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  • Saints won't play home games in rivals' stadiums

    Saints won't play division home games on rivals' turf
    Pasquarelli
    By Len Pasquarelli
    ESPN.com

    The New Orleans Saints have been assured by the NFL that they will not play any of their divisional home contests in the stadiums of their NFC South rivals.

    Beyond that, though, there are no certainties.

    Jim Haslett has characterized his team as being "behind the eight ball" because of the league's decision to have his displaced club play its "home" opener at Giants Stadium on Sept. 19. And there remains a chance that New Orleans will play at least one more scheduled home game, most likely the Oct. 2 matchup with the Buffalo Bills, in its opponent's stadium.

    The Saints are scheduled for home games with the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 10, the Tampa Bay Bucs on Dec. 4 and the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 18. Having to play their divisional rivals twice on the road would place the Saints at a monumental disadvantage as the club strives to qualify for a playoff spot for the first time since the 2000 season.

    A decision on the site or sites for New Orleans' remaining home games, which ultimately will be made by the league, probably will not come before next week. The Saints open the season at Carolina on Sunday and then face the Giants in a Monday night contest on Sept. 19, a game the team had hoped the NFL would schedule for the previous Saturday.

    Team and league officials continued on Wednesday to sort through the options and to come to grips on the logistics involved in whatever decision is made. Most observers feel that the team will play some home games in Baton Rouge and some in San Antonio.

    On Tuesday, owner Tom Benson said in a statement that he had expressed to the league his "desire to ... play games in Baton Rouge, La., to the extent circumstances allow." The last part of the statement is significant because conditions may not allow the Saints to play anytime soon at LSU's Tiger Stadium, given that Baton Rouge remains a major staging area for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

    ESPN.com reported Monday that, their public stance aside, Saints officials preferred to play at the Alamodome in San Antonio. That is certainly the preference of players, too.

    Because of the influx of evacuees, LSU was forced to move its home game scheduled Saturday against Arizona State to Tempe, Ariz. Athletic director Skip Bertman cited the continuing relief efforts, the crowded situation in Baton Rouge and the fact there is no hotel space at present to house a visiting team. The same circumstances, at least for now, apply to the Saints as well.

    Bertman has said he is open to having the Saints play in Baton Rouge, but expects the club to pay rent and other fees, which he estimated at about $300,000 per game.

    Said Bertman: "We'll do everything we can to be good Louisiana citizens, [to] extend a great invitation. But we cant expect LSU fans ... to subsidize any Saints activity."

    Efforts continued in San Antonio, meanwhile, to put in place an incentives package that would guarantee sellouts at the Alamodome for any Saints games played there. One of the key individuals in that effort is former Minnesota Vikings owner Red McCombs, a longtime San Antonio resident who sold his NFL franchise this spring.

    Assistant city manager Roland Lozano confirmed to the San Antonio News-Express that negotiations with the Saints are ongoing.

    "We have been discussing with the Saints the potential of either one game, or a number of games, at [the Alamodome]," Lozano told the paper. "We don't know how many games yet and the Saints aren't sure, either."

    Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.

  • #2
    Fact is so far the Giants and Bills are both getting an extra home game. If you're in their division, or even their conference, that's B.S.

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    • #3
      possibility of 2 Saints games being played at the Alamodome. There was going to be a convention going on, but its been moved which gives speculation. no confirmation yet though. i just wish the NFL would say soon where they're going to play all their games. its not fair to their game or to their mind to let them sit around wondering like this

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      • #4
        Why don't they play on neutral turf?
        Official Lounge Sponsor of:
        Brett Hull & St. Patricks Day

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BlueBrained@Sep 8 2005, 05:10 PM
          Why don't they play on neutral turf?

          Not enough $$$ for the NFL.
          Make America Great For Once.

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          • #6
            there's as much red tape in this decision as there was moving the evacuees

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Kev+Sep 8 2005, 06:13 PM-->
              QUOTE(The Kev @ Sep 8 2005, 06:13 PM)

            • #8
              As Ed Werder just noted....

              The players want to play in SA and have told Gene Upshaw, NFLPA head, the same; higher-ups wanna play in SA...

              The league is worried, according to Werder, that if they give approval to Benson to play in SA, that Benson would view it as tacit approval of permanently keeping them there...

              Tough decision to make...

              "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
              Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
              -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

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              • #9
                I heard today that it's going to cost around $100 million to fix the Super Dome and not all of that $ is for fixing the structure itself. Apparently, inside is a cesspool that will take several million to clean up. Just imagine, a few thousand people with no working plumbing. It's gotta be unbearable in there and probably a hazmat site.

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                • #10
                  Originally posted by Damon@Sep 8 2005, 04:23 PM
                  I heard today that it's going to cost around $100 million to fix the Super Dome and not all of that $ is for fixing the structure itself. Apparently, inside is a cesspool that will take several million to clean up. Just imagine, a few thousand people with no working plumbing. It's gotta be unbearable in there and probably a hazmat site.
                  no one in their right mind would fix the superdome. its like getting into a car accident with a lemon, its so destroyed in such an unbelievable way, you knock it down and start over.

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                  • #11
                    SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- A deal is close that would move four of the New Orleans Saints' home games to the Alamodome, according to a published report.

                    The San Antonio Express-News, citing unidentified sources close to the negotiations, said Friday that city and Saints officials have nearly completed a deal to bring four games to the city.

                    A high-ranking city official said the NFL hasn't signed off on the deal, but other city government sources told the newspaper they didn't expect any problems gaining approval from league commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

                    The Saints have set up makeshift headquarters and are practicing in San Antonio because of the hurricane damage to the Louisiana Superdome. They have said they would prefer to play their home games at LSU in Baton Rouge. The newspaper said the plan being discussed also would move three Saints' home games to LSU's Tiger Stadium.

                    The newspaper said an announcement on an agreement could come as early as Friday.

                    "I'm not aware that an agreement has been reached," NFL spokesman Joe Browne told The Associated Press. "The scheduling of games needs approval of the commissioner."

                    B.J. "Red" McCombs, a San Antonio businessman and former Minnesota Vikings owner, has helped facilitate talks between the city and the Saints.

                    "It looks a little better every day," McCombs said.

                    The newspaper said likely games to be moved to San Antonio are Oct. 2 against Buffalo, Oct. 16 against Atlanta; Dec. 4 against Tampa Bay and Dec. 24 against Detroit. The Oct. 2 date opened after the Builder's Showcase Expo at the Alamodome agreed to reschedule, dome director Mike Abington said.

                    The newspaper said the projected dates for Baton Rouge are Oct. 30 against Miami, Nov. 6 against Chicago and Dec. 18 against Carolina.

                    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

                    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
                    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
                    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

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