Walt Handelsman: Atlanta Mayor trash talks New Orleans Saints

A couple of weeks ago, Saints coach Sean Payton hauled in the Lombardi trophy and a big stack of greenbacks to show his team what was at stake in the NFL playoffs. The coach is known for his inspirational flourishes, and nothing says success like money and a big trophy.

But now, the Saints and their fans have found a more powerful motivation: Let's tick off the mayor of Atlanta. Keisha Lance Bottoms will be the host mayor for Super Bowl 53, but her Falcons won’t be playing because, well, they stink.

She was asked who she wanted to see in the big game, and she replied “I know there’s going to be a bounty on my head for saying that. But, if it can’t be the Falcons, then hey, as long as it’s not the Saints, then I am happy.”

Apparently, Southern Hospitality really is dead and gone. Bottoms has since apologized, but why let that get in the way of sweet revenge?

The chance to hack off the mayor of Atlanta is better motivation than a trophy or a stack of money or anything Choppa could come up with.

If the Falcons couldn’t win the Super Bowl in 2017, when they famously blew a 28-3 lead, they’ll never claim a Lombardi Trophy.

So the mayor should lighten up and become a Who Dat.

Gayle Benson can give her a Saints jersey and LaToya Cantrell can bring along a king cake. There are lots of reasons to pull for the Saints.

But watching Mayor Bottoms congratulate the people of New Orleans might be the best of all.

Except, of course, for watching Roger Goodell hand the Lombardi Trophy to Sean Payton.