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Saints Fans’ Top 10 Schadenfreude Super Bowls

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. Let’s look back at our favorites.

Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

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 ten games listed here have a good shot to make us smile, and hopefully Kansas City beats Tampa Bay this Sunday to keep the schadenfreude coming!

Here are the top ten schadenfreude Super Bowls for Who Dat Nation:

#10 - New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams

February 3rd, 2019

Patriots 13 - Rams 3

Following the most egregious no call in playoff history, the Rams were gifted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to defeat the most flawed New England team to reach the Super Bowl since the 2011 team. Did the Rams take advantage of that unbelivable gift? No, of course not. In fact, they proceeded to have arguably the most embarrassing outing in Super Bowl history. A bedwetting for the ages. No one could've imagined how badly this game would’ve turned out.

The only reason this game isn't higher on this list is because so few people, especially Saints fans, even watched this game, which was the lowest-rated Super Bowl in over a decade and widely boycotted by Saints fans. Not much was missed, as this was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever played. Even the great Tom Brady failed to throw a touchdown pass in the game. In fact, the only “star” performance, if you want to call it that, in this abysmal game came from Julian Edelman. The Rams embarrassed the NFC, the Super Bowl, and the league as a whole. My goodness, the Saints would've... Nope, not gonna go there again. Breathe... just breathe.

Recap that embarrassing game here.

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#9 - New York Giants vs. New England Patriots

February 3rd, 2008

Giants 17 - Patriots 14

The 2007 Patriots were easily a massive favorite going into this one. They were 18-0 going into this game, looking to be come the first team to win the Super Bowl with an undefeated season since Miami in 1972. If you thought Pats fans were obnoxious before this, things would've inflated dramatically with a 19-0 championship season being added to Brady’s legacy.

Against the Patriots were the NFC Champion New York Giants, led by native son of New Orleans, Eli Manning. Eli, the youngest son of beloved former Saints quarterback, Archie Manning, had the goodwill of Saints fans and New Orleanians behind him (just like his brother Peyton did the year before in XLI). It was an easy choice to root for the Giants.

No sports fan would ever forget what would unfold in this game as future Saints goat, Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo came up with a masterstroke of a gameplan to beat the “GOAT” Brady into submission. David Tyree made the catch we would see thousands of times to this day, and FINALLY, we got to behold the sight of Tom Brady pouting under the falling confetti.

Arguably the greatest achievement thus far in the Super Bowl for New Orleans unfolded here, as two of New Orleans’ own starting quarterbacks won back-to-back Super Bowl titles. Finally, that feather in the cap would be topped by orders of magnitude just two years later in Super Bowl XLIV.

Relive the great memories of the game here.

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#8 - New York Giants vs. New England Patriots

February 5th, 2012

Giants 21 - Patriots 17

The Giants did it to Brady and the Patriots again. Seeing Brady’s final Hail Mary pass fall in front of the outstretched fingertips of Rob Gronkowski was some good schadenfreude. Had Gregg Williams not done Gregg Williams things by blitzing in the closing moments in San Francisco, it could very well have been the Saints handing Brady his second Super Bowl loss. You’re welcome, Eli.

Recap the great memories of the game here.

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#7 - 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. 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.

Recap the great memories of the game here.

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#6 - Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers

February 2nd, 2020

Chiefs 31 - 49ers 20

San Francisco, despite having the same record in 2019 as the Saints, secured home field advantage in the NFC by virtue of beating the Saints head-to-head, as usual. This, of course, regulated the Saints to the Wild Card round where they embarrassed themselves at home against Minnesota. The Niners, meanwhile, won the NFC title and went on to face Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The hatred of the Niners by Saints fans goes back to the old NFC West alignment, when New Orleans and San Francisco were bitter divisional rivals. The Niners always seemed to be getting the breaks, no matter how good the Saints’ records were. It happened through the late 80’s, it happened in 2011, and it was happening again in 2019. The PTSD throughout Who Dat Nation regarding San Francisco remained strong, and having to see the 49ers return to Super Bowl glory would be too much to handle, especially a year after enduring the “No Call”.

Thankfully, Patrick Mahomes put on his cape and crushed San Francisco’s Super Bowl dreams, after stringing them along for three quarters. The Chiefs overwhelmed the Niners with superior coaching, superior talent, superior speed, and a superior quarterback, just like they will this Sunday as they march toward back-to-back Super Bowl titles.

Recap the great memories of the game here.

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#5 - 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.

***

#4 - 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, yet fail, 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, the middle 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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#3 - 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. This was a Broncos defense that was not only the best unit since Baltimore in 2000, but arguably one of the best defenses in NFL history.

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.

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#2 - 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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#1 - New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

February 5th, 2017

Patriots 34 - Falcons 28 (OT)

This game will always hold the most special place in the minds of Who Dat Nation. It is the Sistine Chapel of choking. It is “The Godfather” of failure. It is truly hard to imagine another scenario that could possibly unfold to take this game out of the top spot, ever. Like your first kiss or the birth of a child, Saints fans will never forget Super Bowl LI and the range of emotions it raised in all of us.

Trailing 14-0, Tom Brady threw a horrifying interception that Atlanta took back 82-yards for what seemed at the time like a back-breaking touchdown. That pick-six seemed to signal that the Falcons would not be denied on that day. The 21-3 halftime lead turned into the infamous 28-3 score that brings a smile to all of our faces, after Atlanta scored once again midway through the 3rd quarter. A suffocating darkness had blanketed Who Dat Nation.

Saints fans experienced all five stages of grief as the game wore on, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and as Acceptance began to set in late in the 3rd quarter, through the darkness came a blinding light. With just 2:06 remaining in the 3rd quarter, New England scored the first 6 of 31 unanswered points, setting the stage for Atlanta to claim the greatest collapse not only in Super Bowl history, but arguably in all of professional sports.

The despair of 28-3 transformed into the shock of 28-28 at the end of regulation, which evolved into the elation of 31-28 as James White crossed the plane of the end zone in overtime. Sealing the Falcons’ fate as the most notorious choke-artists of All-Time. We salute fate, destiny, what have you, for this game. We give it a standing ovation. The grandest chef’s kiss goes out to you. Bravo! Magnificent! This, the 9th Symphony of schadenfreude stands the test of time, forever immortalized. Thank you.

Recap the unforgettable memories of the game here.

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