This one didn’t sting quite as much.
If you’ve kept up with how NFL owners have handed out Super Bowls recently, awarding cities with new stadiums, you saw it coming.
You could brace yourself, knowing that the big Mercedes-Benz building on Poydras Street had little chance of pulling off the upset against the new $1.4 billion Mercedes-Benz structure being built in downtown Atlanta.
So it wasn’t a surprise to see New Orleans’ bid to host Super Bowl LIII in 2019 fall short to overwhelming favorite Atlanta on Tuesday at the NFL owners’ meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.
And yes, Who Dat nation, I know you hate losing to Atlanta in anything.
But losing TO Atlanta on Tuesday surely wasn’t as bad as losing IN Atlanta two years ago.
It was two years ago at the owners meeting in Atlanta when New Orleans lost a Super Bowl for the first time. The city had won all 10 of its previous bids to host the NFL’s biggest spectacle before that day.
But the NFL owners pulled off the shocker that day, choosing Minneapolis over the Big Easy.
That one hurt ... both literally and figuratively.
Tom Benson, who had recently undergone knee surgery, took a late-morning flight to Atlanta that morning to plead his case to the owners to give the city the right to host the 2018 Super Bowl.
Moments after standing before his fellow colleagues, he fell when exiting the podium. He spent the night in the hospital.
The Saints, though, are still apparently recovering.
Many prognosticators had the Saints as one of the favorites entering the 2014 season. They had just come off an 11-5 season and reached the divisional round of the NFC playoffs where they lost to the eventual champion Seattle Seahawks.
So expectations were sky high. The team had just signed safety Jairus Byrd, who was supposed to shore up the secondary. The Jimmy Graham arbitration hearings were held that summer, with folks trying to decide if the beloved Graham was a tight end or a wide receiver to help with contract negotiations. The Saints and Graham reached a four-year deal that summer and things looked good.
But then came the start of the season.
The Saints were shocked in the opener, traveling to (yeah, you guessed it) Atlanta and falling in overtime to the Dirty Birds.
It was the beginning of a 7-9 season when the Saints all of a sudden became invincible in the Dome. They lost their last five home games that year, including the home finale against (no, I’m not making this up) Atlanta.
They followed it up with another 7-9 season last fall and missed the playoffs for a second straight year.
Add the Bensons’ ongoing legal battles in the mix and it’s been a rough stretch that may not be ending any time soon.
The Vegas oddsmakers have the over/under on wins this season once again at seven.
Much like the city of New Orleans was in Tuesday’s Super Bowl bid, the Saints look like long shots to play in the Super Bowl this season in Houston.
The next two after that are in Minneapolis and Atlanta, the two cities that edged New Orleans and gave the city back-to-back losses in trying to host Super Bowls.
Doug Thornton, executive vice president of SMG, who helped make the presentation Tuesday, knew the odds were stacked against New Orleans.
“We’re disappointed, but not surprised,” Thornton said.
The city will try to get a Super Bowl again, possibly as early as the 2022 one.
Saints fans are hoping not to have that wait that long to get back to one.