Tagliabue press conference rundown (updated)
NOT present, however, was Tom Benson. Nor was his name mentioned once, though Rita Benson LeBlanc's name surfaced a couple of times.
Most importantly, Tagliabue stated that the Saints have no obligation pursuant to their present lease to play any games in the Superdome next year since all of the games cannot be played there, and that the NFL is going beyond the lease to play games there. However, there apparently will be some games played in the Dome.
Tagliabue said that the Saints will still be referred to as the "New Orleans Saints" in 2006, but exactly where they will play is uncertain. There will be a four-to-six week period in which officials will gather information regarding next season's location or locations of Saints home games. Tagliabue stated that he plans to return to New Orleans in January 2006 with more information in that regard.
He stated that the Saints' training facility in Metairie is in "first class condition," but that the Superdome was not, and that there will be ongoing discussions of whether additional improvements will be made to the stadium during its massive renovation. The Superdome recovery timeline will impact the Saints' scheduling in 2006.
Critically, Tagliabue noted that where the Saints play next year will have a big long-term impact.
Against this backdrop, he virtually guaranteed that the Saints will play at least part of their schedule in San Antonio in a split schedule format not unlike this season.
Tagliabue stated that Baton Rouge's attendance issues were expected, because of the lack of a television blackout and other conditions impacting sales.
When pressed about the stated need to play games in San Antonio, Tagliabue's consistent response was that he had already addressed that issue.
He also added that it was too early to discuss 2007.
I'll have more as it becomes available...
For the wwltv.com article on the press conference, click here.
For the espn.com article, click here.
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