Update: NFL-to-L.A. agreement not quite reached, but closer than ever; Saints a possibility; More on Bradshaw
Rather, the two sides have something of a gentleman's agreement that things are getting extremely close to fruition.
The same is true of the NFL and Anaheim, which is looking at building a new stadium for a franchise of its own.
So, two franchises may be making the move to the L.A. area in the coming years. But nothing is set in stone just yet.
It certainly doesn't decrease the significance of the NFL-to-L.A. announcement, noted on this site here yesterday.
But just to keep things straight...
Billy Witz of the Los Angeles Daily News reports that NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has requested draft lease agreements in the next two months from the Coliseum, as well as representatives from Anaheim, so that league owners can review them before their next annual meeting in late March 2006.
In spite of Tagliabue's comments stating otherwise, no initial "term-sheet" agreements, which would come prior to entering into any actual lease arrangement, have been entered into with either site due to "unresolved issues," according to Witz's column.
But neither Coliseum officials nor representatives from Anaheim anticipate problems in complying with Tagliabue's request for draft lease agreements, and term sheets are likely to be entered into at some point prior to that.
In other words, at least for the Coliseum, it's virtually a foregone conclusion that it will play host to an NFL franchise soon. Whether there's something in writing or not, strong public verification from the NFL in that regard is the real news from yesterday afternoon.
SAINTS A POSSIBILITY
As for whether the Saints would be a franchise targeted for relocation, Tagliabue was cautiously dismissive in comments Thursday. As quoted in the above-cited L.A. Daily News article, the commissioner said:
"There are great uncertainties right now in the Gulf Coast region. Those uncertainties are going to have to be addressed with respect to the NFL and all other businesses that were robust in the New Orleans area and the Gulf Coast region. We're going to work through those uncertainties and keep the Saints, if we can, in Louisiana."However, Tagliabue also noted that keeping the Saints in Louisiana is a priority for the league at this point. In this New York Times article, he is quoted as saying, "We're not discussing the Saints in Los Angeles as a priority. We're discussing the Saints in Louisiana as a priority."
But it all hinges on whether the future New Orleans can sustain the Saints to the league's satisfaction.
MORE ON BRADSHAW
In that vein, more news has emerged on the Terry Bradshaw front.
Today's New Orleans Times-Picayune, in an article by Jeff Duncan, reports that Bradshaw has formed a group of interested in-state investors who have enough cash to buy the Saints and keep them in Louisiana.
Bradshaw is quoted in the article as saying, "I've got people that are willing to invest if Mr. Benson is willing to sell. I met with two of the investors (Wednesday) in Shreveport and I asked them, 'Can we pull the strings on this? Can we get it done?' And they said, 'Yeah. The money is no problem.'"
Bradshaw also told the paper that he recognizes a purchase of the team is a long-shot, but he's still going to go for it.
Bradshaw's other comments to the Times-Picayune are as follows:
"I came out publicly because I just wanted the state of Louisiana to hear something positive about their Saints. As a homegrown guy, I would do everything that I could to make sure that they do not lose their football team. I want to keep everybody honest with the citizens of the state of Louisiana, primarily the city of New Orleans. It's not their fault that Katrina came in and did all the devastation it did.Nice to hear such comments from somebody with the initials, "T.B."
"I just feel as though someone has to defend the state. I'm a nobody, other than being a former athlete. I'm just going to be a voice, a watchdog. The NFL is a tremendous PR machine. I want to keep them honest with us. We're talking about an entity that, combined with the Sugar Bowl and all the other things at the Superdome, brings a tremendous amount of revenue into our state. And I don't want to see that leave us because we were misled.
"I just want to make sure -- dead sure -- that my state doesn't get screwed here."
The article goes on to state that the investment group is working to formulate a bid for the Saints, and that Bradshaw hopes to meet with Benson at some point.
It is an exciting development that will be closely monitored by everyone who has even a passing interest in the Saints, because the entire team fan base has been so alienated by Tom Benson that even a long shot for an ownership change will be where most place their FAITH.
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