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, November 30, 2005

San Antonio ticket discount confirmed?; League releases statement on meeting

Within the Saints fan base in Louisiana, there has been much discussion surrounding rumored ticket discounts for the final Saints game in San Antonio, while no such discounts have been extended to games in Baton Rouge (or to prior Saints games on Christmas Eve).

Perhaps that rumor has been confirmed.

The folks on the message boards at have apparently obtained a flyer (see photo) that may prove the discount exists.

If this flyer is real, it would be yet another slap in the face of Saints fans in Louisiana by Tom Benson. Merry Christmas!

The NFL recently released a statement regarding a meeting between Saints officials and the league:

"Commissioner Tagliabue today met in New York for two hours with Saints owner Tom Benson, Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis and NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw on matters regarding the Saints future.

A number of subjects relative to the Saints operations in 2006 were discussed including the pace of the recovery efforts in the New Orleans area, the timing of key decisions affecting the Saints' team planning for 2006, and the make-up of the Saints 2006 playing schedule.

Commissioner Tagliabue and Mr. Benson will continue discussions next Monday in New Orleans when they meet with business leaders and community officials. They also will visit the Superdome, the Saints training facility in Metairie, and other areas of the city.

Commissioner Tagliabue and Mr. Benson plan to attend the Saints-Buccaneers game in Baton Rouge this Sunday."

Hopefully their lives won't be threatened.


Have a comment? Email me at

Monday, November 28, 2005

ESPN: Saints to play part of '06 schedule in S.A.

Tonight, on ESPN's NFL Monday Night Countdown, Chris Mortensen reported that after a meeting today between Saints officials and the NFL, it has been determined that the Saints will play at least a portion of their 2006 season in San Antonio, with other games possibly being played in Baton Rouge.

The team will maintain its name, "New Orleans Saints," though Mortensen noted that Saints officials including Tom Benson and Mickey Loomis had attempted to persuade the NFL to allow the entire Saints home schedule to take place in San Antonio. However, the league is still insisting upon having at least some games take place in Louisiana.

This comes just days after two more front office employees have left the club. (See here and here.)

Presumably, the team will center its headquarters in San Antonio as well. San Antonio officials should be rejoicing this bit of information this evening.



Want to drop me a line? Email me at

Saturday, November 19, 2005

San Antonio ticket discount?

Rumors are swirling that tickets to the final Saints game in San Antonio against the Lions will be discounted, some half price. No such discount is being offered for Saints games in Baton Rouge, to my knowledge. If this is true, is Tom Benson trying to control attendance in Baton Rouge and San Antonio to his advantage?

True, the game against the Lions is set for Christmas Eve, but previous seasons have included games at the Superdome near holidays and, to my knowledge, no such discount has been extended.


As Matt Drudge would say, "Developing..."


Want to drop me a line? Email me at

Thursday, November 17, 2005

WWL-TV: Three criteria required to keep Saints; Benson slammed by La. House rep, proposed state bill

WWL-TV reports today that league sources have indicated New Orleans will have to meet three criteria to keep the Saints:
(1) The city’s ability to recover more quickly than expected;
(2) A commitment from the state to continue paying the team inducements, if not increase them; and/or
(3) A commitment from the NFL owners to supplement the team’s losses.

WWL-TV also reports that while the Saints will play some games in Louisiana in 2006, the team has indicated it doesn't want to play any more games at LSU because it loses approximately $1 million for each game at Tiger Stadium.

The story also quotes the source to say that the Saints will lose 'between $20 and $40 million this season and next.'

None of the news today (see earlier post from this morning below) is particularly promising for the prospects of keeping the Saints in New Orleans.

As indicated in the previous post, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and perhaps some league owners will make a trip to New Orleans in about three weeks to gauge the progress of recovery efforts there.

It appears that will help set the stage for the first requirement listed above. As I had noted, it's not likely that a tremendous amount of progress from the league's perspective has been made in the three months or so since Katrina made landfall.

The second requirement is a long-shot, especially any increases in state inducements, due to the devastation heaped upon Louisiana by both Katrina and Rita.

And as for the third requirement...While the NFL may offset some of the Saints' losses for a short period of time, any extended supplement is unlikely.

If today's news is true, it's not good at all for Saints fans in Louisiana.

Stay tuned...

Another interesting tidbit to come across the wires today was concerning a bill proposed in the Louisiana House Ways and Means Committee.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that the bill, proposed by state rep Juan LaFonta, would provide a tax incentive to any corporation borrowing money to purchase an NFL franchise for Louisiana, but specified that Tom Benson and members of his family would not be allowed to get the tax break.

In other words, it's an incentive for someone to buy the Saints and keep them in Louisiana.

If that wasn't enough of a slap in Benson's face, another state rep, Taylor Townsend, is quoted in the article as saying, "I think everyone in this room could care less about Tom Benson. It's hard for us to hide our contempt for Tom Benson."

I guess Tommy Boy's p.r. makeover wasn't quick enough.

And, by the way, the bill was deferred without a vote.


Got a comment? Email me at

Benson makes speech at NFL meeting; NFL comments not encouraging; Possible lockout could impact situation

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Tom Benson made a 35-minute speech Wednesday to NFL owners at their meeting in Kansas City.

The speech included Benson's comments about his team's situation, and also an expression of concerns about New Orleans' future viability. Interestingly, Benson also asked the owners to, according to the article, 'decide on the team's 2006 location as quickly as possible to ease the uncertainty for staff members.'

If it's up to the remaining owners on what is to be done with the Saints, and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney's comments are indicative of other beliefs, then the outlook for keeping the team in Louisiana long-term can't be too promising.

Rooney, who was quoted yesterday as praising Benson, told the Times-Picayune, "It's a very difficult situation, and it's going to take a lot of money. There is insurance money involved, but that's not going to take care of everything. I just don't know what we can do...I would want it to be something that's worthwhile, not just a show."

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue also informed the league's owners that New Orleans is like "a war zone after a war."

Additionally, the article states that Tagliabue intends on making a trip to New Orleans in two to three weeks to check on how the city is progressing in its recovery efforts, and that some league owners may join him.

I'm not so sure such a check, just over three months after Katrina, will be an accurate depiction of the recovery's long-term progression. I'd contend that such a recovery is akin to a snowball gaining in size going down a hill - the further along things go, the faster the rest takes place. Hopefully, they will see satisfactory steps in the right direction.

But while many of the other comments expressed by the league have been encouraging, the ones pointed out above are not.

John DeShazier of the Times-Picayune also penned a column entitled, "Benson about-face a promising start." In it, DeShazier acknowledges that while Benson's comments and attitude in the last couple of days have been reassuring, it "doesn't mean he actually is working toward that end."

DeShazier also notes that "[n]o one expects him to go bankrupt attempting to keep the Saints in New Orleans. He's a businessman, first and foremost. It's idiotic to hope he will be blind to New Orleans' problems..."

In other words, DeShazier understands that Benson's recent statements are, at a minimum, an improvement in public relations, though the team's New Orleans situation is dire.

At least Tommy Boy is coming across better. A smile at a television camera usually is preferable to a swipe.

That goes along with the league's acknowledgement that players will need additional inducements to come and play for the Saints as free agents.

Couple that with some comments cited in the San Antonio Express-News about Saints players being "critical of the turf at Tiger Stadium and skeptical about New Orleans' ability to refurbish the Superdome," and you've got a real problem.

Which is why the league is trying to get the Saints' 2006 schedule finalized in January, two months before the rest of the league. It's to at least show stability to potential free agents, either those looking at playing for the Saints or those who presently do play for them that may be looking elsewhere.

All in all, the NFL commitment to Los Angeles may be more likely to come to fruition that for New Orleans. The circumstances may dictate that more than anything.

Put it this way - if you were a free agent looking at signing with a team in a rebuilding New Orleans or a team in an established L.A., where would you sign?

I'd like to think that the NFL would take a lead role in the rebuilding of the city, providing a new stadium and helping to develop other newly constructed areas including stores and restaurants that could not just be used for tailgating, but for year-round events. Call it something like Saints City, and you've got yourself an attraction befitting of multiple Super Bowls.

I'd like to think that the NFL could flex its multi-billion dollar muscles, proudly lead the way, and bravely show other businesses that New Orleans will be back stronger than ever.

I'd like to think that such steps would ensure a bright future on the league and civic fronts, encouraging free agents to sign there.

I'd like to think that such gracious steps also would encourage those who left New Orleans to return home.

I'd like to think that.

But I'm not overly optimistic.

Especially when owners like Dan Rooney state that they "just don't know what we can do."

One very important development in all of this, however, is the distinct possibility of a lockout for the 2008 season.

The Los Angeles Daily News reports that NFL owners have started to consider a lockout that season because the collective bargaining agreement is approaching expiration.

As the article notes, this major hurdle clearly would be at the front of the line for the league to leap past before making a final decision on lease agreements with the Los Angeles Coliseum and a proposed stadium in Anaheim.

Because there's not much point in determining a team should move to L.A. if there's not going to be any games played in '08.

All things considered, this is a crucial situation for the NFL to resolve, and could mark a crossroads for the league. It has long been viewed as the preeminent professional sports league in America, and gambling its public relations goodwill by moving a franchise away from a city devastated by a natural disaster, along with engaging in a lockout, would be akin to rolling snake eyes.

As always, we shall see what the future holds...


Got a comment? Email me at

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Benson: Saints 'not for sale'; NFL owners support Benson; League to make early Saints '06 schedule

After a meeting of NFL owners and commissioner Paul Tagliabue yesterday in Kansas City to discuss the New Orleans Saints' future, it was apparent that the league has placed its FAITH in Tom Benson.

It also was obvious that a re-invention of Tommy Boy's public relations image has officially begun.

As an example of both, Dan Rooney, chief of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was quoted in this article by Judy Battista of the New York Times as saying, "Tom Benson is one of the finest, caring people I know in the National Football League. He's been painted into an evil-looking person, which is definitely not the case."

(In the words of Austin Powers' Dr. Evil: "Riiiiiiiiigggghhhhht." Was it not Benson who punched a camera and sent an angry derogatory email about Baton Rouge? Was it not Benson who has been in bed with San Antonio while New Orleans helplessly lays in tatters? Was it not Benson who fired the strongest advocate of the team's return to New Orleans? Was it not Benson who wanted to refuse refunds to season ticket holders after Katrina? And before Katrina, was it not Benson who blasted New Orleans' fan base after decades of tremendous support? How can he not be painted into an evil-looking person? He's the one with the brush! It is what it is. But I digress...)

And, a clearly happy, smiling Benson himself proclaimed in public that he was committed to New Orleans, and that the Saints are not available for purchase.

According to this article by Billy Witz of the Los Angeles Daily News, Benson told reporters after the meeting that, "The team is not for sale. We don't have to talk about that one."

(So much for the Terry Bradshaw option.)

Benson also chimed in on returning the Saints to New Orleans, according to this article by Judy Battista of the New York Times: "Hopefully the day will come when we'll have a lot of football in New Orleans...(The league's owners) understand how hard we are working to try to come back to New Orleans. We've got the whole league behind us."

(I wonder if the league is behind Benson returning to Baton Rouge. He still hasn't since that email.)

In that vein, the same New York Times story also quoted Houston Texans' owner Robert McNair as saying, "We need to see what's going to happen in New Orleans and give them a chance to recover. You don't kick people when they're down."

No word if McNair was talking about the NFL owners, or about San Antonio.

Tagliabue also was quoted in the L.A. Daily News story above, saying, "Our priority is on Louisiana. (But) I think it will be very difficult to say every home game will be played in one place."

That article also indicated that there is yet some potential for games to be played next season in San Antonio, which in this writer's eyes would be a huge mistake.

Tagliabue also was quoted in this AP story as saying, "These are very difficult challenges. Everyone needs to be patient. There are a lot of complications here and I think everyone is working in good faith to get them resolved."

Perhaps most important, though, is the question of how long such patience with the New Orleans situation will be exhibited by the NFL. When Denver Broncos' owner Pat Bowlen was asked about the time frame, his response according to the L.A. Daily News - "That's a good question."

Indeed it is. No doubt, it's one that was discussed behind closed doors and not made public.

And maybe what we don't know is why Benson was so happy yesterday.

We shall see.

The L.A. Daily News pointed out another item of interest that came out of the meeting - the league will put together the Saints' 2006 schedule in January, and also is considering additional bonuses for free agents to sign with the team given its circumstances. The other 31 NFL teams also will be piecing together some financial support for Benson and the Saints. And the league's blackout policy could continue to be waived in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas.

So the NFL is fighting the good fight, and has Benson on board with a p.r. makeover in place.

Or at least that's what they want us to think.

Keep the FAITH...


Want to drop me a line? Email me at

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bradshaw speaks in column; San Antonio admits defeat, seeks to re-write history?

Terry Bradshaw addressed his potential purchase (along with a team of investors) of the New Orleans Saints in his latest column. No need to paraphrase (but I do add comments below) - here's the entire excerpt:
"A lot of you have may have read about my involvement in trying to save the Saints or of being part of a group trying to buy them for the sole reason of keeping them in Louisiana. I haven't been appointed by anybody, I've just made it my job to be the voice of the people and made myself the ambassador. I've taken it upon myself to try to help save the Saints.

"This is me talking. If we lose the Saints, we aren't going to get another team in Louisiana. I am a local boy and am in a position at FOX to defend Louisiana and the football fans there. I've met and talked with a group of people who would like to save the team, but I also know that Tom Benson doesn't want to sell his franchise.

"What football fans have to understand out there is that people in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region are upset. Everything is negative for them. They have lost their homes, their businesses and their jobs. Gas prices are sky high, and so many people are unemployed. So many evacuees are looking for work.

"Their NFL team has moved out of town. The Saints are practicing in San Antonio, and it scares people because the team is there and Tom Benson is living there. The fans are thinking we want to hold onto this team. So, please give us some time to rebuild our city, our state and our Superdome, and then let us get our team back.

"The last game the Saints played at LSU, the stands were empty. But the NFL has to understand that the football fans in Louisiana are in a state of shock at what has happened to them and their city and state. It's a drastic change. This is not your normal way of enjoying the NFL because their team isn't even in their state.

"I really encourage the fans to pack Tiger Stadium the next time the Saints are there. We need to show Mr. Benson and the NFL that we really support the Saints and the NFL; that we care about our team and our city.

"I think we need two years to see what the city looks like, to revitalize New Orleans and make its downtown more modern. You leave the French Quarter alone, but this is a chance for the state to update the downtown area. Fix it up and make it look like Denver or Pittsburgh or Baltimore or Dallas. We got a chance now to update it. Build it back up and really make it special, and that may make it even more appealing to the NFL.

"This is not the time to attack the league or try to threaten Mr. Benson. Nothing could be further from the truth. All I and some of my business friends want is to make New Orleans a viable city again, one that Mr. Benson would be satisfied with, and keep it as a NFL city.

"That's what is important. It's not that important for me or any of my friends to own a NFL franchise. A lot depends on the economy of the state. We know that. But right now we need the hotels to get back running. We need the downtown to rebuild and get people back. We need the casinos to open. We need to start building some positives in New Orleans."
The most important things that come out of this entire piece are that (a) Tom Benson does not want to sell the Saints, (b) Bradshaw says that it's not that important for he and his friends to own an NFL franchise, and (c) Bradshaw says it's important to give Benson the impression that New Orleans is an NFL city.

After reading this, it looks more unlikely that Benson will sell to Bradshaw. But the NFL Hall-of-Famer is letting it be known that he is giving his best effort to do what he can to keep the Saints in Louisiana, and is calling on everyone else to do the same. It is a call to arms, of sorts, not only to fans, but also to business owners and state officials.

And, as a personal aside, what would make Benson angrier than an overflowing crowd at Tiger Stadium for the Tampa Bay and Carolina games? Think about it. If southeast Louisiana shows an amazing amount of support, wouldn't that be the worst thing that could happen for Tommy Boy's relocation efforts?

The San Antonio Express-News ran a column yesterday that basically concedes the battle for the Saints relocation, and also seeks to edit the truth about the battle itself.

The article by Richard Oliver, entitled "Pain of being jilted by NFL's honchos leaves San Antonio sadder but wiser," states:
"We tease and titillate, entice and embrace, bat our baby browns and throw on some tight jeans, and where does that leave us today? Standing largely ignored in a corner of the bar, a lukewarm beer in one hand and our hearts in another. Looking a tad desperate, by some accounts."
Amazingly, the city is almost proudly identified as something of a slut.

Oliver continues with a tongue-in-cheek insult of southeast Louisianians: "For those east of the Mississippi, where many still believe that tumbleweeds outnumber vehicles on our unpaved streets..."

As if. Louisianans are not as oblivious as we are portrayed. We're also subject to more ridiculous perceptions (poor uneducated backwater hicks wrestling with alligators in our swampy backyards) than most. Just watch Adam Sandler's "The Waterboy" and you get the picture.

Oliver then tries in vain to re-write history for his city: "Yet, as with all breakups, time will heal a few wounds, and memory will cast the whole Saints' affair in the kind of soft, gentle light that nurtures forgiveness. History will show that when the stunned franchise rebounded from tragedy, a city opened its arms wide in welcome."

Nope. Sorry. That's blatantly incorrect, and that city's acts should not be forgiven anytime soon.

As has been extensively documented on this site, the officials and sportswriters of the city of San Antonio have acted like swarming vultures throughout this matter, under a guise of "a city opening its arms wide in welcome to a stunned franchise rebounding from tragedy." It was embarrassing, shameless, and flat out wrong, and many analysts echoed that sentiment throughout the nation.

Also - if actions such as those exhibited by San Antonio in recent weeks are how a city makes itself "wiser" and "more attractive," then this country is in some serious trouble.

Dropping a couple of Jayson Blair-esque, wholly inaccurate sentences in an attempted history edit won't fix the truth that came out.

San Antonio's initial Saints generosity was fake. It tried to act as the seductive evil mistress trying to split a four-decades-long marriage, and in the process, repeatedly kicked a battered city while it was down.

And that's the truth, no matter how you spin it.

For a city named for not just a saint, but for Saint Anthony, the patron saint of the poor, to go to such lengths to steal a team called the Saints from a poor city in despair, is downright despicable.

In fact, as for Saint Anthony, according to this site, "People who have lost family members or personal items pray to Anthony for their safe return."

Wow. Perhaps the city should rename itself. Its hypocritical actions certainly would not make its namesake proud.


Got a comment? Email me at

Friday, November 11, 2005

Update: NFL-to-L.A. agreement not quite reached, but closer than ever; Saints a possibility; More on Bradshaw

On further review, and in spite of news proclaiming otherwise, the NFL and L.A.'s Coliseum have not quite struck a deal to bring a franchise back to Los Angeles.

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.

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.

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.

"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."
Nice to hear such comments from somebody with the initials, "T.B."

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.


Got a comment? Email me at

Thursday, November 10, 2005

NFL, Coliseum reach agreement on return to L.A.; San Antonio likely out; Benson's days numbered?

In news that should make ripples throughout Saints circles, the NFL and Los Angeles Coliseum announced Thursday afternoon that an agreement has been officially reached for a return of the league to L.A.

The announcement, which has been expected by this site for months now given all the behind-the-scenes action that has taken place, will be sure to put a damper on brewing enthusiasm about prospects of Terry Bradshaw purchasing the Saints to keep them in New Orleans.

(This evening, anchors at one station in Lafayette, Louisiana, were even willing to pony up some dough to help T.B. out. They're probably not alone. But I digress...)

It also effectively puts a halt to any NFL discussions for San Antonio.

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was quoted in this AP article as saying, "I think the critical thing now is we're at the point where it's recognized, certainly by us, that the time is right."

As this site has chronicled, this announcement has been poised to take place this fall for quite some time now, even before Katrina made landfall. (Read here and here for more.) Remember, the NFL's opening night featured a concert from the Coliseum, and ads for Super Bowl XL also feature the Coliseum as a backdrop. That wasn't a coincidence.

A Los Angeles city councilman, Bernard Parks, also was quoted in the story as voicing his belief that the Coliseum will play host to a relocated, presently existing team, adding, "The NFL is going to have a say on who's going to come here. The Coliseum has no role in selecting a team."

The prime candidate for relocation right now is, without any doubt, the Saints.

Coliseum and city officials have come out against openly campaigning for the Saints to relocate there (a la San Antonio), instead leaving such a move up to the NFL.

Which dovetails with this thought: While Tagliabue has said that the Saints relocating to L.A. was "nonsensical," he also has qualified any statements regarding the Saints' possibilities of remaining in New Orleans with comments about the economic re-development of the city as a determining factor.

Thus, the stage is set. Either New Orleans is rebuilt to the NFL's satisfaction and the team stays there, or it is not, and the team goes to the Coliseum.

(San Antonio, you're out of the picture. Enjoy that Saints-Lions game in December.)

Another repercussion from today's news is that, from this writer's perspective, Tom Benson's days as an NFL owner are numbered.

Officials have said before that it would be highly preferred that a new group of investors purchase any team making a move to Los Angeles. That would especially be so if the Saints are in the fold, since L.A. won't put up with Benson's childish antics.

The alternative is New Orleans, which has had more than enough of Benson to support him if he does return with his team. That's not good for ticket and merchandise sales, nor is it good for the NFL.

More to come on this tomorrow...


Want to drop me a line? Email me at

Terry Bradshaw: Moses to Saints fans

I don't take any credit for the photo. I found it while perusing a message board at (home of Save Our Saints), and thought it was quite amusing, to say the least.

Humor aside, it serves as a great example of the enthusiastic response of Saints fans to Terry Bradshaw's ownership comments.

Of course, it also accurately depicts that in order to get Tom Benson to sell, and get the "T.B. for T.B." swap, it will take some sort of miracle.

Which means, for Saints fans, those FAITH t-shirts take on a whole new meaning.


Got a comment? Email me at

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bradshaw reiterates Saints ownership interest; Swap T.B. for T.B.!

While some thought Terry Bradshaw was joking when he said he was interested in buying the Saints on last Sunday's FOX NFL broadcast, the Louisiana native and Hall-of-Famer eliminated all doubt Wednesday.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Bradshaw, in Shreveport for induction into that city's Walk of Stars, told the Shreveport Times during his visit, "I'm supporting the citizens of Louisiana who don't deserve to lose the Saints because of a hurricane."

Bradshaw stated he has contacted potential investors to query their interest in joining him to purchase the team, acknowledging that he alone cannot afford Tom Benson's price tag - whatever that may be.

"I have pursued other avenues to find out if Mr. Benson would be interested in selling the Saints," Bradshaw is quoted as saying in the article. "I had to make sure I lined up the money. You've got to find out what Mr. Benson wants first."

You have to bet Saints fans across the state and country are on their knees, begging for this "T.B. for T.B." swap to come to fruition.

Benson has shown himself to be nothing more than a petty, penny-desperate prick to his team's core fan base throughout this ordeal.

On the other hand, Bradshaw would bring a breath of fresh air into the situation, add credibility to a non-credible franchise, and deliver more football knowledge to the table in an instant than Tommy Boy has in nearly 20 years.

Funny - Bradshaw in four days has seemed more genuine and done more for Saints fans' brittle psyches than Benson has in four months.

I'm guessing that the NFL powers-that-be have to be at least intrigued by the possibility of having a former great take the reigns of a poorly-managed franchise that has been under the leadership of a constant public relations minefield dance.

(Maybe that's where he perfected that Benson boogie...)

So I lift my glass...Here's to Paul Tagliabue and the ownership gang sorting something out, and strong-arming Benson to sell.

Because the two most recognizable domes in the NFL - the Superdome and Bradshaw's much-balleyhooed bald head - ought to be united.

(Just kidding. But not really. Read on.)

Because if Tags is so intent on keeping the team in Louisiana, something big will have to give for Saints fans to come back in their usual support. In this love-hate relationship, the hate has overcome the love.

Sixty thousand empty seats at Tiger Stadium serve as compelling proof.

So do the stinging comments concerning Benson's handling of the situation by noneother than Dave Dixon and Archie Manning, two Saints legends whose names hang in honor under the familiar fleur-de-lis on banners in the Superdome.

So do the stinging comments concerning Benson's handling of the situation by virtually everybody else around the country (except those in San Antonio, of course).

If one T.B. can't be the Hero of New Orleans, maybe (hopefully) another can.


Want to drop me a line? Email me at

Saints lose another front office member; Tagliabue 'off his rocker'?

The New Orleans Times-Picayune today reports that yet another front office executive is no longer affiliated with the Saints.

Mike Feder, who helped lead team operations in Baton Rouge, resigned Tuesday and cleaned out his office today.

The Times-Picayune cites sources from within that claim Feder had become uncomfortable in working with Tom Benson's granddaugther and supposed eventual heir of the franchise, Rita Benson LeBlanc.

LeBlanc, who is around 30 years old, has seen her role increase since her grandfather fired Arnold Fielkow, the ex-executive VP of administration.

In other news, San Antonio councilman Chip Haase was quoted by (yes, the same that thinks NFL teams host six games a year) as saying that NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue is "off his rocker if he doesn't think San Antonio is ready for the NFL."

Note to Haase - pretty much the rest of the league doesn't think you're ready either. And I'm guessing that bashing the commish isn't the best idea for trying to make him think otherwise.


Want to drop me a line? Email me at

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Terry Bradshaw, Saints owner?; Saints games may be in La. in '06; Hardburglar continues shamelessness

In one of the more surprising developments in the Saints fiasco, FOX Sports NFL analyst and former Pittsburgh Steeler and Louisiana Tech star Terry Bradshaw apparently is interested in helping buy the Saints franchise from Tom Benson.

According to this article in the Houston Chronicle, Bradshaw is quoted as saying:
"I've got people who are willing to put up the money, and I'm one of those. Right now I've got a cash flow problem, but we are willing to put up the money to buy the Saints. And Tom, you can go on back to San Antonio and take it easy with your kids and enjoy it."
Bradshaw is known for his goofy candor on the Sunday FOX NFL telecasts, but he is said to have been serious.

That would help satisfy many calls for Benson to sell the team to investors who would keep the team stationed in New Orleans. One example is national AP sports columnist Tim Dahlberg, in this piece entitled "Benson leave, Saints stay."

Another is's Skip Bayless, who wrote a nice column, "Benson should say good-bye," wherein he asks, "How could Saints fans ever forgive Benson?"

And there's columns like this, from the Chicago Tribune's Mike Downey, who visited New Orleans last week for the Bears-Saints contest in Baton Rouge. Downey noted the sparse crowd at Tiger Stadium (the no-shows included Benson), and cited that "Saints fans on TV said they stayed away because they did not wish to put one more dollar in Benson's pocket."

That is very accurate. A lot of people - die hard Saints fans at that - are that fed up with Tommy Boy.

Which makes it strange to hear recent news reports that the NFL has assured Louisiana that the Saints will play there next season, as noted here by the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

How will the team fare, and how will the area be viewed by the rest of the NFL, if a faithful 30,000 are the only ones who continue to show up consistently in a 93,000-seat stadium?

Of course, the team is mired in its worst losing streak since Ditka was roaming the sidelines, with a quarterback whose name is seemingly deserving of a different spelling (Errant Brooks). But that's old hat for Saints fans; Benson's horrific treatment of them as second-class is not.

If the report is true, it is great news to hear. But it will also be intriguing to see how many fans come to the games if Benson's rhetoric and attitude do not change.

At any rate, Benson, his granddaughter Rita (an unfortunate name), and NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue met Monday in Washington, D.C. to discuss the team's future.

Interestingly, Tagliabue also is scheduled to meet today with The Governator from California and officials from Los Angeles to discuss that city's NFL future.

We shall see how that plays out. Everything is a huge question mark.

That's exactly how's Len Pasquarelli put it, in a fine piece of work entitled "Saints' future remains one big question mark." It's lengthy, but definitely well worth a full read for anyone interested in how things may progress.

San Antonio mayor Phil Hardberger (hereinafter referred to in this column as Hardburglar) continues his enslaught of trash talk to the region impacted by Katrina, saying Monday that "We put 65,000 fans in (San Antonio's) last game, (Baton Rouge) put 32,000 fans in theirs. What else do I need to say?"

I wonder if the owner of the Spurs ripped that city's longstanding support and openly tried to move the team, then went off on a local network camera, and then shot off an email disparaging that city, how many tickets would be sold to the next Spurs-Bobcats game.

Then, Hardburglar acted as if San Antonio was vital to the NFL, so much so that he demanded, "I don't want the commissioner to pick and choose and give us the smaller games, and put the big games somewhere else."

It's probably not wise to tell the NFL commissioner how he can or cannot run his league. Just a thought.

Then, in a stunningly bold statement that runs contrary to his own actions, Hardburglar stated, "If you want to do business with San Antonio, you have to treat us like first-class citizens. We're not second class."

Oh, really? Do first-class citizens like yourself openly pillage another city in desparate need and practically unable to defend itself, under an initial guise of helping a city in need?

A lot of words describe that, but first-class is definitely not among them.

That's why Hardburglar's photo (along with Benson's) is on a site called First-class activities don't generate such sites.

(Oh, and a note to, or to Hardburglar since this was attributed to him - NFL franchises play 10 home games each year, not six. Count with me - two preseason games plus eight regular season games equals 10. Demanding that you host all six Saints home games next year makes you seem, well, second-class by NFL standards.)


Got a comment? Email me at

Friday, November 04, 2005

Lease deadline postponed until 2007; Two great reads

A letter (undoubtedly forced by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue) allegedly penned by Tom Benson was sent Friday to Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco that allowed for an extension of any Superdome lease cancellation deadlines, until 2007.

The letter contains the following un-Benson-esque language: "This will allow the State of Louisiana to focus on more immediate and pressing issues in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It also will allow the Saints to avoid prematurely having to consider decisions that can better be made in the months ahead."

The extension means the Saints don't have a deadline at the end of this month to meet in order to invoke the force majeure clause on the Superdome.

Team officials stated that the extension will provide the Saints and the NFL to work together to keep the team in Louisiana for the 2006 season without any lease termination arguments.

We shall see.

Check out this piece by the Wall Street Journal, entitled "Is Benson Citing Phantom Menace In Latest Jibe at Louisiana Fans?" and a great read in the Houston Chronicle by John McClain on Benson's email allegations.


Want to drop me a line? Email me at

Benson 'outraged' at Tagliabue for role in Saints' future; Finney asks Benson to sell; Email claims refuted; Benson labeled 'Big Sleazy'

The San Antonio Express-News today quotes Saints insider sources to report that Tom Benson is "outraged" by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue's intervention in the Saints' future.

As a result, Benson has been "hardened" in his quest for relocation of the franchise.

In spite of Tagliabue's recent statement that relocation discussions between franchises and cities are off-limits during a season, negotiations have continued with San Antonio, including talks about leasing office space for team officials.

Also, a Benson attorney will meet with Louisiana Superdome officials today to discuss extending the force majeure invocation deadline into late December. If the contract's force majeure provision is invoked by Benson, it could mean he could take the Saints and leave Louisiana without paying any penalty.

In spite of whatever is said about this, it likely would be done for the sole reason of maintaining ticket sales for remaining games in Tiger Stadium, as the article maintains that Benson still plans on utilizing the force majeure provision at some point.

Tagliabue can be none too pleased with this latest news, especially the part about Benson's "outrage" with him. Benson interestingly continues to have no problem with turning his nose up at the NFL chief.

Today's revelations are almost the equivalent to a full mooning of Tags by Tommy Boy.

(Should we expect much less from a man who has acted like a scolded child?)

One respected columnist from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Peter Finney, is calling for Tagliabue to help facilitate removal of Benson. Finney also openly implores Benson to sell the team that has made him so wealthy, for the best interests of New Orleans.

Finney firmly states, "If Tom Benson loves his city, and loves his state, he should step aside."

We can only hope for such a blessing.

He further points out that, in his eyes, Benson has "poisoned the waters beyond repair" in terms of keeping the team under his ownership in New Orleans.

No doubt today's "outrage" news doesn't help.

Finney also notes that Benson is trying to abandon New Orleans after it suffered, in Tagliabue's words, "an unprecedented national catastrophe," and that Tagliabue knows that Benson's email "was so much nonsense."

As for that, those who either witnessed or have close knowledge of Benson's claimed life-threatening departure from Tiger Stadium are calling Benson's bluff. Check out this terrific piece by the Shreveport Times' Glenn Guilbeau entitled, "LSU, anchor refute Benson's comments."

It describes how LSU officials were told by the team that it had no issues with security at Sunday's game.

It goes further to quote WWL-TV sports anchor Lee Zurik, who witnessed the now-infamous Benson camera-attack incident, as saying:
"Certainly there were people yelling at him, but he wasn't in any danger. None of the fans got within 10 feet of him and the bodyguards were between the fans and Benson. We stayed 10 feet away from him until he came after the camera."
(And that guy who looked like Michael Chiklis of The Shield that kept his hand on the camera lense after Benson shoved it? Apparently that was Benson's grandson. Just thought that was interesting.)

Speaking of the Benson camera attack, as this site asserted shortly after that incident, perhaps Benson's showing of "outrage" culminating with the attack, and Tagliabue's commitment to Louisiana, were related...

At any rate, for all that Benson has done (and failed to do), he has earned the nickname "The Big Sleazy" by John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News.

Ryan's story even contains the following note: "We provide these regularly scheduled Tom Benson updates to remind Bay Area fans that, when you think your team's ownership can't get any worse, it can."

It would be hilarious, if it weren't so painfully true.


Got a comment? Email me at

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Benson to boycott Baton Rouge after 'total disaster'

Tommy Boy, you've out-done yourself.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Saints owner Tom Benson sent an angry email to the NFL yesterday, stating that he will not return to Baton Rouge for any Saints games there this season or "a contemplated next season."

In his email to the league (click here for full email), Benson labeled Sunday's trip to Baton Rouge "a total disaster." He also wrote that he wanted the league "to know of this miserable experience and disappointment to me after I had tried to cooperate in every way."

His stated reasoning?

After calling Tiger Stadium security "inadequate to nonexistent," Benson asserted that he and his family "could have all been severely injured or killed."

He felt this way primarily because, as he wrote, he was heckled, and that obscenities were shouted at him by a "hostile crowd."

(Was he expecting to be showered with praise and adulation for his handling of the Saints' situation?)

More from the email:
"I will not return to Baton Rouge for any reason, including any games scheduled for the end of this season or a contemplated next season. No person, much less the owner of NFL team, should have either he, his family or his friends subjected to this form of danger, intimidation and abuse. I was advised not to go but wanted to support the League."
WWL-TV reporter Lee Zurick, who was near his station's camera when it was attacked by Benson on Sunday, said, "(Benson's) life was definitely not in danger. No one went after him. He went after people."

Ironically, LSU officials had inquired on whether Benson would need additional security, and were turned down after being told Benson had his own personal bodyguards coming.

Presumably, "not returning to Baton Rouge for any reason" includes not meeting with state officials about returning the team to New Orleans.

Not that he wanted to anyway.

Benson's email also curiously noted that he was "advised not to go, but wanted to support the league," and that he had "tried to cooperate in every way."

In other words, Benson was forced to go back to Louisiana, which runs completely contrary to his own previous full-page advertisements in the Times-Picayune and Baton Rouge Advocate.

Many suspected that to be the case anyway; this email serves to verify it.

This signifies a turn for the worse for Saints fans hoping the team will return. An email with this rhetoric, bashing Baton Rouge in such an amazing fashion, virtually ensures that ticket sales for the remaining three Saints games there will plummet.

Many alienated fans will have a serious problem supporting the Saints when they know it ultimately benefits Benson. Of course, if they do attend, the signs at the game will surely voice some response to Benson's latest snafu.

It also signifies yet another public relations black eye for the NFL. Benson has continued to act like a scolded three-year-old who's been told to go to his room, and not like an NFL owner with a shred of class or decency.

And that's why he has received such a wave of constant criticism and ridicule, not just from fans or sports columnists, but from Saints legends like Archie Manning, Dave Dixon, Bobby Hebert, and Jim Henderson.

Heck, even members of that committee the NFL formed to watch over him probably are grumbling amongst themselves right about now.

It also shows a lack of respect for NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who said Sunday that Benson "has been supportive of what I'm doing here (in Louisiana). He's going forward and working together with the governor and state officials and business leaders in these activities."

Not quite, Tags. Even your previous statements have gone unheeded by Benson.

Has Benson just gone right off the deep end?

This brings up a bigger question: can the NFL replace one of its own owners?

Because here's the thing: Benson has done not one thing right in this entire debacle. Not one.

Go ahead, try to think of something - anything - that Tommy Boy has done right since Katrina.

Even Tagliabue has to be getting fed up with these tirades.

Take the standard "pro sports owner p.r. handbook" and throw it into the fire.

Then, once it's burnt, go ahead and urinate on the ashes.

It's not the image the NFL wants to have. It's not the colleague NFL owners want to have. And it's certainly not the type of owner any team's fans would want to have.


Want to drop me a line? Email me at

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Henderson: Benson may have alienated too many to return; An open note to Benson

Longtime New Orleans sports journalist, Saints announcer, and WWL-TV sports anchor Jim Henderson offered his perspective on the team's situation as keynote speaker at a football club Tuesday night.

In a review of the event from the Hattiesburg American by Curtis Rockwell, Henderson indicated that he believed Benson may have gone too far in courting San Antonio at New Orleans' time of utmost need:
"[I]n my opinion it will be hard for Tom Benson to be the owner of a team in New Orleans after all of this negative publicity. The sad reality is, the city could lose the Saints because of this and through no fault of its own.

"I think the outlook is a bit better right now than it was last week. But I'm still not sure what will happen. I think Benson may have already alienated so many people that the better thing may just be to let them go with the promise of the so-called 'Cleveland plan' in place.

"A clean slate may be what's best for everyone, because I don't think some fans will support the team because of the current owner. The press surrounding Benson and his actions have been so negative, maybe the league should say go ahead and leave and New Orleans can have another team in two or three years."
Tom Benson - the owner who alienated a team's fan base so much that it would stop supporting that team because of its owner. So much, that the team's own announcer suggests that even he wouldn't mind seeing Benson leave town, so long as another Saints team could come into existence.

Yup, Tommy Boy, you've got some monumental work to do. You've managed to turn Saints legends like Archie Manning, Dave Dixon, Bobby Hebert, and Jim Henderson all into personal critics.

(One could only imagine what Buddy D would have said by now. Or what Arnold Fielkow would like to say.)

Even in spite of Benson, Henderson said that Saints fans still love their team. About Sunday's crowd at Tiger Stadium, Henderson said:
"I think it again showed that Saints fans are some of the best in the league. It was a very positive statement that they want the team back and they still love the Saints. They have been coming back time and again over the years, even before I got here. They love them despite of all the heartbreaks the Saints have given them. They have been the heart and soul of the team for so long."
And that's why Benson shouldn't treat them the way he has.

It's also why San Antonio shouldn't treat New Orleans the way it has.

As for Benson, Sports Illustrated's Don Banks listed him on his "Three guys who have to step it up" in his most recent "Banks' Shots" column:
"Hey, Tom, what do you say to taking the rest of the year off? Every time you open your mouth, or even show up, you're making a bad situation that much worse. Here's an idea: Try asking yourself, what would Wellington Mara have done?"
Amen to that. Something needs to knock some sense into ole Tommy Boy, and quick.


Take a cold, hard, deep-down look at yourself. If you passed away tomorrow, how would fans commemorate your death? What would the signs read? Would people be in mourning? How would the team react? Would it be anything approaching the way the Giants and their fans completely united in a memorable thrashing shutout of Washington last weekend?

You see, you could pull off an Ebenezer Scrooge-like recovery. Everyone forgave him. Believe it or not, the same could happen with you.

It's not too late to realize that money can only buy so much, no matter how much of it you have.

Show some FAITH in New Orleans and Saints fans, and they just might return the favor.

Or, continue on your current track. You can see where it's gotten you so far.



Got a comment? Email me at

Skeptical feedback from Tagliabue comments; Jerry Jones supportive of N.O.; A Benson bio biopsy

Today's Washington Post includes a story on the plights of the 2005 Saints team, and features a few paragraphs on reaction to NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue's recent comments on returning the team to New Orleans.

According to the article, one source close to the negotiations on the Louisiana side was skeptical of Tagliabue's remarks regarding intentions of keeping the team in New Orleans. The anonymous source said, "That was just public relations. We know we still have to prove we can support the team here or it's off to San Antonio for one year and then on to L.A."

I had similar concerns with Tagliabue's "nonsensical" remarks regarding the potential of a Saints' move to Los Angeles.

The article also noted that Tagliabue has "made it clear that the league is not particularly interested in San Antonio as a potential permanent home for the team, which leaves virtually no other option but Los Angeles if the Saints don't return to New Orleans."

In other words, it's pretty obvious that San Antonio is out of the mix.

A San Antonio Express-News column previously mentioned on this site, the Water Cooler, today practically noted the same in an article entitled "Saints: So what now?"

The column acknowledges the city's role in the Saints' future:
"S.A., sadly, is starting to look like the other woman in a love triangle. No force majeure means Benson is going back to his wife. Be prepared to get over it."
San Antonio is the city willingly trying to break a marriage between a city and its franchise. So how can the city be surprised that its treatment of New Orleans regarding the Saints hasn't garnered much support nationally?

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has come out in support of keeping the Saints in New Orleans if at all possible.

Jones was quoted in this story as saying, "Football has been an inspiration to people who have other troubles. There are problems throughout New Orleans and Louisiana. We owe it to those people not to take football from them."

Of course, Jones also noted that he wouldn't object to a franchise in San Antonio, even though the city largely supports his Cowboys, and in spite of the fact that another franchise exists in Houston.

But it is nice to hear one of the heavy hitters in the NFL coming out in support of making a concerted effort to keep the team in New Orleans.

Detroit Free Press columnist Michael Rosenberg took a detailed look at Tom Benson's online biography from the Saints' website, and then penned a column entitled "Despite his team bio, Benson's hardly a saint."

Within a great read, Rosenberg offers quips like, "Right now Benson reminds us of that 'Seinfeld' episode where George runs over all the little kids to get away from the fire."

Rosenberg also notes correctly that "pretty much the whole state of Louisiana is fed up with him."

And he's not getting much love from around the country either. Tommy Boy, can't you just take a look in the mirror? Or be visited by the ghost of New Orleans' past, present, and future?

Something's gotta give.


Got a comment? Email me at

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Saints pioneer hammers Benson; Saints officials claim top ad spending for BR game; Benson cleans out training camp office

In perhaps the most stinging critique yet, Dave Dixon, one of the most critical figures in getting the Saints franchise and leading the way to construction of the Louisiana Superdome, has gone on record to offer his opinion of Tom Benson.

Dixon was quoted in an article by Glenn Guilbeau to say:
"We've really had two disappointing owners in John Mecom and Tom Benson. There is no other city with worse luck than that. That's really a sad commentary on the NFL that it would allow two such owners to remain active."
Dixon went on to focus and amplify his criticism of Benson:
"I am really upset with Tom Benson, and I used to support him as a person until recently...He's sent repeated love notes to the San Antonio mayor and has had love talk with him about moving the team there. It's obvious he wants to move the team to San Antonio now. He's showing a complete lack of class and an appalling lack of public relations sense.

"You do not do that when your city is trying to recover from a hurricane. Benson's really seemingly showing that he is only interested in money. And that's a shame. He's apparently lied about all this, because I keep hearing contradicting reports of what he has said about San Antonio and other things, not to me but in print."
Dixon also said in the story that Benson's ownership of the Saints has always been about business, and not about his love of the city of New Orleans.

Dixon then offered this:
"[T]he main thing about Mr. Benson is that he never knew anything about football and still doesn't. He doesn't even have the knowledge of the game that a typical fan has. Not even a fan would've hired Mike Ditka to be the coach (in 1997). You don't hire a fired coach. Then he fires Randy Mueller (in 2002)."
Then, in the same story, former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert labeled Benson a "black-hearted Scrooge."

So, Dave Dixon, Archie Manning, and Bobby Hebert all have hammered away at Tommy Boy. Fans have joined suit, as have national columnists.

Check out this classic by my favorite columnist,'s Bill "Sports Guy" Simmons:
"The ongoing subplot of Tom Benson possibly abandoning New Orleans and moving the Saints to San Antonio (is) the equivalent of somebody's wife getting into a debilitating car accident, then her husband filing for divorce while she's still in the hospital."
Couldn't have said it any better myself.

But so long as San Antonio's mayor thinks Benson's being mistreated...I suppose he can continue to act in an embarrassing fashion.

WWL-TV reports today, in a story about irate Saints ticket holders who were left waiting in line for much of Sunday's Saints-Dolphins game, that Saints officials claim the team spent "more money advertising yesterday's game than any other in history."

I must have missed something.

That, or advertising dollars must not go as far as they used to.

Or they're taking credit for the "Save Our Saints" organization, which spent its own donated money to purchase radio advertising to encourage attendance at Sunday's game because Saints officials refused to do so.

Let's take a quick look back, shall we? From the Baton Rouge Advocate on Oct. 29:
"The Saints game hasn't been heavily promoted in Baton Rouge, outside of ads in The Advocate's sports section. Officials with Lamar Outdoor Advertising, the major billboard company in the city, said they haven't received any ad requests from the Saints."
From the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger on Oct. 27:
"Despite relatively little promotion or advertising, the Saints reportedly have sold nearly 60,000 tickets to the Dolphins game in Tiger Stadium."
From the Shreveport Times on Oct. 26:
"More than 50,000 tickets have been sold for Sunday's game with very little marketing or advertising, even though the games were announced on Sept. 12. There have been some radio ads, highlighting Saban's return to LSU as much as the Saints, who fell to 2-5 Sunday with their third consecutive loss. But there have been no television ads or billboard ads."
Need I say more?

Tom Benson apparently has headed back to New Orleans, but not with intentions of returning to the city. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Benson emptied his Metairie training facility office and moved all of its contents to another office in San Antonio.

Not sure how he did that, since the office was in such a shambles to such a point where he has attempted to negate his lease with the state of Louisiana on the facility.

(Of course, WWL-TV shot footage of the facility that showed it was in very good shape. Perhaps that's one more reason he took offense with the network's camera Sunday.)


Got a comment? Email me at

S.A. mayor: Benson being mistreated; Saints fans suffer ticket backup

While there are other stories making their way across the net today, one has stood out like a sore thumb.

San Antonio's mayor, Phil Hardberger, told a local radio station that "I certainly think Tom (Benson) is being mistreated," and that Benson received "rude treatment" in Baton Rouge at Sunday's Saints-Dolphins game.

Now that's like the pot calling the kettle black.

Funny how Hardberger's moral compass is so skewed. What does he label his own city's treatment of New Orleans regarding the Saints?

I've got new for Phil. The Saints ain't coming to San Antonio permanently. Enough has come out over the last week or so from the NFL powers-that-be to eliminate that possibility. The league doesn't want a team there, no matter how badly he, Tommy Boy, and Red McCombs do.

In fact, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue disapproves of the Hardberger-Benson discussions that apparently have taken place. Tagliabue was quoted as saying, "Under our league policies, owners are not supposed to be talking about re-locating their team during a season. We've got a specific set of guidelines on that. It's a policy that was negotiated with the U.S. conference of mayors, and my assumption is that every owner is complying with the policy."

In any event, it's either New Orleans or Los Angeles, Phil. Deal with it.

Speaking of mistreatment, Saints season ticket holders had to wait outside Tiger Stadium for most of Sunday's Dolphins-Saints game because of poor planning.

One fan was quoted in the Baton Rouge Advocate as saying, "If Tom Benson was serious about what he said in the newspaper, this never would have happened...This seems intentional or a reckless disregard for season-ticket holders."

Some might say that Benson did Saints fans a favor by not allowing them into the stadium. The Saints looked terrible. But I digress.


Check out this link to a breakdown of this weekend's events by Jim Mashek of the Mississippi Sun-Herald, entitled "Benson throws gas on fire." Good stuff.


Want to drop me a line? Email me at