NEW ORLEANS -- We know NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is coming to New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII. The same can't be said of the Atlanta Falcons, though it's a distinct possibility now that they have reached the NFC Championship game.
In fact, the way 2012 and the 2012 NFL season have gone for the Saints and Who Dat Nation, it seems plausible that the Dirty Birds could win, might win, the NFC title and advance to the Big Easy for "The Big Game'' on Feb. 3.
Now that would be the unkindest cut of all.
Imagine: The Falcons making themselves at home in the Saints House, using their locker room on game day, their practice facility the week of the game, and possibly hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on the floor of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with red and black confetti filling the air.
Are you kidding me?
It could happen.
That is the worst possible nightmare for Who Dat Nation!
I know New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has to be politically correct when it comes to preparing Saints fans and our good citizenry for Goodell's pending arrival and the possibility that Atlanta could be playing in Super Bowl XLVII. He encourages us to take the high road, be respectful and put our collective best foot forward, especially when it comes to Goodell, who truly has been a friend to our city, particularly during our darkest hours after Hurricane Katrina.
Future Super Bowls might be riding on it.
I second that emotion.
That said, deep down, I'm sure ol' Mitch privately is sticking pins in his Falcons' voodoo doll; one each for Mike Smith, Matty Ice, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Asante Samuel, Matt Bryant and the rest of the lot. I'm certain, too, that Who Dat Nation collectively is putting the double whammy on owner Arthur Blank's Dirty Birds.
The disdain for Goodell and the Falcons is palpable, with perhaps RG1 holding a slight advantage because of his self-righteous stand and the heavy-handed position he took against the Saints' organization, its coaches and players with regards to the bounty scandal and the season-long fallout from that fiasco.
Clearly, Goodell is Public Enemy No. 1, with a margin for error at zero percent.
But the dislike for the Falcons is a close second, 1a perhaps.
I'm not making this bleep up. I have seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears for many months. So have you. Goodell Dissin and Bird Bashing are at a fever pitch in WDN.
With the Saints missing the playoffs this year, Who Dat fans have found a new rooting interest in the postseason. They are pulling en masse against the Falcons and supporting the team -- any team -- that serves as their opponent. Last week it was Seattle against Atlanta in the divisional round, though the Falcons prevailed on a late field goal 30-28 after squandering a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter at the Georgia Dome.
This week it's the San Francisco 49ers, who have been installed as 4 1/2-point road favorites.
Here's the way I see it Sunday:
-- San Francisco 30, Atlanta 17 in the NFC.
-- New England 27, Baltimore 23 in the AFC.
All together now Who Dat Nation: Go 'Niners, pluck dem Dirty Birds!
Can I get an amen, brother?
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