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

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Saints announcement set within the next week; Tagliabue to meet with team Friday; McCombs thinks Saints headed to S.A.

According to this USA Today article on the status of the Superdome, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the paper that an announcement will be made within the next week by the league on where the Saints will practice and play next season.

Aiello also told USA Today, "We would like to have the Saints play as many games as possible in New Orleans next year."

This coincides with a meeting scheduled Friday in San Antonio between NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, owner Tom Benson, and Saints players and staff.

The Times-Picayune indicates that the Saints players are less than enthused with Tagliabue or the Friday meeting.

While the Times-Picayune acknowledges that it's not known whether Tagliabue will inform the team of where the NFL will have it practice and play in 2006, it's likely that he will make such an announcement to the team given Aiello's indication of such an announcement within the next week.

Said cornerback Fred Thomas: "The only thing he could tell us at this point is if we're going to be here or Louisiana."

Such an announcement has been left up to the NFL, pursuant to papers signed by Benson that pushed back the Saints' exit clause in the Louisiana lease to after the 2006 season.

This article by Bob Tompkins of the Alexandria Town-Talk discusses the Saints' legal situation, and indicates that the NFL has this right.

Beyond 2006, however, the situation gets murky.

And, for what it's worth, former Minnesota Vikings owner and San Antonio resident Red McCombs thinks NFL owners would approve of a move from New Orleans to San Antonio, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

McCombs said of Tagliabue's dedication to Louisiana following Katrina, "What would you expect Tagliabue to say after seeing that destruction in Louisiana?"

McCombs also told the Express-News:
"It's just common sense. All of these owners are going to be facing the same thing someday, one way or another, with their own franchises. They will be facing transfer, possible relocation, a number of these same issues Benson faces, and they will be reluctant to keep a guy from doing what he wants to do with his franchise.

"(San Antonio) is in a very good position. The situation is complicated, but the bottom line is Benson wants to come here. That's the key.

"I don't have any doubt now it will come to pass."
McCombs, who also once owned the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, had hopes of moving the Vikings to San Antonio, before selling the club earlier this year.

Benson and McCombs are long-time friends, according to this 1998 article from the Houston Chronicle. In it, Benson is quoted as saying, "I'm a Red McCombs supporter."

The two men have known each other since 1956, and both made their fortunes in car dealerships in the San Antonio area.

In that same article, McCombs said, "An NFL team in San Antonio would be a smash, but the Vikings are an institution in Minnesota."

As are the Saints in New Orleans.

Of course, McCombs has been pushing to get a team to San Antonio for 40 years now, according to a different Houston Chronicle article from 1998.

In it, McCombs commented on the possibility of moving the Vikings to San Antonio. There, the Vikings' lease with the Metrodome was slated to end in 2012, but there was an exit clause that could allow the team to relocate.

About that, McCombs said, "You don't break a lease just because you have the money."

No word on Benson's opinion on that.


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