The Dixie Showdown 2011b!

Dec 26, 2011 by

Saints LogoIn the days before multi-million dollar contracts and overpriced tickets, two small market cities landed coveted NFL franchises: Atlanta in 1966 and New Orleans the following year. Aside from the first few years, the Falcons have been our closest and longest rivalry, spanning the last forty-two years!

Atlanta’s inaugural season was spent in the NFL Eastern division along with the Cowboys, Browns, Eagles, St Louis Cardinals, Redskins, Steelers and Giants. The next three seasons they clashed with the LA Rams, Baltimore Colts and SF 49ers in the West’s Coastal division.

New Orleans spent it’s first and third years in the NFL East Conference’s Capitol division with the Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins. Their second year was spent, bewilderingly, in the East’s Century division fighting the Browns, St Louis Cardinals and Steelers.

In 1970 the AFL and NFL finalized the Great Merger, renamed the West’s Coastal division as the NFC West and kicked Baltimore out to move the Saints in with the Rams, Niners and Falcons and that was basically the lineup for the next twenty-four years. Seattle spent 1976 in the division before moving to the AFC West and Carolina joined the division from 1995 to 2001. In 2002, the NFL reorganized again moving the Saints, Falcons, Panthers and Buccaneers to the NFC South.

The first Saints/Falcons matchup was held in our inaugural season and was referred to as the “Dixie Championship”. On Nov 20, 1967, the Saints went marching in with a 27-24 victory but just two years later the Falcons would trounce the Saints in the second Dixie Championship 45-17 on Dec 7th, 1969. (Make your own Pearl Harbor/FDR reference here!)

When the two teams joined the same division in 1970 it meant two contests each year and the idea of a Dixie championship fell by the wayside in favor of the less definitive “Southern Showdown”. Not only is that incredibly boring, but it’s even less accurate seeing as there are more teams than ever in the South these days.

Therefore, I submit before the Board, a merging of the two titles to create the Dixie Showdown, parts a and b with the title Dixie Champion going to the team that sweeps the other in the regular season. Tiebreakers to be decided by final standings.

The Falcons lead the NFL series 45-39 and hold 23 Dixie Championships to the Saints 20. For the record, here are the Dixie Champions of the last forty-five years along with the outcomes for the matchups:

1967 NO One meeting, Saints win 27-24
1968 — No meeting
1969 ATL One Meeting, Falcons win 45-17
1970 ATL Sweep
1971 ATL Sweep
1972 ATL Sweep
1973 NO Sweep
1974 NO Split
1975 ATL Split
1976 ATL Split
1977 ATL Split
1978 ATL Sweep
1979 NO Split
1980 ATL Sweep
1981 ATL Sweep
1982 ATL Sweep
1983 NO Sweep
1984 NO Split
1985 ATL Sweep
1986 ATL Split
1987 NO Sweep
1988 NO Sweep
1989 NO Sweep
1990 NO Split
1991 NO Split (Falcons beat Saints in Wild Card round)
1992 NO Sweep
1993 NO Split
1994 NO Sweep
1995 ATL Sweep
1996 ATL Sweep
1997 ATL Sweep
1998 ATL Sweep
1999 ATL Sweep
2000 NO Sweep
2001 NO Split
2002 ATL Sweep
2003 NO Sweep
2004 ATL Split
2005 ATL Sweep
2006 NO Sweep
2007 NO Sweep
2008 ATL Split
2009 NO Sweep
2010 ATL Split
2011 Saints won Dixie Showdown 2011a

Notable things to look for in tonight’s game:

Drew Brees is just 305 yards away from breaking Dan Marino’s 27-year old passing yardage record of 5084. He’s also just 290 yards away from his own 2nd-place NFL mark of 5069. (I think I might have prognosticated this somewhere around week four. Just saying…) Brees is also just 34 completions away from Peyton Manings 2010 record of 450. If he breaks that, he also breaks his own 2nd- and 3rd-place marks of 448 (2010) and 440 (2007). Drew is also just Eight TD passes away from 200, something no Saint has ever done! (Archie stopped at 115, Aaron crapped out at 120.)

Drew is hacking away at other history as well. his 37 TDs this season place him at 10th place on the NFL all-time list. One TD will tie Brett Favre’s 9th[place 1995 record. Two will tie Favre (’96) and Daunte Culpepper’s (’04) 7th/8th-place tie. Just one TD will also continue his streak of TD’s/game to 42 games, just 5 shy of Johnny Unitas’ 1960 record!

Marques Colston is three TDs away from tieing Eric Martin’s 7th-place spot on the Saints career Scoring list. Those same three TDs would tie him for 3rd with Joe Horn on the Saints Career TD list.

Pierre Thomas is 44 yards away from passing Wade Wilson as the Saints 9th leading rusher. (One more thing Reggie wasn’t able to do…)

Will Smith will tie Fred McAfee’s 21st-place spot on the Saints career games list with his 122 game.

-M Styborski

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