The 2013 NFL season is all about redemption for the New Orleans Saints. Last season was tainted by the alleged Bountygate scandal that resulted in head coach Sean Payton being suspended for the entire year.
This year, Payton is back at the helm and the Saints are hungry to redeem themselves after finishing 7-9 last season. The Saints’ road to redemption begins at home at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as they host their hated rival, the Atlanta Falcons.
Since Drew Brees and Payton came to New Orleans, the Saints have gone 11-3 against the Falcons, and 4-1 at home since Matt Ryan became the starting quarterback for the Falcons. The Saints have simply dominated the Falcons in the Brees-Payton era and while most of it has to do with the team’s play, but some of it also has to do with the team’s fans, the Who Dat Nation.
The Saints literally have some of the best fans in the entire NFL. In a recent study done by Emory University in Atlanta, they analyzed the loyalty among the fans of the 32 teams in the NFL. The Who Dat Nation ranked no, 4 on the list behind only the New York Jets, the New England Patriots, and the Dallas Cowboys.
This is pretty impressive when you consider that New Orleans had an estimated population of 369,250 in 2012, according to the United States Census Bureau. Saints fans are as loyal as they come, and apparently the fan base is strong throughout the country.
It is interesting to point out that the Saints’ bitter rivals almost ranked dead last in fan loyalty at 31st in the NFL, and only the Oakland Raiders’ fans were behind the Falcons. The Saints on the other hand, have averaged 71,562 fans per home game since 2008. Furthermore, the Saints’ attendance was seventh in the entire league at 72,888 fans per home game last season.
The Falcons will not only have to deal with the Saints team on Sunday, but they will also have to deal with its fans. The Who Dat Nation will show no mercy to the Falcons and you can bet that the Superdome will be extremely loud as they cheer on their hometown Saints. The Saints have a very good football team, and it is just a plus that they happen to have some of the best fans in the NFL.