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

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Brooks benched...but why?

WWL-TV reports this afternoon that longtime Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks has been benched for the remainder of the 2005 season.

This comes just days after Brooks blasted Saints owner Tom Benson in an interview with Jim Gray, which aired on Westwood One radio Monday and partially on CBS's NFL Today pregame show Sunday.

It also comes on the same day reports are making the rounds that a reconstructed and upgraded Superdome is expected to be NFL-ready by November 2006. (You don't suppose benching Brooks today could be an effort to overshadow the positive Superdome news, eh? Nah. Benson wouldn't do that...)

It leads to the obvious question: After so many woefully bad games (two moments that I can recall involve Brooks throwing the ball to a group of defenders off his back leg while falling into the endzone, and running out of bounds while trying to run out the clock late in the game), all of a sudden Brooks is getting yanked now?

His poor play over the last few seasons obviously hasn't been enough to get him benched. Even when Brooks was injured, he still started games. Even when the backup was a guy by the name of Jake Delhomme (who, ironically, will start Sunday for the Carolina Panthers against the Saints).

Now, it seems all too clear that his comments off the field, and not his play on it, have cost him his starting role with the team.

Especially since a Saints spokesperson felt the need to make sure to assert that the benching has nothing to do with Brooks' criticism of Benson or NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

(Yeah, right. And Tommy Boy doesn't want to move to San Antonio either.)

To me, it's an indication that Benson is inflicting upon Brooks the same punishment he gave Arnold Fielkow.

Fielkow was fired for wanting to keep the Saints in New Orleans, making Benson unhappy.

Brooks has been benched and will be fired for criticizing Benson for being greedy and having his team practice in a parking lot and dress in a high school baseball stadium, making Benson unhappy.

(Benson probably would fire Tagliabue if he controlled the NFL too.)

None of it looks good on Benson. The glaring implication is that it's either Tommy Boy's way, or the highway. Even if it means abandoning a hometown city in need, or allowing players to practice in conditions that would embarrass even the smallest college program.

The real lesson: No matter how hard the NFL tries, it cannot prevent ole Tommy Boy from continuing to be an all-out public relations nightmare.


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