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

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Hardburglar spins S.A. ticket 'sales'; Saints expect free agency troubles

WOAI's website reports that San Antonio mayor Phil Hardburglar made some comments about ticket sales to the Christmas Eve game between the Saints and Detroit Lions in the Alamodome.

Said Hardburglar, "I believe we'll be knocking at the door of 60,000 on this one... which is remarkable really, considering it's Christmas Eve."

The story notes that "as of Friday more than 50,000 tickets have been sold for the Saints / Detroit Lion's game at noon on Saturday December 24th."

Both Hardburglar and WOAI conveniently don't mention the fact that a real estate investment group that also is trying to court the Saints bought 10,000 tickets earlier this week.

Also, neither Hardburglar nor WOAI mention the San Antonio-specific single ticket discount for the game.

Both facts make the ticket sales to the Saints' Christmas Eve game a bit less "remarkable."

Hardburglar is trying fairly obviously to spin the San Antonio ticket sales against those in Baton Rouge.

But nobody is buying one-sixth of Tiger Stadium's capacity, and nobody has extended a gracious single-ticket price discount for games in Tiger Stadium.

No such similar offer or opportunity has been extended to fans in Louisiana, where it is important to note that Tom Benson has burned all his bridges and pissed on the ashes.

Several Saints players have told the San Antonio Express-News that they believe the team will have a lot of trouble attracting free agents for 2006.

Veteran running back Antowain Smith, who played with the Patriots during their first two Super Bowl title runs in 2001 and 2003, said, "It'd be hard for somebody to come to a situation like that. The weight room is a damn tent. Nobody is going to want to come to that environment." Smith signed a one-year contract with the Saints for this season, and is looking forward to being "free as a bird."

Tight end Ernie Conwell added, "I know I wouldn't (sign as a free agent). No way I'd want to put my family through that kind of turmoil...I can guarantee you, a lot of guys have had their fill. I'm sure they're thinking, 'I'm out of here.'"

Stability and a state-of-the-art training facility are very important to these players, and to countless others.

Which is precisely why they should return to New Orleans, practice in Metairie, and play their 2006 campaign in Tiger Stadium and the Superdome. It's the right thing to do for the players, the coaches, the fans, and the league.

The only one who it's not right for is Tom Benson. And, I suppose, by extension, Phil Hardburglar.


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