saints (n.) - NFL franchise presently based in New Orleans; boondoggle (n.) - an unnecessary or wasteful project or activity; saintsdoggle (n.) - the Saints' potential relocation situation in New Orleans, and the resulting boondoggle by Louisiana to keep the team from leaving

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bradshaw speaks in column; San Antonio admits defeat, seeks to re-write history?

Terry Bradshaw addressed his potential purchase (along with a team of investors) of the New Orleans Saints in his latest column. No need to paraphrase (but I do add comments below) - here's the entire excerpt:
"A lot of you have may have read about my involvement in trying to save the Saints or of being part of a group trying to buy them for the sole reason of keeping them in Louisiana. I haven't been appointed by anybody, I've just made it my job to be the voice of the people and made myself the ambassador. I've taken it upon myself to try to help save the Saints.

"This is me talking. If we lose the Saints, we aren't going to get another team in Louisiana. I am a local boy and am in a position at FOX to defend Louisiana and the football fans there. I've met and talked with a group of people who would like to save the team, but I also know that Tom Benson doesn't want to sell his franchise.

"What football fans have to understand out there is that people in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region are upset. Everything is negative for them. They have lost their homes, their businesses and their jobs. Gas prices are sky high, and so many people are unemployed. So many evacuees are looking for work.

"Their NFL team has moved out of town. The Saints are practicing in San Antonio, and it scares people because the team is there and Tom Benson is living there. The fans are thinking we want to hold onto this team. So, please give us some time to rebuild our city, our state and our Superdome, and then let us get our team back.

"The last game the Saints played at LSU, the stands were empty. But the NFL has to understand that the football fans in Louisiana are in a state of shock at what has happened to them and their city and state. It's a drastic change. This is not your normal way of enjoying the NFL because their team isn't even in their state.

"I really encourage the fans to pack Tiger Stadium the next time the Saints are there. We need to show Mr. Benson and the NFL that we really support the Saints and the NFL; that we care about our team and our city.

"I think we need two years to see what the city looks like, to revitalize New Orleans and make its downtown more modern. You leave the French Quarter alone, but this is a chance for the state to update the downtown area. Fix it up and make it look like Denver or Pittsburgh or Baltimore or Dallas. We got a chance now to update it. Build it back up and really make it special, and that may make it even more appealing to the NFL.

"This is not the time to attack the league or try to threaten Mr. Benson. Nothing could be further from the truth. All I and some of my business friends want is to make New Orleans a viable city again, one that Mr. Benson would be satisfied with, and keep it as a NFL city.

"That's what is important. It's not that important for me or any of my friends to own a NFL franchise. A lot depends on the economy of the state. We know that. But right now we need the hotels to get back running. We need the downtown to rebuild and get people back. We need the casinos to open. We need to start building some positives in New Orleans."
The most important things that come out of this entire piece are that (a) Tom Benson does not want to sell the Saints, (b) Bradshaw says that it's not that important for he and his friends to own an NFL franchise, and (c) Bradshaw says it's important to give Benson the impression that New Orleans is an NFL city.

After reading this, it looks more unlikely that Benson will sell to Bradshaw. But the NFL Hall-of-Famer is letting it be known that he is giving his best effort to do what he can to keep the Saints in Louisiana, and is calling on everyone else to do the same. It is a call to arms, of sorts, not only to fans, but also to business owners and state officials.

And, as a personal aside, what would make Benson angrier than an overflowing crowd at Tiger Stadium for the Tampa Bay and Carolina games? Think about it. If southeast Louisiana shows an amazing amount of support, wouldn't that be the worst thing that could happen for Tommy Boy's relocation efforts?

The San Antonio Express-News ran a column yesterday that basically concedes the battle for the Saints relocation, and also seeks to edit the truth about the battle itself.

The article by Richard Oliver, entitled "Pain of being jilted by NFL's honchos leaves San Antonio sadder but wiser," states:
"We tease and titillate, entice and embrace, bat our baby browns and throw on some tight jeans, and where does that leave us today? Standing largely ignored in a corner of the bar, a lukewarm beer in one hand and our hearts in another. Looking a tad desperate, by some accounts."
Amazingly, the city is almost proudly identified as something of a slut.

Oliver continues with a tongue-in-cheek insult of southeast Louisianians: "For those east of the Mississippi, where many still believe that tumbleweeds outnumber vehicles on our unpaved streets..."

As if. Louisianans are not as oblivious as we are portrayed. We're also subject to more ridiculous perceptions (poor uneducated backwater hicks wrestling with alligators in our swampy backyards) than most. Just watch Adam Sandler's "The Waterboy" and you get the picture.

Oliver then tries in vain to re-write history for his city: "Yet, as with all breakups, time will heal a few wounds, and memory will cast the whole Saints' affair in the kind of soft, gentle light that nurtures forgiveness. History will show that when the stunned franchise rebounded from tragedy, a city opened its arms wide in welcome."

Nope. Sorry. That's blatantly incorrect, and that city's acts should not be forgiven anytime soon.

As has been extensively documented on this site, the officials and sportswriters of the city of San Antonio have acted like swarming vultures throughout this matter, under a guise of "a city opening its arms wide in welcome to a stunned franchise rebounding from tragedy." It was embarrassing, shameless, and flat out wrong, and many analysts echoed that sentiment throughout the nation.

Also - if actions such as those exhibited by San Antonio in recent weeks are how a city makes itself "wiser" and "more attractive," then this country is in some serious trouble.

Dropping a couple of Jayson Blair-esque, wholly inaccurate sentences in an attempted history edit won't fix the truth that came out.

San Antonio's initial Saints generosity was fake. It tried to act as the seductive evil mistress trying to split a four-decades-long marriage, and in the process, repeatedly kicked a battered city while it was down.

And that's the truth, no matter how you spin it.

For a city named for not just a saint, but for Saint Anthony, the patron saint of the poor, to go to such lengths to steal a team called the Saints from a poor city in despair, is downright despicable.

In fact, as for Saint Anthony, according to this site, "People who have lost family members or personal items pray to Anthony for their safe return."

Wow. Perhaps the city should rename itself. Its hypocritical actions certainly would not make its namesake proud.


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