EggGate is now the latest salvo in what's fast becoming one of the NFL's most compelling rivalries, a battle both on field and off. Appropriately enough for its Southern locale, it's the rivalry that most resembles college football, where attitude and personality play key roles, and where everyone – fan and player alike – is a combatant.Because both teams are southern and because one of them is in New Orleans, this series has barely mattered to "real America" over the years. That doesn't mean it hasn't mattered, though.
"The New Orleans-Atlanta rivalry may not be looked at by the rest of the country as one of the great rivalries in sports, but I don't care," says Rob Brown, a sports talk host on WTKE in Destin, Fla. "As an FSU fan, I don't 'hate' Florida or Miami fans. I don't like them. But I don't hate them. I see the ATL Falcon logo, and it drives me to disgust."All of which is to say that while the Saints and Falcons haven't often been nationally competitive, they've always been pretty evenly matched with one another which makes for an intense rivalry even when "the people who matter" aren't paying attention. That is, evenly matched except for lately when the Saints have owned everything.
You can't blame the rest of the NFL for not according Atlanta-New Orleans the same respect as, say, Green Bay-Chicago or New England-Indy. There's almost no legacy of winning, little history of success against the rest of the league. New Orleans didn't win a playoff game for its first 34 years of existence. And it took Atlanta 44 freaking years to post back-to-back winning seasons.
"Come one and all to the execution"