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Saints Top 5 Schadenfreude Super Bowls

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Most years there’s little emotional involvement in the Super Bowl participants, but sometimes there’s a team you just can't wait to watch lose the big game.

NFL: Super Bowl 50-Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Schadenfreude (the feeling of delight and satisfaction taken directly from the misery and misfortune of those you dislike) is a more prevalent occurrence in sports than most would even admit. Think about it, there are always more teams that a fan dislikes than ones they actually like. Unfortunately, many of the Saints’ rivals have made the Super Bowl, but fortunately, many of them have lost there as well.

Over the years, Saints fans have had quite a few teams to enjoy rooting against come Super Sunday. While Super Bowl XLIV will always clearly reign as Who Dat Nation’s favorite Super Bowl (until the Saints’ next win, of course), the five games listed here have a good shot at the #2 spot until New England beats Atlanta this Sunday.

Here are the top five schadenfreude Super Bowls for Who Dat Nation.

#5 - Carolina Panthers vs. New England Patriots

February 1st, 2004

Patriots 32 - Panthers 29

Following consecutive 3rd place finishes in the division, Saints fans fed up with quarterback Aaron Brooks began chanting “We want Jake!”. By Jake, they meant backup quarterback Jake Delhomme, and at the conclusion of the 2002 season Delhomme was fed up with being a backup. In 2003 Delhomme signed with Carolina and in just one season turned the 1-15 Panthers into NFC Champions.

This, of course, didn't sit well with Saints fans, who were stuck with Brooks and another mediocre season while his former backup was leading a division rival to the promised land. The Saints had just finished their 37th season in the NFL, with one playoff win under their belt, while a former Saint was leading the 9-year-old Panthers to the Super Bowl. This made for a good team to root against.

Saints fans had just seen the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl just one year before, so watching another division rival win the title the next year, especially with a Louisiana native at quarterback, would've been too much to stand. Like this Sunday, it was up to the Patriots to do Who Dat Nation’s dirty work.

It was a tight contest throughout, featuring a tense 4th quarter, in which the Patriots nailed the game-winning 41-yard field goal in the closing seconds. Thankfully, Carolina faced a Patriots team that was beginning to build its dynasty which continues to grow today, hopefully growing even greater this Sunday.

Recap the great memories of the game here.

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#4 - Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers

February 3rd, 2013

Ravens 34 - 49ers 31

Roger Goodell’s bounty witch-hunt of 2012 made sure the Saints had no chance of playing in this Super Bowl before the season even started. With the prospect of a “Domefield” Super Bowl in New Orleans dashed, the situation only got worse when the NFC Championship Game came around. It featured not one, but two, of the Saints biggest historical rivals, in the despised San Francisco 49ers and the loathed Atlanta Falcons.

What resulted was a ‘Sophie’s Choice’ situation for Saints fans. The lesser of two evils in this case was to pull against the Falcons and hold your nose as the Niners went on to the Super Bowl. Once the dirty work was done, and the Niners kept the Falcons out of a New Orleans Super Bowl, Who Dat Nation could once again turn their focus on rooting against the Niners on Super Sunday.

Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers went on to face his brother, John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Super Bowl XLVII. Needless to say, Who Dat Nation became huge Ravens fans for that game, as the obnoxious San Francisco fans descended upon New Orleans.

The game couldn’t have possibly gone better through the first half and after the Ravens returned the opening kickoff of the second half, widening their lead to 28-6. The problems came after the Superdome lights mysteriously went out early in the 3rd quarter. After the power in the Superdome returned, the Niners mounted a furious second-half comeback that fortunately fell short with less than two minutes remaining. The less-annoying Harbaugh saved New Orleans from suffering through the joy and elation of the extremely-annoying Harbaugh and his thoroughly unlikable team on our homefield.

Relive the great memories of the game here.

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#3 - Indianapolis Colts vs. Chicago Bears

February 4th, 2007

Colts 29 - Bears 17

During their first 40 years, this was as close as the Saints had ever come to the Super Bowl. The Saints faced the Chicago Bears for the right to reach this game, and as we all recall, the Saints were swept away in the second half of the NFC Championship Game in the Windy City.

To get that close to the Super Bowl was crushing for a fanbase so starved for a chance to bask in its glory. In the Saints’ stead was the Chicago Bears, whose fans at Soldier Field for that dreary NFC title game pelted the Saints faithful in attendance not only with snowballs, but also with distasteful Katrina jokes. It was bad enough to have our Super Bowl hopes dashed, but the jabs from some Chicago fans made it extremely easy to root loudly against the team that took the Saints’ place.

Against the Bears was the AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts, led by native son of New Orleans, Peyton Manning. Peyton, son of beloved former Saints quarterback, Archie Manning, had the goodwill of Saints fans and New Orleanians behind him (a luxury he would not have three years later, in Super Bowl XLIV). It was an easy choice to root for the Colts.

The Bears started Super Bowl XLI with a resounding bang, thanks to returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but ended with long stream of whimpers, thanks to their comical offensive performance. The Colts handled the Bears in the steady Miami rain that day. I guess you could say the Colts finished what the Saints had started. Thanks Peyton, much appreciated.

Relive the great memories of the game here.

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#2 - Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos

February 7th, 2016

Broncos 24 - Panthers 10

Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers had shed years of mediocrity in just one season. Somehow, someway, the Saints’ bitter NFC South rivals had put together one of the most impressive seasons many had seen in quite some time, even flirting with an undefeated season.

The Panthers gloated and boasted their way to the Super Bowl with glee. Their defense was as impressive as usual, but their offense finally clicked and Cam received all the love and adoration he could desire. The MVP trophy was awarded to Newton on the eve of Super Bowl 50, and many foolishly thought it was a mere formality that he would be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy as well, come the next day.

All that stood in the way was “has-been” quarterback Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. What many were forgetting though was that the Broncos defense was strangling opposing offenses all season, giving up only 18.5 points-per-game on average, a total bested by this year’s New England Patriots at 15.6 ppg.

Peyton Manning’s Hall-of-Fame leadership and Denver’s stout, experienced defense clearly bested the NFL’s top-scoring offense led by the NFL MVP. The explosive Panthers were defanged and exposed on the biggest stage, and it was glorious. Peyton rode off into the sunset with his second Lombardi, while Cam rode off back into mediocrity, trading in his new trademark dab for his old trademark pout. Thanks again, Peyton, and thank you Denver.

Relive the great memories of the game here.

***

#1 - Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons

January 31st, 1999

Broncos 34 - Falcons 19

This game has always held a special place in the hearts of Who Dat Nation. The Falcons were the first of the currently constituted NFC South franchises to win the NFC Championship and reach the Super Bowl. Carolina (in the old NFC West) and Tampa (in the old NFC Central) had reached the NFC title game before this, but it was Atlanta that opened the door to the big game first.

The only way to atone for this atrocity was for the “Dirty Birds” to have their doors blown off on the grandest stage. Enter the Denver Broncos. Denver was the 14-2 defending Super Bowl Champion who played every bit the 7 12 point favorite they were in this game and more. The Falcons not only ruined this Super Bowl by playing in it, they ruined the dream matchup everyone was anticipating, by winning the NFC Championship in Minnesota the game prior.

The 1998 Minnesota Vikings finished the season with a 15-1 record and boasted the highest-scoring offense of the decade. A dream Super Bowl matchup with the Champion Broncos seemed almost a formality for most of that season. An inexplicable miss on the game-clinching field goal by the Vikings in the NFC title game sealed their fate and gave us the abomination of the Falcons in the Super Bowl.

Needless to say, the Falcons replacing the Vikings in the Super Bowl was as welcome as a stink bomb in a crowded elevator. Regardless, the Falcons gave us some great schadenfreude to enjoy in this one. We enjoyed gas station enthusiast Jamal Anderson failing to score in the game. We laughed at lonely insomniac Eugene Robinson being unable to handle himself in Miami. Most importantly, we got to watch the Broncos thoroughly and systematically dismantle the Falcons in the most lopsided game on this list. Good memories, thanks once again Denver.

Recap the great memories of the game here.

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The opportunity is now here to have Super Bowl LI replace the games on this list as Who Dat Nation’s favorite schadenfreude Super Bowl. We’ll all be waiting with great anticipation for it to happen. What was your favorite Super Bowl to “hate watch” over the years? Tell us below in the comments section!