Saints vs. Falcons: Upcoming Game Info & Rivalry History
Feb 17, 2023
New Orleans Saints tickets and Atlanta Falcons tickets can be found on their respective team pages, along with schedule information.
Yes, the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons are rivals. Both teams are in the NFL’s NFC South Division, leading to at least two games to be played against each other every season.
The biggest rivals to the New Orleans Saints are the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers. The Saints also have notable rivalries with the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings.
The Atlanta Falcons’ biggest rivalry is with the New Orleans Saints. They have notable rivalries with divisional opponents the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers as well.
The beginnings of the deep-seated rivalry between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints can be traced back to the Saints’ entry into the NFL (1967) only one year after the Falcons (1966). The rivalry comes from the Saints’ and Falcons’ close proximity in geography, the time at which they entered the NFL, and being the first two teams in the Southeast United States. This led to the Saints and Falcons playing against one another with regularity, as well as a high game attendance from both fans during their matchups.
Their placement in the NFL’s NFC Western Division in 1970 added another layer to their rivalry, as the two teams maintained a similar level of competitiveness and played often.
One of the early and defining moments of the Saints vs. Falcons rivalry came in 1978, when a Hail Mary pass by Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski to wide receiver Alfred Jenkins clinched them the game. This play, nicknamed “Big Ben,” was then reused two weeks later by the Falcons against the Saints to successful effect.
In 1991, another important and bitter moment in the rivalry’s saga occurred when the Falcons dealt the Saints one of the most brutal defeats in the history of their franchise. After winning their first NFC West title and defeating the Falcons in their series that year, the Saints went on to face the Falcons once more as a Wild Card team. The Saints’ hopes were dashed when Falcons quarterback Chris Miller passed to wideout Michael Haynes for a game-winning touchdown with three minutes to spare.
The National Football Conference’s Southern Division was founded in 2002. The division became the new home of the New Orleans Saints and the Falcons, with the fans and the teams bringing their old grudges with them.
Perhaps the most emotional and defining chapter in the Saints vs. Falcons rivalry was in 2006, the first game in the Saints’ Superdome since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005. During a punt by Falcons’ punter Michael Koenen, Saints’ safety Steve Gleason dashed forward and blocked the punt, knocking it over to cornerback Curtis Deloatch for a touchdown. This moment was immortalized in bronze outside the Superdome in a symbolic statue titled “Rebirth.” As Gleason himself stated before its unveiling, “This statue is not about football. It’s a symbol of the commitment and perseverance that this community took on before that game.” The statue does not bear any Falcons logos, as they did not grant their rivals permission.
While fun and lighthearted at times, this long-standing competitive rivalry can sometimes grow ugly. During the games between these two teams, Saints fans’ chants of “Who dat” are often met derisively with Falcons fans’ exclamations of being “Dirty birds.” The animosity between these teams can be felt during these contemptuous chants as fans scream and cheer for their team.
As befits such a legendary rivalry, the series record was tied 54-54 on December 18, 2022, following a victory by the Saints.
The New Orleans Saints play at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Caesars Superdome provided emergency shelter to many during Hurricane Katrina, after which it received extensive repairs.
The Atlanta Falcons play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The state-of-the-art stadium has a retractable roof with a circular opening inspired by the Roman Pantheon.
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