The Atlanta Falcons had (and still have) some scores to settle this year, and so far their “redemption tour” has been going as to plan.
First came the Philadelphia Eagles. The Falcons were 0-for-forever playing in Philadelphia, and the Eagles were also home of former Atlanta starting QB and antagonist, Michael Vick, who had yet to lose to his former team as a starter with Philly. The Falcons left Philadelphia with a convincing 30-17 win.
Next came the hated New Orleans Saints. While the Falcons always have an axe to grind with the Who-Dat Nation, this year was particularly sweet because the Falcons Week 13 victory over the Saints essentially killed any chance New Orleans had of making a playoff run, and broke a string of four straight victories by the Saints. Not to mention making Drew Brees eat a bit of humble pie for his nationally broadcast contention that the Saints “owned” the NFC South.
Another huge redemption game was last week against the New York Giants. Last year’s 24-2 playoff loss to Big Blue was a humiliating spectacle for the Falcons, who only managed a safety for their lone score of the game. Coming back to absolutely demolish the Giants 34-0 went a long way into healing that wound and building up Atlanta’s confidence.
There could be a few more stops on this tour depending on how the playoffs shape up. Atlanta could end up facing the Green Bay Packers at some point, the team that marched into the Georgia Dome in 2010 and toppled the top-seeded Falcons in grand fashion. Atlanta would like nothing more than to have the Cheeseheads as guests again so they could even that score.
It’s also possible that Atlanta could face the Dallas Cowboys again. Although the Falcons handily beat America’s Team in the regular season this year, Atlanta has never beaten the Cowboys in the playoffs and a win against them in this year’s postseason would reach back and get some redemption from the two crushing playoff losses to Dallas in 1978 and 1980.
But the biggest stop on this tour could come at the season finale. If the Falcons make it to the Super Bowl, and then win their first NFL Championship, they will have done it in the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
That’s right – in the home of the team that hates the Falcons the most, the New Orleans Saints.
Talk about redemption coupled with twisting the knife a little. That Super Bowl win would be revenge on the coldest plate of all.