The New Orleans Saints are looking to cause damage next season. Will they overtake the Buccaneers as top dogs in the NFC South? Probably not. Will they compete? Probably. They will be a competent team with the talent to win multiple games, and with the official unveiling of the NFL roster, some people have realized that the Saints have an opportunity to do something no team has done before in NFL history did…all beat five bird teams in a single season.
The Saints play the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 and Week 15. In Week 5 they play the Seattle Seahawks at home. Two weeks later they meet the Arizona Cardinals in Thursday Night Football. They get the Baltimore Ravens in week 9 and they get the Philadelphia Eagles on New Year’s Day in week 17. That’s every Bird team in the NFL and surprisingly no team has ever beaten all five in the same season.
There are some caveats that prevent certain teams from running this glove. For example, since four of these bird teams are in the NFC, the team that wants to make history must also be in the NFC. All Bird teams themselves are of course disqualified, and any team that’s still in contention can only attempt this feat once every four years, given how often they face the AFC North. I still don’t understand that while a team can be lucky enough to play NFC West in the same year, they also have to be lucky and finish in the same position as the Eagles or Falcons last season. It’s a collection of marvels of planning that come together perfectly one after the other to give every team that opportunity, but lo and behold, here it is in front of the Saints and first-year head coach Dennis Allen.
As rare as this event is, it didn’t happen until 2020. The Dallas Cowboys faced each of these teams in weeks 2, 3, 6, 8, 13 and 16. Obviously the Eagles are in their division so they had the privilege of playing them twice (Week 8 and 16) just as the Saints have the privilege of playing the Falcons twice this year (Week 1 and 15). Unfortunately for the Cowboys, their quest to go where no team had gone before ended when they fell to the Seahawks 38-31 in Week 3. They didn’t even make it through the second bird. pathetic. Hopefully the Saints can solve this aviary conundrum that has haunted the NFL since its inception.
Well I know what you’re thinking. “What about the cat glove?” The Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Carolina, and Detroit cat glove exists, but it’s virtually impossible to walk that glove. Since there are two such teams in every conference, the team attempting to walk the gauntlet would have to face the last cat team in the Super Bowl if they were to make it. The Rams beat the Lions and Jaguars in the regular season last year and even clinched a win over the Bengals in the Super Bowl, but they never had the opportunity to beat the modest Carolina Panthers. And before you ask, no, they didn’t face the Panthers preseason, so you can rule that out as well.
The 2015 Denver Broncos beat the Lions, Panthers and Bengals but never faced the Jaguars. The 2003 Patriots didn’t face either the Bengals or the Lions, and that’s every time a cat team has reached the Super Bowl since the Carolina Panthers were formed in 1993, so it’s never been done either, but it’s practically impossible .
The bird fight will be difficult as two of those teams — the Eagles and Cardinals — both made the playoffs in 2021. The Ravens are a great team too. It shouldn’t be too difficult for the Saints to pull off wins against the Seahawks and Falcons, but that’s less than half the gauntlet. It’s getting tiring. It’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be history and I’m always ready to witness that.