh?
Well sorry guys. Oh by the way, did you hear that the Falcons have hired a new coach to help them rise up again? Reports are that the optimism is high at Flowery Branch, because he said things like: "we're going to play wide open, run erect, go deep, tackle, catch, throw and play defense..." In other words, there might be another parade in Atlanta next January, one for having only lost nine games this time. Woohoo!!! Can't wait!