The second match up in the Elite 8 of our little City Tournament is the Battle for the Dirty South. In the first round of the tournament Atlanta cruised past Minneapolis just like Morten Anderson's kick cruising through the uprights in 1999. Miami didn't even have to put up a fight against Phoenix. The fans literally gave up on their Arizona capital before the round began. Alright, following our Elite 8 format, today's post is focused on Miami and ATL's rivalries and traditions.
#10 SEED ATLANTA
Every good Tech/uga fan is familiar with the game day experience every other Thanksgiving in the heart of Midtown Atlanta. Hundreds of flags bearing the Green Bay Packer G fly over the Varsity like an invading army waiting to storm the breach. Georgia Tech's campus is flooded with Tech fans and Georgie fans anticipating a game that's been sold out every year since I can remember. It's Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate. A game Georgie fans hate to lose and a game Tech fans love to win. It's a clash of academic cultures, a dividing point amongst families, and a helluva tradition. Tech and Georgie have met over 100 times in football, almost 200 times in basketball, and over 300 times in baseball since 1891 (the initial starting point of the rivalry). There aren't many rivalries in the country, which match the Tech-UGA rivalry in fan-fan animosity or pure dislike.
Jason Kirk (formerly known as brickcheney) writes for the ATL Falcons blog, Falcoholic, and he feels that the NFC South rivalries are some of the best in professional sports:
The Falcons-Saints rivalry is one of the south's best-kept secrets. Their two most memorable meetups were the 1991 NFC Wild Card playoff game in New Orleans won by the Falcons, and the Saints' first game back in the Superdome after Katrina, a Monday Night crushing of the Birds as Bono looked on. The post-Katrina New Orleans mini-diaspora (and Super Bowl run) has stocked Atlanta's sports bars with plenty of black and gold. The league has scheduled a 2010 Monday Night showdown in Atlanta -- meaning the rivalry's unique brand of cheerful hatred may soon get the national attention it deserves.
Interestingly enough, the Falcons original helmet had gold, black, and white stripes to symbolize both Georgia and GT's school colors.
As far as professional rivalries go, I think everyone thinks the Braves are their rivals. The Braves developed a strong postseason rivalry after leaving the NL West with the Houston Astros. The Braves and Astros met in 5 post season series from 1997-2005. However, the rivalry most Braves fans would probably cite as the biggest for the Braves is the Mets.
The Braves and Mets have 665 times since 1962. The two franchises despise one another and the crowd draws are huge for Braves-Mets series at the Ted and Shea Stadium. In fact, Chipper Jones named his daughter Shea due to all of the success he had while playing in Shea Stadium to the chorus of "LARRY" chants.
#2 SEED MIAMI
Miami is the villain when it comes to sports. They beat you and they humiliate you while they're at it. Miami fans can attest to one unifying word that's become ESPN lingo: swagger. The Dolphins had it in the 70's. The Hurricanes had it in the 80's and 90's. You can't beat it, it beats you.
Another tradition in Miami is the idea of renting rather than owning. The Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga claimed financial losses on the 1997 Florida Marlins team and traded off every single piece of talent the franchise. A few owners later and the Marlins won the World Series again in 2003 only to sell off their talent or lose it via free agency.
Probably the most popular tradition of Miami is hosting special events. The warm weather makes the City a prime target for Super Bowls and other sporting fiestas. The Miami Orange Bowl hosted 5 Super Bowls and almost 60 college football Orange Bowls. The newer Sun Life Stadium has already hosted 5 Super Bowls, 3 BCS Title Games, a Pro Bowl, and the 2 Marlins' World Series.
Barring an awkward brawl with FIU, Miami's big time rivalries are with schools located in small towns outside of major metros (e.g. UF, FSU, & Notre Dame). The biggest rivalry in Miami pro sports is the biannual danceoff between the Jets and the Phins. The Jets and the Dolphins were original members of the now defunct AFL. Over the course of 86 meetings, the Jets and Phins have mounted up 16 AFC East Championships, 6 AFC Titles, and 3 Super Bowl Titles between the two teams since their entry into the NFL. Currently, the Jets lead the series 46-42-1.
I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about Miami sports so Miami fans please fill us in on Miami traditions, rivalries, etc.. Atlanta fans do the same. Let's hear what you all have to say. Who deserves to rule the Dirty South?