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

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Saints pioneer hammers Benson; Saints officials claim top ad spending for BR game; Benson cleans out training camp office

In perhaps the most stinging critique yet, Dave Dixon, one of the most critical figures in getting the Saints franchise and leading the way to construction of the Louisiana Superdome, has gone on record to offer his opinion of Tom Benson.

Dixon was quoted in an article by Glenn Guilbeau to say:
"We've really had two disappointing owners in John Mecom and Tom Benson. There is no other city with worse luck than that. That's really a sad commentary on the NFL that it would allow two such owners to remain active."
Dixon went on to focus and amplify his criticism of Benson:
"I am really upset with Tom Benson, and I used to support him as a person until recently...He's sent repeated love notes to the San Antonio mayor and has had love talk with him about moving the team there. It's obvious he wants to move the team to San Antonio now. He's showing a complete lack of class and an appalling lack of public relations sense.

"You do not do that when your city is trying to recover from a hurricane. Benson's really seemingly showing that he is only interested in money. And that's a shame. He's apparently lied about all this, because I keep hearing contradicting reports of what he has said about San Antonio and other things, not to me but in print."
Dixon also said in the story that Benson's ownership of the Saints has always been about business, and not about his love of the city of New Orleans.

Dixon then offered this:
"[T]he main thing about Mr. Benson is that he never knew anything about football and still doesn't. He doesn't even have the knowledge of the game that a typical fan has. Not even a fan would've hired Mike Ditka to be the coach (in 1997). You don't hire a fired coach. Then he fires Randy Mueller (in 2002)."
Then, in the same story, former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert labeled Benson a "black-hearted Scrooge."

So, Dave Dixon, Archie Manning, and Bobby Hebert all have hammered away at Tommy Boy. Fans have joined suit, as have national columnists.

Check out this classic by my favorite columnist,'s Bill "Sports Guy" Simmons:
"The ongoing subplot of Tom Benson possibly abandoning New Orleans and moving the Saints to San Antonio (is) the equivalent of somebody's wife getting into a debilitating car accident, then her husband filing for divorce while she's still in the hospital."
Couldn't have said it any better myself.

But so long as San Antonio's mayor thinks Benson's being mistreated...I suppose he can continue to act in an embarrassing fashion.

WWL-TV reports today, in a story about irate Saints ticket holders who were left waiting in line for much of Sunday's Saints-Dolphins game, that Saints officials claim the team spent "more money advertising yesterday's game than any other in history."

I must have missed something.

That, or advertising dollars must not go as far as they used to.

Or they're taking credit for the "Save Our Saints" organization, which spent its own donated money to purchase radio advertising to encourage attendance at Sunday's game because Saints officials refused to do so.

Let's take a quick look back, shall we? From the Baton Rouge Advocate on Oct. 29:
"The Saints game hasn't been heavily promoted in Baton Rouge, outside of ads in The Advocate's sports section. Officials with Lamar Outdoor Advertising, the major billboard company in the city, said they haven't received any ad requests from the Saints."
From the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger on Oct. 27:
"Despite relatively little promotion or advertising, the Saints reportedly have sold nearly 60,000 tickets to the Dolphins game in Tiger Stadium."
From the Shreveport Times on Oct. 26:
"More than 50,000 tickets have been sold for Sunday's game with very little marketing or advertising, even though the games were announced on Sept. 12. There have been some radio ads, highlighting Saban's return to LSU as much as the Saints, who fell to 2-5 Sunday with their third consecutive loss. But there have been no television ads or billboard ads."
Need I say more?

Tom Benson apparently has headed back to New Orleans, but not with intentions of returning to the city. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Benson emptied his Metairie training facility office and moved all of its contents to another office in San Antonio.

Not sure how he did that, since the office was in such a shambles to such a point where he has attempted to negate his lease with the state of Louisiana on the facility.

(Of course, WWL-TV shot footage of the facility that showed it was in very good shape. Perhaps that's one more reason he took offense with the network's camera Sunday.)


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