It’s been virtually impossible to miss the fact that Game of Thrones, HBO’s blockbuster fantasy drama, kicked off its long-anticipated final season on Sunday. The cast has been on every late-night show and in every magazine. There are Game of Thrones Oreos on grocery shelves right now. AT&T is even giving away an $18K Iron Throne replica. (Just what your living room always needed!)
Sports teams, too, are getting in on the hype. Major League Baseball is hosting “Game of Thrones Nights” for each team—the Braves held theirs last Friday, where you could get a T-shirt featuring Chipper Jones atop the Iron Throne. Last night, the Atlanta Falcons decided to debut their 2019 season schedule with a video parody of the show’s opening credits sequence. Rather than taking the viewer on a journey from Winterfell to King’s Landing, the video starts at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and moves up to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for the Falcons’ first game against the Vikings, back to Atlanta as Eagles chrip overhead for the home-opener against Philadelphia, and then up to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for week three against the Colts.
The video is filled with plenty of fun little details—a group of Atlanta United fans gawks outside the Vikings’ stadium, the Seahawks carry their retired No. 12 jersey as they fly into MBS, and horses run laps around Lucas Oil. But the real fun, of course, comes at the expense of the rival New Orleans Saints. For the week 10 game in New Orleans, a Saints billboard stands prominently next to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome—what is surely a reference to the dozens of pro-Saints billboards that went up in Atlanta before Super Bowl LIII. Then, the “S” unceremoniously falls off, revealing Atlanta fans’ favorite insulting nickname, the “aints.”
But wait, there’s more. For the Saints/Falcons game at home on Thanksgiving Day, the video shows a New Orleans marching band arriving at MBS. Out of nowhere, a ram barrels into the band’s saxophonist. A ref runs out and—you guessed it—no call.
The team also posted on Twitter a GoT-styled map and house sigils for each team they’ll play this season. They’re all straightforward except one—a large X represents the Saints, who are referred to on the map as the “Aints.” (There’s a double insult here if you’re a Thrones fan—in the show, an X-shaped flayed man is the symbol for House Bolton. The most well-known member of that house is Ramsay Bolton who is . . . let’s just say, not a good person.)
Raise your banners.
A closer look at the house sigils that appear in our schedule release video. pic.twitter.com/6InYnCLe1J
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 18, 2019
But the argument of who will claim football glory this season is just as fraught and unpredictable as whether Jon or Cersei or Daenerys will claim the Iron Throne. We’ll just have to wait until fall. The Falcons begin their season in Minnesota on September 8, and the home-opener will be on September 15.