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

Friday, September 29, 2006

Saints on in L.A. for third week out of four

Well, if the conspiracy is that the league is trying to build interest for the Saints in the Los Angeles market, the television broadcasts are helping support the theory.

For the third week out of four, viewers in Los Angeles will be watching the Saints.

Almost as if they were L.A.'s home team.

In week one, the FOX affiliate there, KTTV, showed the Saints-Browns season opener. But in week two, KTTV opted to show the Giants-Eagles game instead of the Saints-Packers matchup. But it was the only affiliate in the country that had the option between those two games.

Then, in week three, the entire country (L.A. included, of course) watched the Saints on ESPN's Monday Night Football.

Now, in week four, it's Saints versus Panthers - and it's on in L.A. on KTTV.

Here's a map, courtesy of, showing the television markets for the FOX game this Sunday:

Notice that the California-based San Francisco 49ers are playing a game at the same time as the Saints. So are the nearby Arizona Cardinals (and former USC QB Matt Leinart). Yet the Saints somehow get top billing in southern California.

I guess the fans there get to see Trojan hero Reggie Bush nearly every week - and maybe that's all that should be read into this.

But what if it's the NFL trying to help start establishing a fan base for the city's future franchise?

For the record, I don't think the Saints will be moving away from New Orleans until 2010, unless something goes drastically wrong over the next several months. But if they do leave, they are going to L.A., not San Antonio. The NFL would have it that way.

Forgive me for what may seem like paranoia, but we need to stay as aware as possible of the ongoings outside of New Orleans to ensure the Saints remain IN New Orleans, where they belong.

To be continued...


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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Post-MNF reaction; San Antonio apology?; Jags in lead for L.A. race?

It's pretty blatantly obvious that there were a ton of stories about the Saints, their future in New Orleans, and so on, over the last several days, given the significance of Monday's game against the Falcons.

Rather than throw a lot of those stories on this page, I felt it would be better to let the focus be where it belongs - the Saints are back in the Superdome, in New Orleans, where they belong.

What a spine-tingling night it was.

Needless to say, you know by know how things went down on Sept. 25. You know the Saints are 3-0.

And you know there was a media blitz for the game Monday. It would be impossible to link every story on the Saints' future that came out over the last week. Most of what was written by pundits and said by talking heads relative to the Saints' future can be summarized as follows:
- It's great that the Saints are back in New Orleans.
- The league wanted this to happen, to give the city its team back and provide an opportunity for the state and the region to show it can support the team for the long haul.
- There is uncertainty over the Saints' future.
- The team will probably have until 2010 to determine whether it can stay or not.

One of the more interesting notes that kept coming up in numerous sources is that, by reports, the team announced early this year that it would stay through its current lease with the state, which expires in 2010.

I still haven't seen that announcement, but there's got to be a reason it's being repeated. Which is a good sign.

Of course, Tom Benson and Kathleen Blanco are going to be talking after the season. And there's still that pesky $61 million exit clause that Tommy Boy can exercise if he so desires.

But I'm thinking after Monday night that there's no way on God's green earth that that happens.

Thank God.

(And Paul Tagliabue.)

One of the more interesting columns I've read about the Saints is linked here. It's a column by Mike Finger, of the San Antonio Express-News, wherein he admits on behalf of his city that it tried to steal the Saints, and that it should be ashamed.

Finger wrote in terms of the guilty conscience of San Antonio for trying to prevent what happened Monday night. Among Finger's words:
"But we, as a city, also tried to steal their football team. And it's about time we stopped denying it."

"In the eyes of many from New Orleans, Phil Hardberger and San Antonio became villains on par with Michael Brown and FEMA. They accused people here of taking advantage of Louisiana's misery, of using a flood to loot a franchise. And you know what? They were at least partly right."

"It's a good thing we failed."
At least someone from San Antonio has gotten it right.

See the previous post on this site (going through a column by the Express-News' Buck Harvey) for evidence that they are still at work to steal the Saints.

Maybe Monday night changed San Antonio's perspective.

Maybe the vultures have had a change of heart.

We shall see.

Another very intriguing piece to come out was this one from the Washington Post, about the viability of the Jaguars franchise in Jacksonville.

With the Saints getting back into New Orleans, and if support can remain strong there, it would seem that Jacksonville may take its place among the leaders for the L.A. race. The others would be San Diego (and its tremendous stadium issues amidst that city's recent corruption) and Oakland (Al Davis may push to go back to L.A.).


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Thursday, September 21, 2006

S.A. Express-News quotes anonymous Benson friend: Saints in S.A. 'this time next year'

(Credit to Ashley Morris for sending me the link below - Thanks Ashley!)

Those vultures in San Antonio can't stop salivating over the Saints.

In today's San Antonio Express-News, columnist Buck Harvey pours cold water all over the feel-good story of the NFL season - the Saints' return to New Orleans this Monday night.

In his column entitled "Uplifting now, Saints still up in air", Harvey expresses that the Saints still could end up in San Antonio after all - perhaps even after this season.

While stating as a fact that the Saints "are still a franchise looking west," Harvey quotes a friend of Tom Benson's to say the following: "I think, this time next year, the Saints will be in San Antonio."

Thanks for that speculation. By the way, the source was not directly named. So, for all intents and purposes, it could be a made-up quote.

(Wouldn't put that past San Antonio's vulturistic sports media, which has rained a lot of hate on New Orleans and Louisiana over the past year.)

Of course, Harvey goes on to discredit the recent news of a full-season Saints sellout in New Orleans by writing, "Buying football tickets is not necessarily something to be proud of."

Gee - wasn't San Antonio spouting off about how its fans could support the Saints more than those in Louisiana after it sold 60,000 tickets to a single game last season? (That was because 30 percent of San Antonio businesses bought the heavily-discounted tickets, and there were also a lot of giveaways - see the quote in this post about tickets being "practically distributed under the wiper blades of parked cars".

I'd submit that buying the tickets, as opposed to giving them away to bolster a false attendance in hopes of stealing another city's NFL franchise, especially when that city is on its knees, is truly nothing to be proud of.

And, shame on Harvey for talking about what should or should not be something to be proud of, when virtually everything San Antonio has done with respect to the Saints has been shameful at best. As such, it's certainly not an authority on the "pride" subject.

But I digress.

Harvey quotes another anonymous San Antonio source to say that "the Saints people told him, long before any of this, not to believe anything they would say publicly about New Orleans," and that, "[i]n short: They had to go back, and they had to play along."

Harvey further writes that the anonymous source further says that he "thinks Benson will return to his original plan. He says, as evidence, you will never hear Benson commit to the future."

Stirring the pot even further, Harvey writes that Tom Benson is in a very sticky situation, writing from a pro-San Antonio perspective as follows: "After all, if Benson thinks New Orleans will take years to recover, and if Benson wants to relocate, wouldn't it have been easier for him if New Orleans fans hadn't responded as they have?"

All in all, it's a nasty piece by Harvey that does yet another in a long line of disservices from San Antonio to New Orleans with regard to the Saints.

Hey, Buck: Paul Tagliabue didn't want an NFL franchise there. I'm pretty sure Roger Goodell wouldn't want one there either. Jerry Jones wouldn't be too crazy about it either, since the Cowboys are training there and have a large mass of supporters there.

And besides, there's that pesky Los Angeles thing hanging out there too.

Here's to assuming that the next NFL relocation isn't to someplace random like San Antonio, but to someplace on everyone's map, like Los Angeles.

Didn't the Florida Marlins just turn San Antonio down as a relocation possibility too?

(Answer: yes.)

I hope Saints fans don't let this garbage get in their way of enjoying the return of their team to their hometown in their sold-out stadium. Hurricane victims will finally get a taste of something spectacular. The world will be watching Monday night on a Super Bowl-esque stage.

And San Antonio will be in the corner, trying to kill the buzz and steal the show.

Like they have the Saints.

Thanks a lot for raining on the makeshift Mardi Gras in a city that needs something to celebrate.

All I have to say is, I hope Earl Hickey is right about karma.


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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

More on Saints' sellout; Question regarding T-P article

An article by Jimmy Smith of the Times-Picayune today reiterated the sellout of the Saints' 2006 season tickets at the Superdome, with new quotes from Tom Benson - and a paragraph of questionable information.

A few more quotes from Tommy Boy were mentioned, and are reproduced below:
"This is news we're very proud of; that the whole community can be proud of. We're officially sold out for the first time in the history of the Saints for the entire season. We're now competing on that basis with places like New York, San Francisco, Chicago. This is just tremendous. People in New York and other places can't hardly believe what the people of this whole area have done."

"I want to thank our fans for making this happen. I'm so proud to be able to make this announcement. I look forward to a great 2006 season."

"I believe what's happened now is a lot of people are living as far away as Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Maybe they lived closer before. I think those people are involved in doing this. I think the people in what I call the Gulf South, they wanted to show the world . . . this is their way of saying, 'We're here. We're alive. We're not sitting back on our butts. We're alive.'"

"It's not just Jefferson Parish or Orleans Parish. We're out now 150, 200 miles with people supporting us. Now we're all one community. It used to be New Orleans against everybody else."

"We're going to show the world. People think we haven't been doing anything down here."
Got to give the man a lot of credit - he's saying all the right things, and whether propped up by the NFL powers-that-be or not, he deserves a pat on the back.

HOWEVER, one paragraph in the Times-Picayune article gave me hesitation - because it's blatantly incorrect. The paragraph reads as follows:

"Tuesday's announcement is the culmination in the resurgence of a franchise that announced in mid-February that it was returning to New Orleans for the duration of its Superdome lease, which runs through 2010."

No such announcement ever took place. No such statement has been made. Trust me, if it had, it would have been trumpeted all over this site - and a lot of others, such as (the most informative Saints site out there).

There would have been no question about the team's commitment to the city, or whether it might relocate after the 2006 season via the lease's revised $61 million exit clause.

Did I miss something? Did we all?

In any event, the sellout news is outstanding, and Monday should be a day for the ages in New Orleans.

Wear your black and gold, and show that united support of the Saints.


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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Saints complete full season sellout - San Antonio, eat your heart out...; Saints having positive impact on N.O. psyches


In the best way imaginable.

On Tuesday, Saints owner Tom Benson announced that the Saints have sold out the Superdome for the entire season. Benson's quotes were thrilling, as he compared the Saints support to New York, Chicago, and San Francisco (presumably during the Montana/Young years). Here are some tidbits:

"We're now competing on that basis with places like New York, San Francisco ... Chicago and other major cities. This is just tremendous. People in New York and other places can't hardly believe what you all have done and people in this whole area have done."

Benson is asking all Saints fans to wear black and gold Monday, and for New Orleans area businesses to let their workers off early to enjoy the festivities around the Superdome - whether or not they have tickets.

It's a great day.

More to come tomorrow...

Here's a link to a great story on how the Saints' return, and 2-0 start, have meant a ton to the New Orleans area.


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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Update: FOX in L.A. NOT showing Saints this weekend

Updating my most previous post, the FOX affiliate in Los Angeles (KTTV) will not be showing Sunday's Saints-Packers game.

Instead, it will air the Giants-Eagles matchup.

So please accept my apologies - I was wrong with my earlier report, at least for what's being aired this weekend.

But I will keep tabs on what L.A.'s FOX affiliate is showing over the rest of the season.


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Monday, September 11, 2006

Saints games being shown on FOX affiliate in L.A.

Interestingly enough, the FOX affiliate in Los Angeles (KTTV) has not been showing the main headliner game offerings this season.

Rather, they have been showing the Saints.

Courtesy of, a map is attached that shows the broadcast areas nationally for the first FOX-broadcast game from this past Sunday. Note the areas that the Saints-Browns game was shown:

The map reveals that the Saints-Browns game was shown in three areas (identified in green) - the New Orleans market, the Cleveland market, and Los Angeles.

Now, in Week 2, the upcoming Saints-Packers game is also slated to be shown in the Los Angeles area, according to this FOX Sports affiliate schedule.

The likely reason for this is that FOX is giving fans in Los Angeles, where Bush played his collegiate career at USC, an opportunity to watch their favorite Trojan son.

Of course, it also could be that the NFL is establishing a fan base there for their future home team, under the guise of letting Trojan fans follow Bush's pro career.

At this point, of course, it's speculative and too early to tell. But the NFL will get a team in L.A. at some point, and if negotiations go poorly after the season between Tom Benson and Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco, the Saints could be the team to fill the L.A. void.

By most recent estimates, the NFL wants a stadium to be operational by 2010 or 2011 at the latest. A team could possibly relocate prior to that if need be. Coincidentally, the Saints' current lease with the state of Louisiana concludes in 2010.

As always, I'll be keeping a close eye on the situation.

And Los Angeles will be keeping a close eye on Reggie Bush and the Saints via their local FOX affiliate.


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Goodell: No guarantee Saints will stay in N.O.

New NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown around 4:30 p.m. CST, being interviewed by Chris Mortensen. Mortensen asked the new commish directly whether there were any guarantees that the Saints would stay in New Orleans for five years into the future.

Goodell's response wasn't encouraging. Initially, he said that there are a lot of good things going on, including Reggie Bush, but upon further inquiry by Mortensen, he stated that there were no guarantees for the Saints to stay put, that there are issues in New Orleans market-wise, and that the league would be looking at them over the next couple of years to assess the viability over the future.

No comments were made about season ticket sales (which are a record-shattering 65,000), or about Tom Benson's positive talk at his press conference earlier this week (text in below post). Also, there were no encouraging words about a desire to stay put.

Did I expect a full 100-percent commitment to New Orleans for the next five years? Not necessarily, but for the aforementioned reasons, it was not an encouraging interview and it puts something of a damper on a big season-opening win over Cleveland.

I don't have exact quotes, but will try to get them and post them once I get them.



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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Full text of Benson press conference

The following is copied verbatim from


The full text of remarks made by Saints Owner Tom Benson at a press conference at the Saints facility in Metairie on Tuesday afternoon:

Welcome and thank you for coming today. Today I am pleased to have nothing but positive news to report.

As we get ready for opening weekend of the 2006 NFL regular season this weekend, I wanted to make myself available to talk about this upcoming season and to THANK our fans for their loyal support.

There are so many negative stories one year after Hurricane Katrina, that I felt compelled to come out today to talk about a positive story...our team and our fans and their support of this team as we start the 2006 campaign.

To date, we have sold 65,000 season tickets and we only have a little more than 3,000 left. That is a positive story.

At the pace in which we have been going, it will be a certainty that when we open our regular season home schedule on September 25, we will not have any tickets left to sell, in other words, we will be sold out for the entire season.

This is the first time in the team's history that this has happened. And all of the credit goes to the fans of this team. That is a positive story.

Also, I am pleased to report that the sale of our box suites has increased and the activity in that area has been very positive. Of 137 suites, we only have 37 left to sell...

As I stated some months ago, we understand the tough times that face the many businesses here so it is important that we thank those companies that have stepped up thus far...I promise those companies that they are in for an exciting year.

In addition, we have all seen the progress being done on the Superdome to get ready to host this game on September 25, as I stated in Shreveport, we need to thank Governor Blanco for her support in making this happen.

We have spoken so often about the return of football to the Superdome and what this will symbolize, but we do not need to look any further than the resolve of our fans in this community and the way they have rallied around our team.

There will be many stories that week when we return to the Superdome, the return of football to the city, the reopening of the Dome, but I think the real story is our fans, the people who have lived through this terrible tragedy and their return to the Superdome as well in record numbers...That is the positive story.

As I said earlier, it will be a shame to not be in that number and be part of history, we have recently made history here in this city for some not so great things, but I think this is a start to something good in our city...the Saints have been working both on and off the field to improve, we have been working hard in our community...

As I speak to you today...our running back Reggie Bush is at it again along with a host of other players, donating four tons of food downtown to nearly 800 needy families.

These are the special things that mean so much to me as the Owner of this team...the fact that when we host the Falcons on September 25, we will have more than 500 media outlets here covering the game from Japan to London and from Los Angeles to New York...unprecedented coverage of our city and our team at a time when people need to be reminded...and I think this will be a shining example of something very, very positive as they see a sold out Superdome...

Looking back, we have had a great training camp in Jackson, Mississippi and we hosted two preseason games in Jackson and Shreveport and the crowds were tremendous and the energy was fantastic...

We all look forward to that same energy in the Superdome this year, we do not want an empty seat, we have all heard about the 12th man at Texas A&M and in Seattle, but there is no comparison to the 12th man in the Superdome, so we encourage everyone to use their tickets or make sure they get used.

We have made many changes to our roster recently and I am like many of you, still learning these players, but I do know that I like what I have seen from Mickey and Sean and I look forward to opening this season this weekend in Cleveland and than back here in late September.

Thank you.


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Benson: 65,000 season tickets sold, only 3,300 left; Benson to meet with Blanco after season regarding extending lease

Saints owner Tom Benson held an impromptu press conference yesterday afternoon outside Saints headquarters in Metairie to announce that the team has sold a record-shattering 65,000 season tickets, leaving 3,300 remaining for the upcoming 2006 campaign. Plus, a total of 100 suites have been sold, leaving only 37 remaining.

Benson also stated that he expects to meet with Governor Kathleen Blanco after the upcoming season about extending the Saints' lease in the Superdome past 2010.

Also, he spoke in terms of "our community" and about how important the Saints are to Louisiana.

And, he showered local support with praise - which is a complete 180 from what he was doing during the summer of 2005 (pre-Katrina).

Thus far I've read two articles on the very positive announcement, with the MSNBC piece having many more quotes from Benson:

Below is a compilation of Benson's quotes gleaned from the above articles:

"This is unprecedented. This is the start of something good, real good -- maybe even something great."

"There are so many negative stories one year after Katrina, so I felt compelled to come out and talk about a positive story. We have spoken so often about the return of football in the Superdome and what that symbolizes. You do not need to look any further than the resolve of fans and businesses and the way they have rallied around our team."

"As they see this worldwide, then I think this is really the rebirth of everything that’s going to be good for our community."

"They think we’re going to have a good football team and they’re going to show the world we’re here, we’re back and we’re doing things."

"The governor’s been well informed of what’s been going on and she’s been very supportive of the Saints. Everybody in this state, including her, feel like we’ve felt a long time (about) how important the Saints are to our state."

"The storm affected every business in the Gulf South, but the Saints have been a leader in rebuilding the city. We're doing it. That's what everybody has to do."

"I think our commitment to New Orleans and the Gulf South has been there, and I like what I see of the commitment in return."

"There will be many stories that week about the Saints returning to New Orleans and the re-opening of the Dome. But the real story is the fans, the people that lived through this terrible tragedy and returned to the Superdome in record numbers."
I must say this, but I am thrilled with Benson's comments - it almost sounds like Paul Tagliabue in a Tom Benson mask. But if Tommy Boy has "seen the light", even if he's done so under the guidance of Saint Tags, Saints fans are all the better for it.

Other information that came from yesterday's news:

- Multiple businesses have been teaming up to buy single suites in the Superdome.
- Benson said he envisions the Saints being similar to Green Bay in that he wants to draw a regional fan base.
- Five hundred media outlets from around the world - with 1,000 media credentials issued - are expected to be present for the Saints' home re-opener against the Falcons on Monday Night Football.
- The Superdome's seating capacity will be 68,354.
- The team recently entered into a "major sponsorship deal" with Chevrolet Motor Company.

Great news for the long-term future of New Orleans...Now, I hope everyone who bought a ticket makes it to the games...


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