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, March 23, 2006

Outstanding T-P editorial lauds Tagliabue

The Times-Picayune's editorial page today features a terrific read, entitled Thank you, Mr. Tagliabue. It's an absolute must-read.

The editorial notes that because of the efforts of outgoing NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, the Saints will play a full schedule of games in New Orleans in 2006, a concert and fan experience will be held there on the season-opening weekend this fall, a New Year's Eve game is planned, and an NFL owners meeting will take place there this fall.

It also states that Tagliabue "has committed to remain involved in the Saints return to New Orleans and the metro area's recovery."

Which is the best news of all, and a tremendous cap to a very well-run tenure as NFL commish.


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Monday, March 20, 2006

Tags steps down, Benson responds, what's next?; Kudos to Brees for T-P ad

As expected, highly respected NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced today that he is retiring from the position, effective at the end of July.

Tagliabue, who served as commissioner for over 16 years, will remain on board with the league through May 2008 in an advisory role for his successor.

Saints owner Tom Benson released a statement shortly after the announcement, which reads as follows:
"Paul and I have worked for many years on many critical issues that have faced our league and he has been a tremendous asset to our league and the direction we have taken. We have experienced very positive growth in the area of revenue sharing and broadcast contracts, we have secured long-term labor peace and have also even encountered some of the worst of times following 9/11, but through it all Paul has been a leader, a friend and a voice that many others within our league and other leagues have followed."
Interestingly, there is no mention of Hurricane Katrina in Benson's statement. But I find little to fault in that. Perhaps "the worst of times following 9/11" is meant to encompass many things, including the war in Iraq as well as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

In any event, Tagliabue has been by far the most ardent supporter of the Saints' remaining in New Orleans post-Katrina. In fact, without Tagliabue's work, the Saints would be in San Antonio at this very moment.

It is of vital importance to restate that though Tagliabue is retiring from his role as commish, he will stay on board as an advisor through May 2008. The Saints' current agreement with Louisiana can be revoked by Benson after the upcoming season. If Tagliabue's words of a long-term commitment to New Orleans are to be seen to fruition, it is key that he remains in a position of influence through 2007.

Granted, the level of influence he will possess is unknown. However, even given that uncertainty, I cannot imagine an owner trying to bully through something as controversial (they always are) as a franchise relocation in the new NFL commissioner's inaugural year.

(Of course, I didn't think Benson would try to sweet-talk San Antonio as a permanent stay for the Saints in the weeks following Katrina. Stranger things have happened...)


Many kudos to new Saints QB Drew Brees for taking out a half-page advertisement in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, thanking the city for providing him and his wife Brittany with such a stirring welcome.

The ad, attached on the right (courtesy of's message boards), has a headline in bold that says, "We're proud to call New Orleans home" and reads as follows:
"My wife Brittany and I would like to thank the New Orleans Saints and Saints fans across the entire community for their support and well-wishes during our visit. New Orleans is now our home and everyone has welcomed us with open arms. We will work hard with the entire Saints organization to give this city the winner it deserves. Thanks again and Go Saints!"
Sports Illustrated's Peter King even referenced the message board site (though not expressly by name) in relaying Saints' fans admiration and gratitude for Brees. In King's Monday Morning Quarterback, in a section entitled "Nice Guy Gesture of the Week," King reports that some posters were so grateful for the ad, they were trying to collect money to send to Brees to cover the ad's costs.

Fans like these don't just deserve a winner; they deserve a firm commitment from Benson (and the next NFL commish) to keep the team where it belongs.


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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Saints season tix sales up 600 percent, could go up with addition of Brees

According to this article on, Saints season ticket sales are up a whopping 600 percent over the same time a year ago.

That's right, sports fans. Six hundred percent.

It's a solid signal to the NFL brass that the Saints will be supported in New Orleans.

These sales could increase with the addition of sought-after free agent quarterback Drew Brees, who said the following at his introductory press conference as a Saint:
"I think people in the rest of the country that haven't been here, and I was one of those people. I think you just assume that much of the area was devastated, and I think you just kind of have this picture in your mind of what it looked like. (But I saw) the city is very alive, and you've got a lot of great citizens of New Orleans that are very committed to rebuilding the city and that are just so excited about Saints football."
Reportedly, even Tom Benson was elated with the signing of Brees - at the tune of $60 million for six years. Perhaps ole Tommy Boy has turned a corner?

Well, let's just wait and watch, shall we...


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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tagliabue future could impact Saints

One of the more intriguing aspects of the recent labor dispute and resolution in the NFL this week is this story by Don Banks of Sports Illustrated. In it, Banks states that the agreement reached between NFL owners and the NFLPA could signal the end of the Paul Tagliabue era of the league.

As Tagliabue was an instrumental part of bringing the two sides together and getting to a deal, it could be his crowning achievement at the end of a long and fruitful career.

And, it could mean the end of the Saints in New Orleans.

You see, Tagliabue has been the Crescent City's biggest ally in the Saints debacle. Without him, we'd be talking about the San Antonio Saints right now.

Tagliabue was also the one who dedicated the NFL to re-establishing the Saints in New Orleans long-term. It seems to be one of his more passionate causes in the league today.

But all that could be washed away if Tagliabue decides to step down as commissioner. Without his support, the Saints could be on the way out of New Orleans before the end of the decade.

It's definitely worth keeping an eye on.

As always, we shall see how this turns out...


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Friday, March 03, 2006

Saints ticket sales going well; Feds to chip in for Superdome repairs; All for naught?

In my first update to this site in a month (if anyone's still reading!), it's great to see that Saints season ticket sales are doing well and earning praises from the front office brass.

I also thought it was interesting to see the US government will be contributing $91 million to the reconstruction costs of the Superdome. I'm probably behind the ball on both of these positive developments.

Of course, just as things are starting to take a positive turn, the NFL labor dispute is rearing its ugly head. It was slightly encouraging to see the Thursday deadline pushed back to Sunday night. Will the owners and NFLPA be able to reach an agreement, or will they decapitate the golden goose that has made the NFL the success it is? This situation, especially the revenue sharing issue, will impact the Saints' situation more than anything else at this point.

That gorilla in a china closet aside, there are a couple of things I can see the team doing in coming weeks:
(a) I think the team will cut, among others, Aaron Brooks. This is because I'm pretty sure they'll be taking a QB in the draft.
(b) Unless he screws up, Matt Leinart is going to be a big-money NFL ad guy. Having said that, I'm not so sure the Saints will take him at No. 2. I could see them picking Jay Cutler because of the hype that has enveloped him, and because it could cost the team less to sign him than it would for Leinart. I somehow see Leinart getting reunited with Norm Chow, and joining another coach with USC ties in Jeff Fisher, in Tennessee. Just a hunch.

In the meantime, let's all just watch whether the NFL powers-that-be will come to their senses or not in this labor debacle.


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