There isn’t a better NFL rivalry than the New Orleans Saints’ SEC-style feud with the Atlanta Falcons, which stretches back generations and has survived the passage of time (and a league realignment or two). Everyone knows it — it’s why the Saints are opening their 2022 season on the road against Atlanta.
Sure there may be other NFL rivalries with a higher profile on the national stage, but come on; the Chicago Bears haven’t been competitive with the Green Bay Packers in decades, with just two regular season sweeps in my lifetime (2007 and 2005, dating back to 1992, if you’re curious). At least the Baltimore Ravens have recently narrowed the gap with the Pittsburgh Steelers by winning their last four battles in a row, but Pittsburgh is winning the war with a dominant 32-24 overall record. The point is that a strong rivalry should actually be competitive and fun to watch, with real history baked into it.
Compare that to the Saints and Falcons, who have each taken their lumps and enjoyed their highlights over the years, though the Saints haven’t come close to embarrassing their fans the way Atlanta did in blowing a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI. Now, New Orleans is in position to tie everything up with a 2022 season sweep; the Falcons have barely held on to their all-time series lead at 54-52, thanks to Sean Payton torching them with a 21-9 record against Atlanta during his long run as Saints head coach.
But how have the individual Falcons head coaches fared? Let’s run down the list: