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, May 17, 2006

54,969: Saints set franchise record for season ticket sales...and it's only May!

In a stunning show of support from the Saints fan base, the team announced today that a franchise record for season ticket sales has been set.

The new record? 54,969. That surpasses the old record of 53,728 set in August of 2003.

It also shows that this record number of season tickets has been snatched up three months before the old record was set. Rumors indicate that there may not be any single game tickets available this season. And...could a season ticket waiting list actually come into existence?

How's that sound, San Antonio?

It's unbelievable support by any stretch, and garnered much-deserved praise from Saints' brass (see below)

One minor problem I had with the reaction was that Tom Benson said he was "very disappointed" with the sales of corporate suites to businesses, which at the moment is at 81 of 137 so far. But there's still a lot of time to go, and I wish Benson would have more encouraging words to offer after such amazing sales news.

Otherwise, big-time kudos to him and Rita Benson LeBlanc, who both offered great comments such as:
"I want to thank the devoted and loyal fans who have shown tremendous support for the New Orleans Saints. This is a great day for the Saints and the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana.

"To sell a record number of tickets four months before our first game is unbelievable."

"It's truly inspirational to see these fans rally around the team and the city."
Looking forward to this season...


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Sunday, May 14, 2006

NY Times: No NFL in L.A. until 2010 or 2011; Chargers in the lead if relocation is utilized; Bush makes first appearance in black and gold

The New York Times has a great and somewhat encouraging article by Judy Battista today entitled "N.F.L. Considers Its Options in Los Angeles." The link features a grand artistic rendering of the future L.A. Coliseum if the league accepts the stadium's plans for reconstruction within the present structure.

Of more interesting notes relative to the Saints, Battista reports there won't be a team in Los Angeles for at least another four years, with a first entry made in 2010 or 2011. To quote from the article's second paragraph, "The red carpet will not be rolled out for professional football in Southern California for at least another four years..."

That's great news for Saints fans who are worried that the team may bolt west. If L.A. is the lone spot where relocation will occur, then it's apparent New Orleans could will be given an opportunity to rebuild and show its support of the Saints for longer than this year.

Speaking of bolts, the article also reports that if relocation is utilized to fill the NFL void in the City of Angels, the current frontrunner is the San Diego Chargers, not the New Orleans Saints.

Battista quotes stadium sports consultant Marc Ganis to state: "If the Chargers cannot find a new stadium site within San Diego County by the end of the year, they will become the most likely team to move to Los Angeles, Ganis said." And, the article notes, the Chargers franchise roots actually are in Los Angeles, where it started as a member of the American Football League.

Of course, the article also mentions the Saints and Vikings as other possible relocation targets. The Saints are included for obvious reasons (post-Katrina concerns), and the Vikings are having issues involving a new stadium to replace the Metrodome.

Relocation still is the most likely scenario, for two reasons:
(1) The league currently has 32 teams. Adding an expansion franchise would result in an imbalance and would create chaos to the relatively simple scheduling conducted now.
(2) Perhaps even more importantly, an expansion fee combined with the cost of a stadium in L.A. (the league plans to foot the bill for an L.A. stadium) could cost owners over $1.5 billion, according to the article above. Relocation would mean spending far less.

So, while the Saints are not yet out of the woods from being moved to L.A., perhaps such a move won't take place for at least four years. And unless the Chargers can pull off another stadium lease in San Diego County in the next seven months, they'll take the pole position in the drive to the Coliseum.

Of course, there exists the possibility that we'll hear rumblings that the Saints got Reggie Bush because he's an L.A. guy who played college ball in the Coliseum, and that they're spending the money to sign him to give the team more value before a sale to L.A. investors. But that's all unsubstantiated speculation. The Saints are New Orleans' team, and Louisiana's team, and evidence indicates that the selection of Bush is going to bolster support for the team like never before - making it practically impossible to move the team anywhere.

But I digress...

Enough talk about possible relocation to L.A. Let's see a sight for sore eyes:

Notice a couple of things here:
(1) Bush's ankles are stronger than mine.
(2) Does he prefer Nike to Adidas, which he is sponsoring?

Other than those minor observations, it's an exciting and almost unbelievable photo: Reggie Bush in black and gold.

I think he's going to be stunned by the crowd reaction to him in his first home game in the Superdome...


Monday, May 08, 2006

Benson as born-again New Orleanian?

Having said and done a lot of the right things since the intervention of NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Saints owner Tom Benson is being lauded.

This terrific AP piece by Brett Martel on the WWL-TV web site, entitled "Benson as born-again New Orleanian?", gives praise to Benson for truly bringing FAITH back to Saints fans in Louisiana. Give it a read.

Again, I'll join in and give a big pat on the back of ole Tommy Boy. He just might have seen the light. And the Saints just might be staying put after all.


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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bush thanks N.O. for support in T-P ad

In a move similar to that of Drew Brees some months ago, newly-drafted Saints tailback Reggie Bush (I love writing that) took out an ad in the Times-Picayune this week to thank the city of New Orleans for the tremendous support it has shown him since being drafted.

The ad's text reads as follows:
"THANK YOU NEW ORLEANS. The welcome and support that I have received from the organization, the City of New Orleans, and the entire Saints community has been amazing. I am both excited and ready to do whatever I can to help this team and community move forward. There is a resilient, hopeful, and winning attitude in New Orleans and with the Saints, that is contagious. I'm looking forward to an amazing career in New Orleans.

Reggie Bush
New Orleans Saint"
Great job by Reggie to give props to everyone there.

Now, if he can just get signed to a contract so we can all see him in the black and gold...


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Monday, May 01, 2006

Draft reaction, and kudos to Tommy Boy

Wow, what a weekend. What a turn of events. And what a historic day for the Saints.

It all started Friday night, with the Texans' stunning announcement that Mario Williams would be the No. 1 pick in the draft. No offense to Williams, who seems like an incredibly nice and humble guy, but the Texans flat out blew it. Here's to hoping Mario wasn't the direction of the boos both at Radio City in New York and the draft day "party" at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The Texans' brass bears the blame, and should get the boos for deciding to go with a guy with "potential" rather than the highest-graded and most proven draft prospect in NFL history. Houston fans were teased with Vince Young and Reggie Bush for months. After a grueling 2-14 campaign, don't Texans supporters deserve better than an end that got sacks in just 16 of 36 games?

Oh well. It all spells sweetness for New Orleans, which happily accepted Houston's gift of Reggie Bush as the No. 2 selection.

And here's one you won't see often on this site - a congratulatory kudos to Saints owner Tom Benson. Tommy Boy, you've taken some pretty bone-headed stances over the last couple of years, but when given the opportunity to draft someone of Bush's caliber, you told your guys to make it happen. Saints fans haven't been this excited since the playoff win over the Rams six years ago. You gave Saints fans a reason to believe and to buy season tickets. From what I've heard, they're going to be selling like hot cakes.

The pick also gives fans a reason to have FAITH that you do intend to keep the Saints in New Orleans. When presented an opportunity to trade down and get someone at a lower price, you rejected it and went with the more expensive - and right - move for the Saints, their fans, and the city of New Orleans. The team will be better just for having such a tremendous offensive weapon in its arsenal. The fans, who have been through so much, are thrilled with their team's potential. And the Superdome will be packed every Sunday this fall, providing a boost to New Orleans' economy.

So Tom Benson, I say great job. Keep up the good work, and keep fighting the good fight. Because you won't see passion from fans anywhere else in the country like you saw Saturday afternoon when Reggie Bush donned the fleur-de-lis for the first time, and when he made his first appearance in Metairie.

The Reggie Bush Pick may well be remembered as the moment that truly saved the Saints from relocation. And, with a little help from Houston, Tommy Boy made it happen.


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