Thursday, September 04, 2014

Sibling rivals

A few years back, I stuck a  few paragraphs into a Saints-Falcons recap post that described the series as a sibling rivalry. 
Historically, the South's two best known cities have often compared themselves with one another each proud of the ways in which it isn't like the other. Atlanta is more prosperous. New Orleans is more fun. But also each is a little jealous of the things its rival has that it doesn't. But where there is jealousy there isn't much hostility. Saints fans don't really hate the Falcons, they just really really want to beat them.

Furthermore, a lot of New Orleanians have family who live in Atlanta. That was true before the Federal Flood, but after that event lot of New Orleanians ended up in Atlanta. Many are still there now. This commerce between the two cities only strengthens the familial relationship. For a time during the early 2000s, the teams' respective starting quarterbacks were cousins. Most fans thought this only natural.
It wasn't a unique thought. This is how most of us have seen things for ages.  It's only recently that anyone outside of the two teams' fan bases has taken the time to notice.  They're noticing.  Here is the Charlotte Observer's Tommy Tomlinson describing the rivalry for ESPN this week
New Orleans, with its vital port on the Mississippi River, was the dominant city of the South from the end of the Civil War through the 1950s. In the 1860 census, New Orleans had 169,000 residents to Atlanta's 9,600 -- and that's before Gen. Sherman showed up. But Atlanta rose through the 20th century as a business center, an airport hub and the headquarters of the civil rights movement. By 1966, when the Falcons played their first season, Atlanta was clearly the South's most important city. New Orleans, where the Saints started playing in '67, owned the title of most interesting. Atlanta is much bigger now, with 5.5 million people in the metro area compared with 1.2 million in New Orleans. New Orleans is better known worldwide because of its music and culture. Both cities still look down their noses at each other. The Falcons vs. the Saints chafed both cities from the beginning. Each place looks at the other as a symbol of the wrong way to live. Their proxies fight it out on the football field.

In a separate ESPN item this week, Mike Triplett even used the exact phrase "sibling rivalry" introduce these comments from Raphael Bush.
And like any good brotherly rivalry, Bush couldn’t resist throwing in some trash talk when asked whom he sees as the big brother in this scenario.

“We’re definitely the big brother,” Bush said. “I mean, we won twice last year. If you go against the overall record, I think the Saints are pretty much winning in that matchup.

“So they’re the little brothers, and we’re going to go in their house and we’re going to spank them like they’re our little brothers.”

Anyway, by some coincidence, the Saints open up the season in Atlanta this weekend. It's kind of a big deal about which many people are talking.

For example this week's Gambit is especially football flavored.  Here is a bit where Bradley Warshauer asks people why they hate the Falcons so much. (They say a lot of the things people say in the ESPN articles.)

Angry Who Dat watched Hard Knocks this preseason so you didn't have to.  He has some things to say about #TheToughnessCrusade.
The Atlanta Falcons are again a goddamn joke.

Hard Knocks has not been what I expected. Disclaimer here: I haven’t watched more than one episode of any season until now. We are supplied with some chuckle-worthy low-hanging fruit: Harry Douglas’s women’s deodorant, Bryan Cox on nipples, Dimitroff riding a bike, Matt Ryan forcing himself to curse, etc. (Steven Godfrey gave me a little space to joke about this stuff on his recaps at SBNation, if you care.) More importantly, we get the Toughness Crusade.

The narrative of the current iteration of the laughingstock in Atlanta is capital T Toughness. This perception of toughness is fueled by, presumably, teammates slapping each other in the face and coaching staffs belittling players and questioning their own team’s collective manhood on national television. Multiple sequences in Episode 4 featured the staff verbally abusing grown men in order to Get The Best Out Of Them, or something. And I get that the NFL locker room is not a typical workplace. Invective is part of the game. Our own team suffered from a ridiculously literal interpretation of what was meant to be Loud Coach Talk. But even Gregg Williams didn’t question his players’ manhood when he knew cameras were pointed at him. He targeted the outside ACL, whatever that is, not his own second-team linebackers.

People don’t respond to that shit. It reeks of desperation, of playing to TV and reinforcing whatever twisted ideas of ‘toughness’ the Cheeto-stained morons in the Facebook comments under a Bleacher Report link masturbate to at night. It makes me sad. And very, very happy.

God that is stupid.  But it's exactly the sort of thing we'd expect to find in Atlanta: artificial feelings capital of the world.  It's where they also came up with this.
Get your marching shoes on and join the Falcons each home gameday during the 2014 regular season as the Drumline, Hype Crew and Freddie Falcon lead a new tradition into Falcons history.

The Falcons March, a walk from Centennial Olympic Park to State Farm Falcons Landing, will be held between 11-11:30 a.m. ET on Sunday before the Falcons kickoff against the Saints.

Falcons fans are asked to meet at the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, located at 235 Andrew Young International Blvd. NW, Atlanta, 30303, at 11 a.m. The March will continue down Marietta Street and turn onto International Blvd. before ending at State Farm Falcons Landing.
Get your marching shoes on and show up near the stadium early so that you can line up and walk a short distance toward it with us... before getting in line again to go inside.  This is all very coordinated fun.  We got a Drumline and a Hype Crew and everything. 

Actually Falcons fans could use some walk coaching.  Sometimes they have difficulty.

(Via this big list of fun, btw)

Now you know why they're so obsessed with rising up.

Anyway, what the hell was the point of this post?

Oh yeah it's Saints-Falcons in week one.  Look, I've got another post where I'm gonna make some jokes and then pick a win total which should go up on Friday or Saturday.  But you should skip that anyway and just wait for Wang to post something.  In the meantime,  instead of making predictions tonight, I'll send you over to Malbrough's column for those. And also for this.
The Saints should open every year against Atlanta. It’s just the best. One reason it’s the best is because at a time when both the Saints and Falcons are the best they’ve ever been the Saints OWN ATLANTA.
 Which is fine.. as long as we don't have to live there.

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