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...BUSH MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE IN BLACK AND GOLD
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...