ATLANTA — Having the Patriots here is opening some old wounds for Falcons fans.
It was only two years ago that the Falcons led the Patriots 28-3 in Super Bowl LI in Houston, only to lose in overtime, 34-28.
Now many of those same Patriots — Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Julian Edelman — are back to try to win another . . . in the Falcons’ new stadium.
“We hate them,” said Carl Dukes, host of the “Dukes and Bell” radio show on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta.
Beau Morgan, executive producer of the show, said there is only one way the city will ever get over that collapse, and that’s by winning a Super Bowl of its own.
But having New Englanders invade the South actually is not the worst-case scenario for Atlanta.
Dukes said that leading up to the conference title games, there was grave concern from listeners and callers that the Saints would be in Super Bowl LIII, which would have meant a division rival.
“The most horrible nightmare in Atlanta would be having the Saints in our city, in our building, playing for a championship,” Dukes said. “Having the Saints play the Patriots was our second-worst nightmare. Thank God it didn’t play out that way.”
So having the Patriots in town against the Rams is actually the lesser of several evils for Atlanta. Most in the city are rooting for the Rams, especially because coach Sean McVay grew up not far from here.
But what would have happened if the Patriots and Saints were playing?
Said Dukes: “We actually would have been Patriot fans.”