Welcome to Niners Hate Week 2016!
I love Niners Hate Week only second to Falcons Hate Week. I love it because I love to hate the rivals from the Bay Area. In 2013 I gave the Saints/49ers game a little Back to the Future flair and in 2014 I asked readers to embrace the hate. Now I go Back to the Future again as the saga of the Biff Tannen San Francisco 49ers vs the George McFly New Orleans Saints continues in 2016.
Lets take a look at the aftermath of George McFly's moment of standing up to his tormentor in Biff Tannen, much like the Saints stood up to their tormentors in the 49ers during their 2013 victory. The setback for the Saints was their followup game in 2014 where they unimaginably gave up a late lead and painfully lost in overtime. This was like if George had said "Oops, I'm sorry about that, Biff!" after clocking the hell out of Tannen a split-second earlier.
No, George McFly never relented and never apologized for standing up to the toolbag of Hill Valley. He wasn't just a more confident guy in the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance aftermath, he was downright vindictive. You didn't screw around with this George McFly.
McFly kept Tannen under his thumb for what may have been years, we have to speculate. Biff was a creep that physically assaulted his future wife and mother to his children for heaven's sake! McFly actually hires this dude to work around his wife and kids for years, and why? To mentally and emotionally dominate Biff into submission. Mild-mannered George McFly was a spiteful, vengeful, SOB who wanted to aggressively flaunt his dominance over his former tormentor. Disturbing? Highly. Kinda smart? Yeah, it was.
Starting with one moment of defiance, George McFly turned this Biff Tannen (The Harbaugh-Era Niners)
You're asking for it... And now, you're gonna get it.
Into this shell of Biff Tannen (The new and improved Niners), by not putting up with his nonsense anymore.
Now Biff... Don't con me.
Biff knows George can't wait to crack him for even the slightest of infractions. An under-the-breath comment, a side-eyed glance... anything. George McFly's body language screams "Give me one reason, just one, and I will pistol-whip you right here in this driveway!'. The Saints don't just need to leave Levi's Stadium with a ho-hum 26-23 win, they need to exorcise some demons of the past and lay out that pistol-whipping in the Niners' driveway. Sean Payton and Drew Brees have more than one reason to do so.
The Saints absolutely need to take advantage of this 49er team, that feels far more Nolan/Singletary-Era than it is Harbaugh-Era at this point. The San Francisco 49ers brand may have ebs-and-flows but will always have five Lombardi trophies and an undeniable lineage to lean upon even in the lowest of valleys. It is this that makes them such a dangerous long-term opponent.
Look, I've heard and read some nonsense about how the Seattle Seahawks are the more hated opponent for the Saints, and this sentiment is ridiculous. This notion is popular due to 3 factors:
1 - Recency Bias: The Saints have had tension with the Seahawks for five years, since the January 2011 Wild Card game embarrassment. What has followed was a Monday Night massacre in 2013 and a playoff thumping to end that season. That's it before this past Sunday's win. Four games in five years and they've eclipsed San Francisco as a rival? Reel it in, folks.
2 - Beast Quake: It was one play. A crushing one? Yes. A crude ending to unlikely repeat championship fantasies? Sure. But it was one play, nonetheless. It basically encapsulated the 2010 Saints season. That Saints defense played over its head all season long, getting almost none of the turnovers they had the year before, they just ran out of gas and broke down right there for the world to see. Yes, it was traumatizing and awful, but it was one play.
3 - The 12's: Yeah, they're annoying. I get it. Let's move on.
Pete Carroll is certainly the top coach to hate, now that Jim Harbaugh is gone, sure, I get that, It's just not enough. Even the Seattle secondary whining about pick plays and blown calls last week was more deliciously ironic than actually infuriating. More importantly, at least a Seattle linebacker never attempted to actually decapitate Drew Brees and then whine about being flagged for it after losing the game.
The San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints were divisional rivals for 32 years. THIRTY-TWO YEARS, and that was still 11 years before the epic loss at Candlestick Park that arguably cost the Saints their second Super Bowl title. Not only was this a three decade rivalry, but one that was usually dominated by the Niners year in and year out. The Saints need to change the perception of their long-standing rivalry with San Francisco for a variety of reasons that began many years ago.
For Joe Montana and John Taylor
For Steve Young and Jerry Rice
For Alex Smith and Vernon Davis
For Colin Kapernick and Michael Crabtree
For Ahmad Brooks and NaVorro Bowman
For Walsh, Seifert, and Harbaugh
For every time the 49ers kept the Saints under their thumb, let the Saints take advantage of a franchise in disarray. It would be foolish to suggest that one game would make up for years of tough and damaging losses, but this would certainly be a good place to start. The Saints, who at 3-4 are no powerhouse themselves, are still a viable threat to do some serious damage to these 1-6 49ers, and anything less than a statement victory will honestly be a disappointment, personally.
In 2013 I suggested the Saints stand up to their bullies, in the 49ers, just like George McFly did to Biff Tannen in 1955, and they did. Three years later, I suggest the Saints strike the 49ers while they're most vulnerable. They'll be back, their brand and marketability dictate it, but the Saints shouldn't let them come back without a great deal of respect, and a healthy dose of trepidation for facing the Saints' brand of football. It all begins this Sunday. The Saints' McFly have already delivered their surprising blow to the Niners' Tannen. Now the Saints must begin the process of turning the tables on the Niners and begin to make history swing in the opposite direction.
Ah, Biff... What a character.