By Michael Cunningham
FLOWERY BRANCH—To get a taste of the disdain the Falcons feel for the Saints, just mention the fact that New Orleans has won 11 of the last 13 games in the series including a 31-27 victory on Nov. 11.
“We got tired of hearing about it,” Falcons running back Michael Turner said today.
Asked if the Saints and Atlanta’s rivals, Turner said: “I think there is no question about that. You can see the difference in intensity when we play them.”
But, to hear Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton tell it, the seething isn’t as strong on the other side.
Lofton signed with the Saints as a free agent last offseason after playing four seasons with the Falcons. He said he’s noticed a difference in how the Saints perceive the Falcons as opposed to the other way around.
“Being here in this program, I feel like they see it as a divisional game, not a rivalry game,” Lofton said.
The Saints’ dismissal of the Falcons as a worthy rival is the latest chapter in a long history of trash talk between the NFC South foes. The insults boiled over before and after the last game.
The Saints alleged that Falcons players Sean Weatherspoon and Joanthan Babineaux walked through their pregame warmup talking trash to Lofton and continued to do so during the game. Lofton said Tuesday that the pregame incident was a “fact.”
Saints linebacker Scott Shanle called Atlanta’s pregame antics “classless.” In the days after the game, Falcons wide receiver Roddy White said the trash talk directed at Lofton was playful but Lofton didn’t seem to take it that way.
“For me, personally, I prefer to go out and do my job and keep my mouth shut and let my actions speak for me instead of words,” Lofton said Tuesday. “Some guys love to yap back and forth. It just depends the type person you are.”
White further angered the Saints with his postgame comments.
“It’s not like they came out here and won a game,” White said. “I think we kind of gave it to them.”
Shanle told Yahoo Sports that the Saints “still own” the Falcons said they are their “little brothers.”
“I think part of your job as a professional is to take a loss and give the other team the credit.” Lofton said Tuesday. “You don’t just say, ‘We gave them a win.’”
White declined to speak to reporters when approached in the locker room on Tuesday.