In a fairly close race that saw the Atlanta Falcons edge out the Carolina Panthers as the biggest DIVISION rival, I thought about asking for the biggest NON-division rival. Instead, to make it a little more interesting, I thought I would pose the question this way:
Which non-division team do you, as a Saints fan, hate the most? It can still be due to a present or former rivalry, it can be because your favorite Saint went to that team in free agency, or because you were jealous of their success during a stretch run, or any other reason.
Because I didn't want the poll to include every single non-NFC South team, I picked a few teams that I thought were most likely to be someone's "most hated."
Seattle Seahawks - Brandon Browner plays there. Jimmy Graham plays there. The Seahawks beat the Saints in the 2011 postseason. Then again in 2014, Seattle beat the Saints in the NFC Wild Card game, eliminating the Saints from the post season. The Seahawks went on to win the Super Bowl that year, and have played in another Super Bowl since that time. The Saints meanwhile have yet to return to the postseason following this loss.
San Francisco 49ers - This is an old rivalry from the NFC West days. The 49ers were usually the team to beat in the NFC West while the Saints were there, and typically one step ahead of the Saints dreams of reaching the postseason. With Steve Young and Jerry Rice, the 49ers went on historic runs in the NFL, generally at the expense of the Saints. This doesn't even mention Ahmad Brooks's clothesline on Drew Brees, or the 49er fans complaining about the call afterward. And don't get me started on Alex Smith's Steve Young-esque performance in the 4th quarter of the 2012 divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
Chicago Bears - In 2006, a random Chicago Bears fan held a sign up that said, "Bears Finishing What Katrina Started." I haven't forgotten. The Saints are 0-2 all-time in the postseason against the Bears, most notably losing that 2006 NFC Championship game to the Bears when the "Saints can't play outdoors in the cold," bugaboo started.
New England Patriots - I wanted a list of four options, and this one was a toss-up between the Patriots and "America's Team" the Dallas Cowboys. Call it jealousy, but I hate seeing the Patriots win. Sean Payton gets suspended for one whole season due to BountyGate with the "ignorance is not an excuse/you are responsible for your team" and Belichick has no recourse from the league for SpyGate or DeflateGate. I have my own personal views about BountyGate and the "competitive advantage" it gave (or didn't give) the Saints, but the Patriots history of cheating is confirmed.
Are one of these teams your current most-hated non-division team in the NFL? Is it another team? Vote in the poll. Explain in the comments. Send me presents.