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NFL Tagliabue Playing Santa For New Orleans Saints Fans

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; A meeting was held yesterday at NFL headquarters in New York with Saints owner Tom Benson, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and a committee of other owners. The purpose was to discuss the Saints operations in Louisiana. In the meeting, Benson ...

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Old 12-21-2005, 02:29 PM   #1
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NFL Tagliabue Playing Santa For New Orleans Saints Fans

A meeting was held yesterday at NFL headquarters in New York with Saints owner Tom Benson, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and a committee of other owners. The purpose was to discuss the Saints operations in Louisiana. In the meeting, Benson likely described the destruction the community suffered and his view that the city is ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬à …â€œunlivable.âà ¢â€šÂ¬? He surely continued to make his case for the team to move to San Antonio. On the other hand, the NFL Commissioner likely made his case for the team to remain in Louisiana at least in 2006, which is the point at which the whole situation can then be reevaluated.



The New Orleans area will likely be given one more chance to show the league and the Saints owner that there is sufficient support in the local community for the team. This timetable will allow the Superdome to be repaired and the team to play at least some of their games back in New Orleans.



Next year, it will be crucial for the team to play some games at the Dome. It is the home of the team and the place where the majority of Saints fans will come to support the team. This year, Tiger Stadium has been an adequate home to the team, but Baton Rouge has always been and will always be LSU country. Neither of the New Orleans professional teams has done well in attracting fans in Baton Rouge. It is unfortunate that more local fans in Baton Rouge did not take advantage of the Saints and Hornets playing in the community, but, for whatever reasonââ‚ ¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚¬?hurricane or lack of interest, the support level has been very weak. The Saints had 60,000 fans at the first game in Tiger Stadium, but then just over 30,000 attended the next three. This does not compare favorably to San Antonio, which packed many more fans into their stadium. Also, the Hornets have played two games so far this year in Baton Rouge and the attendance was just over 7,000, less than half of what the team has been averaging in Oklahoma City.



So, next year, it is vital for both teams to return to New Orleans and play at least some of their games in their home arenas. Luckily, the Saints have the NFL Commissioner, a cadre of owners and the playersâ₠¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ union on their side. Tom Benson has the Mayor of San Antonio, the majority of the Saints players and his loyal staff on his side. Likely, the side of justice and fairness will prevail and the team will be playing games in the Pelican state in 2006. In addition, in another sign that the league wants the team to stay in Louisiana for 2006, the NFL will likely contribute funding to make the team financially sound next season.



In 2006, lets also hope the team not only plays most if not all of their games in Louisiana, but that they take advantage of a first class practice facility in Metairie. Although Benson reportedly told the team that FEMA and the National Guard had taken over the facility, in reality, the camp is sitting idle and is ready for the Saints next year. It would be crazy if the team bases its operations and practices in San Antonio next year. 2006 should be the year that the Saints play exclusively in Louisiana, which will give local fans one last chance to save their team. However, it will be critical for attendance to improve because if the team generates the same type of fan support next year as it did this year in Baton Rouge, we can surely wave goodbye to the New Orleans Saints.

http://www.bayoubuzz.com/articles.aspx?aid=5788

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