Henderson: Benson may have alienated too many to return; An open note to Benson
In a review of the event from the Hattiesburg American by Curtis Rockwell, Henderson indicated that he believed Benson may have gone too far in courting San Antonio at New Orleans' time of utmost need:
"[I]n my opinion it will be hard for Tom Benson to be the owner of a team in New Orleans after all of this negative publicity. The sad reality is, the city could lose the Saints because of this and through no fault of its own.Tom Benson - the owner who alienated a team's fan base so much that it would stop supporting that team because of its owner. So much, that the team's own announcer suggests that even he wouldn't mind seeing Benson leave town, so long as another Saints team could come into existence.
"I think the outlook is a bit better right now than it was last week. But I'm still not sure what will happen. I think Benson may have already alienated so many people that the better thing may just be to let them go with the promise of the so-called 'Cleveland plan' in place.
"A clean slate may be what's best for everyone, because I don't think some fans will support the team because of the current owner. The press surrounding Benson and his actions have been so negative, maybe the league should say go ahead and leave and New Orleans can have another team in two or three years."
Yup, Tommy Boy, you've got some monumental work to do. You've managed to turn Saints legends like Archie Manning, Dave Dixon, Bobby Hebert, and Jim Henderson all into personal critics.
(One could only imagine what Buddy D would have said by now. Or what Arnold Fielkow would like to say.)
Even in spite of Benson, Henderson said that Saints fans still love their team. About Sunday's crowd at Tiger Stadium, Henderson said:
"I think it again showed that Saints fans are some of the best in the league. It was a very positive statement that they want the team back and they still love the Saints. They have been coming back time and again over the years, even before I got here. They love them despite of all the heartbreaks the Saints have given them. They have been the heart and soul of the team for so long."And that's why Benson shouldn't treat them the way he has.
It's also why San Antonio shouldn't treat New Orleans the way it has.
As for Benson, Sports Illustrated's Don Banks listed him on his "Three guys who have to step it up" in his most recent "Banks' Shots" column:
"Hey, Tom, what do you say to taking the rest of the year off? Every time you open your mouth, or even show up, you're making a bad situation that much worse. Here's an idea: Try asking yourself, what would Wellington Mara have done?"Amen to that. Something needs to knock some sense into ole Tommy Boy, and quick.
WITH THE PASSING OF MARA IN MIND, I'D LIKE TO OFFER THIS OPEN NOTE TO BENSON:
Take a cold, hard, deep-down look at yourself. If you passed away tomorrow, how would fans commemorate your death? What would the signs read? Would people be in mourning? How would the team react? Would it be anything approaching the way the Giants and their fans completely united in a memorable thrashing shutout of Washington last weekend?
You see, you could pull off an Ebenezer Scrooge-like recovery. Everyone forgave him. Believe it or not, the same could happen with you.
It's not too late to realize that money can only buy so much, no matter how much of it you have.
Show some FAITH in New Orleans and Saints fans, and they just might return the favor.
Or, continue on your current track. You can see where it's gotten you so far.
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