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NFL expects Superdome to host regular-season games

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; NEW ORLEANS -- NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said during a visit to New Orleans on Wednesday that he expects the Louisiana Superdome to host all of the Saints' regular-season home games next season. Tagliabue also sought to reassure the community ...

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Old 01-11-2006, 05:23 PM   #1
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NFL expects Superdome to host regular-season games

NEW ORLEANS -- NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said during a visit to New Orleans on Wednesday that he expects the Louisiana Superdome to host all of the Saints' regular-season home games next season.

Tagliabue also sought to reassure the community that the NFL is not simply moving the Saints back to New Orleans for a single season as a public relations move meant to portray the league as sympathetic to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The commissioner said it was clear to him that Saints owner Tom Benson plans to remain in New Orleans beyond 2006. He added that the NFL was even beginning discussions with local leaders about when New Orleans might be ready to host its next Super Bowl, which would be the city's 10th.

"Mr. Benson already has committed beyond 2006. He's made it clear this is not just for one season. It's a multiyear effort," Tagliabue said as Benson stood alongside him. "The commitment is unequivocal."

The Superdome is not expected to be ready to host football until mid-September, but Benson said he is intent on playing both of the Saints' home preseason games at other venues in Louisiana.

Tagliabue, making his fourth visit to the state since Hurricane Katrina, called the progress he has seen in the metro area "palpable."

"This is in many ways a real turning point in the recovery and the rebuilding effort and the Saints' contribution to all that," said Tagliabue, who met with Convention & Visitor's Bureau officials and dined with business leaders at the French Quarter landmark Galatoire's on Tuesday night. "We've been reading about other restaurants, other things opening up, energy coming back, and talking to other real estate people. ... It's very clear we're gaining momentum."

Those were encouraging words for a community that had been all but convinced it was about to lose its affiliation with the NFL since Katrina struck.

Local anxiety over the team's future was present even before Katrina, when Benson started criticizing New Orleans for being a small market and calling the Superdome an outdated NFL facility. Shortly after the storm forced the team to temporarily relocate to San Antonio, leaders there said they were working with Benson to keep the team in Texas permanently. Benson then fired an executive who favored returning to Louisiana and briefly sought to cancel the lease at his training headquarters in suburban New Orleans, which was used by federal agencies as a relief base.

Benson never said publicly that he wanted to move the team permanently out of New Orleans, saying only that the storm damage to the city made his team's future there uncertain. He remained noncommittal for about four months until he returned shortly before New Year's Eve to announce the team was coming back to its headquarters this month. Some players have already returned to area homes and have begun working out. The Saints have also conducted interviews with prospective new coaches in New Orleans.

Many local leaders have said Benson should have committed to New Orleans much sooner, but Tagliabue defended the Saints owner.

"There are a heck of a lot of other businesses still in the process of trying to reach conclusions on many of the same subjects that [Benson] has reached conclusions on, including availability of housing for employees and availability of services for their families, so I don't accept the idea it was very long," Tagliabue said. "To me it was a tight timeline."

Benson said he is committed to New Orleans "forever, as long as the community commits to me."

"I've lived here a long time," Benson continued, alluding to threats of the Saints moving out of Louisiana before he bought the team two decades ago. "When I bought the club ... it wasn't that I was in love with football. It was the fact that I was in love with New Orleans, Louisiana. [That was] the reason I bought this team in 1985 and that's true today."

Meanwhile, the NFL is working on plans to further promote the league's involvement in the rebuilding of New Orleans next season. Ideas include a kickoff concert in New Orleans leading up to the prime-time season-opening game at the home of this season's eventual Super Bowl champion. The NFL is also looking at a New Year's Eve Saints home game on the last weekend of the regular season.

Benson said he is urging Tagliabue to work on putting as many Saints home games as possible, including preseason games, on national television as a way to promote the progress of the south Louisiana's recovery.

"That really shows what we're trying to do back here in Louisiana," Benson said. "And maybe that will help us bring some more people back so we can have more fans than we have now and more businesses."
Paul Tagliabue is my new favorite person
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:04 PM   #2
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"Mr. Benson already has committed beyond 2006. He's made it clear this is not just for one season. It's a multiyear effort,"

If true this is very good news for the ppl. of N.O, the ppl of Louisiana and all of the fans, hopefully this is a sign of good things to in the future to come.
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Old 01-11-2006, 06:45 PM   #3
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Mr Benson i think your out of the fox hole if you pull this off.
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Old 01-11-2006, 07:05 PM   #4
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Don't let up guys on the e-mails, letters and phone calls to everyone who will listen. I send to the e-mail group at least once a week. Now is the time to kick it into gear and make sure that we get something in writing even before the 2006 season starts.
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Old 01-12-2006, 04:49 AM   #5
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In your opinions, (you locals anyway) just how feasible is it to believe the Superdome can be brought back up to snuff prior to the season starting.

Wouldn't it be more practical to just build another stadium for football only as so many other teams in the league have done?
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Old 01-12-2006, 08:10 AM   #6
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Re: NFL expects Superdome to host regular-season games

The Superdome is not expected to be ready to host football until mid-September, but Benson said he is intent on playing both of the Saints' home preseason games at other venues in Louisiana.

Excellent PR move. What better way to market the team to the rest of the state/region, and, yet keep the team in New Orleans, than to hold the preseason games in other cities. The two "home" preseason games could be rotated each year between some of the major cities in the state and region. This would be taking the traditional "Black and Gold" games to the next level. Think about it, New Orleans wouldn't be losing out on much because they are just preseason games, but the fans and cities in other areas would have a great deal to gain by attracting more fans and by helping them get to know the team on a more personal level. By doing this you also increase the chances that the fans will eventually travel to NO to watch regular season games. Now, that's marketing the team.
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Old 01-12-2006, 08:18 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by leilung
In your opinions, (you locals anyway) just how feasible is it to believe the Superdome can be brought back up to snuff prior to the season starting.
Without knowing the full extent and detail of the damage to the dome, it's hard to venture a guess as to when it'll be ready for play.
I live in Pensacola, FL. Our city hall was heavily damagedby Ivan in Sept 04. The repair/reconstruction of it Might be done by April of 06.''

If there's not a lot structural damage to the dome, I don't see why it couldn't be done by September.
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Old 01-12-2006, 12:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by fhotard
Originally Posted by leilung
In your opinions, (you locals anyway) just how feasible is it to believe the Superdome can be brought back up to snuff prior to the season starting.
Without knowing the full extent and detail of the damage to the dome, it's hard to venture a guess as to when it'll be ready for play.
I live in Pensacola, FL. Our city hall was heavily damagedby Ivan in Sept 04. The repair/reconstruction of it Might be done by April of 06.''

If there's not a lot structural damage to the dome, I don't see why it couldn't be done by September.

There isn't any structural damage. Mostly the interior needs to be completely re worked, broken glass etc. The thing is made of metal and concrete, you'd need a nuke to shake it badly.

I think this is some big big news. For the moment, the Saints are back in N.O. big time.

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