The Atlanta Falcons have a storied history in the NFL, and with that comes a set of long-standing rivalries.
As a member of the NFC South since 2002, the Falcons have built intense competitions against their division opponents. From hard-fought battles on the field to nail-biting finishes, these rivals never cease to amaze fans with exhilarating games.
One such notable rivalry is with the Carolina Panthers. As neighbors within the division, the Panthers and Falcons have gone head-to-head numerous times, fueling the competitive spirit between the two teams.
Boasting a 32-18 lifetime record against the Panthers, the Falcons hold a statistical edge in this rivalry, but that doesn’t mean the matches are any less filled with tension and excitement.
As we delve deeper into the topic of the Atlanta Falcons’ most prominent rivals, we’ll explore the factors that contribute to these intense rivalries, as well as re-live some of the most memorable moments in these historic matchups.
The storylines and in-game exchanges between the players will provide a greater appreciation for the passion that defines these competitive battles within the NFL.
Historical Rivals of the Atlanta Falcons
New Orleans Saints
The Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints have had a long-standing rivalry that began in 1967 when the Saints entered the NFL as an expansion team. The Falcons had joined the league just a year earlier.
This rivalry is characterized by close matchups and intense games, fostering a competitive environment between the two teams.
One of the key moments in this rivalry was during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when the Saints had to play their home games in different locations due to the damage to their stadium.
The Falcons provided support for their rivals during this difficult time, showcasing the unique relationship between the two teams.
The I-85 Rivalry, referring to the interstate highway that connects the two cities, is a rivalry between the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers. The rivalry began in 1995 when the Panthers joined the NFL as an expansion team.
The Falcons own a 32-18 lifetime record against the Panthers, highlighting the competitive nature of this rivalry.
Over the years, the Falcons and the Panthers have battled for NFC South supremacy, with both teams experiencing varying degrees of success.
The rivalry has seen memorable moments and standout performances from star players on both sides, reinforcing its importance among fans and players alike.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers share a rivalry that spans many years as divisional opponents. With both teams in the NFC South, they face off twice a season, fueling a competitive atmosphere in each matchup.
The rivalry has seen its fair share of twists and turns, with both teams trading memorable victories and heart-breaking losses.
Though not as heated as some rivalries, the Falcons and the Buccaneers continue to vie for dominance within their division.
With each season, the rivalry’s intensity grows as both teams aim for a coveted playoff spot and an opportunity to make their mark in the NFL.
Contemporary Rivals of the Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks have become consistent rivals in recent years, often facing off in high-octane playoff matches.
These two teams have shown incredible fortitude, grit, and passion on the field, creating a must-watch rivalry for fans.
While they may not share geographic proximity or a division, the intensity of their showdowns has cemented them as contemporary rivals.
The Philadelphia Eagles have also emerged as a rival to the Atlanta Falcons. Over the past several seasons, they’ve had some closely contested battles on the field. The history between these two teams dates back decades, with pivotal moments that have determined playoff berths and divisional standings.
This rivalry has grown in intensity, maintaining its spot as a marquee matchup every time they face off.
San Francisco 49ers
Another noteworthy contemporary rival for the Atlanta Falcons is the San Francisco 49ers.
Although these two teams are not division opponents, their meetings on the gridiron feature high stakes and thrilling gameplay. Both squads feature high-powered offenses and stout defenses, making for some entertaining and hard-fought contests.
This rivalry’s dynamic nature showcases the best of both teams and leaves fans eagerly awaiting their next encounter.
Rivalry Factors of the Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons have intense rivalries with their NFC South divisional opponents, such as the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The frequent meetings in a division and the shared goal of winning the division title make these games highly competitive and passionate, which helps fuel these rivalries.
- New Orleans Saints: The Falcons-Saints rivalry started in 1967 when the Saints entered the NFL as an expansion team, just a year after the Falcons joined. Both teams were the NFL’s first in the traditional Deep South, making their games a staple in the region’s sports culture. This rivalry is considered one of the most intense in the NFL.
- Carolina Panthers: The Falcons and the Panthers have had a long-standing rivalry, with Atlanta holding a 32-18 lifetime record against the Panthers. Both teams being located in the same division and proximity to each other help fuel this rivalry.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Although not as heated as the other rivalries, the Falcons and Buccaneers still have a competitive history, as they share the same division.
While the Atlanta Falcons have yet to secure a Super Bowl win, playoff matchups against other teams have intensified certain rivalries.
Notably, the Philadelphia Eagles have had memorable battles with the Falcons in the postseason, which has contributed to their rivalry.
Rivalries can further intensify with unforgettable matches, and these notable rivalries of the Atlanta Falcons are no exception.
- Falcons vs. Saints: A memorable game in recent history was the Falcons’ thrilling 20-17 win over the Saints in 2017. The close battle went down to the wire with a game-winning field goal, adding another exciting chapter to their historic clash.
- Falcons vs. Panthers: One notable game was in 2014, where the Falcons’ impressive 34-3 victory over the Panthers allowed them to secure the NFC South division title.
- Falcons vs. Eagles: During the playoffs following the 2004 NFL season, the Eagles bested the Falcons in the NFC Championship game, 27-10, which further solidified their status as rivals.
In summary, the Atlanta Falcons’ rivalry factors largely stem from divisional competition, playoff matchups, and memorable games.
Rivalries continue to play a significant role in the team’s history, and these intense clashes bring out the best performances from players and excitement from passionate fans.
James is a big time NBA Golden State follower, who makes sure to catch games when he's in the area. He likes to follow International Soccer, with an interest in small town soccer club, Blackburn Rovers located in the North on the UK.