Saints vs. 49ers: A Rivalry That Ain’t Dead Yet

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Nov 9, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks (55) during the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The 49ers won 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports


Games between New Orleans and San Francisco in the mid-80’s through early 90’s were about a contrast in styles.

The 49ers were the stylistic “boxer”(Ali), a multi-faceted attack that was dangerous in every way, leaving the opponent exhausted and frustrated. The Saints were the “brawler”(Frazier), an attack that preferred to pummel the opponent, leaving them physically beaten.

But then between 2010 and 2014, the Saints and 49ers met 5 times (New Orleans winning 2 of them).  Those games were an exact “role reversal” from what fans had seen from the teams on the previous decades.

The Saints, led by Drew Brees and Sean Payton were now the high scoring attack capable of scoring against anyone, while the 49ers were more known as the physically bruising team.

The drama of watching Brees work against talented San Francisco linebackers Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman should have made Saints fans appreciate what 49ers fans went through, worrying if their star players would walk out of the contest in one piece.

This Sunday at Levi Stadium, Brees and Payton will still be present; while the 49ers are almost a completely different team — resembling that 2-14 team of 1979 before the history between the two franchises, really began to take off.