NEW ORLEANS, La. (KLFY) – Despite the fact that it happens “once in a blue moon” and you might tell a football fan “don’t hold your breath,” the New Orleans Saints have a chance to accomplish something no other NFL team has ever done: complete the coveted “Bird Gauntlet.”
What is the “Bird Gauntlet?”
It is simply to play and defeat all five “bird” teams in a single season. Those teams are the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks.
While running this gauntlet would not seem to be too difficult for a talented team, even getting the opportunity is rare. Accomplishing it requires a scheduling anomaly, excellent play and even a bit of chance.
With yearly divisional matchup cycles, it only happens every 12 years and only for the 12 “non-bird” teams in the NFC. Even then, in some cases teams would need to make the playoffs in the same year as a “bird” team not on its regular-season schedule, and play them in the postseason.
A reddit user broke it down back in 2020, which was the last time a team had the chance to complete the gauntlet. The Dallas Cowboys had the opportunity, but they lost to the Seahawks in Week 3.
This year the Saints are scheduled to play all five “bird” teams in the regular season, and are off to a good start. They beat the Falcons in Week 1 and the Seahawks in Week 5. The Saints play Atlanta again in December, but they have already secured the victory they need against them.
According to the reddit post, two teams have come close. The 2003 Rams beat everyone except the Eagles, and the 2008 Giants beat everyone except the Falcons.
Naturally, there will always be a following on the other side that root for the “bird” teams to prevent the gauntlet from being completed. Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian mentioned this subreddit in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. While they don’t actively root against someone completely the gauntlet, the nature of their fandom being devoted to the “bird” teams places them on the opposition of anyone completing the gauntlet.
Regardless of the chances of another Saints Super Bowl run, New Orleans has a shot at making NFL history nonetheless.