The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Monday, October 17, 2005

I Guess We're Going For It

Looks like we're gonna be making a massive public push to have the Saints relocate here permanently:

Laying aside all pretenses about the city's interest in the New Orleans Saints, Mayor Phil Hardberger said Sunday he plans to pursue actively the permanent relocation of the team to San Antonio.

Hardberger said Saints owner Tom Benson has agreed to participate in discussions, likely at the end of the current season, aimed at making the team the "San Antonio Saints" before the start of the 2006 season.

"He (Benson) understands that we will sit down and talk," Hardberger said while attending Sunday's Saints-Atlanta Falcons game at the Alamodome. "That is his desire as well. I'm pretty comfortable in saying he wants to be here."

"I think Tom Benson would like to stay here permanently and I, as mayor of San Antonio, would like to have the team stay here permanently," said Hardberger, who watched much of the game in Benson's suite.

Benson declined comment.

This is the wrong way to go about it. The talks aren't going to take place until the end of the season to begin with, so arguing that it's because we need to set down dates for the Alamodome is wrong. I don't see the reason to come out right now except to galvanize San Antonio support for, and national support against, this matter. But the local media would've been able to do this anyway, so that shouldn't have played a part. And what, with the Saints out of playoff contention and the Cowboys playing the same day, happens if we sell only 45,000 tickets to the Christmas Eve game?

If we had waited until the end of the season, then we would've had the Superdome report, the results- ticketwise, fieldwise, and hotel/logisticwise- of the four games played at LSU, the cost-analysis report ready, and a few more months to show the powers that be that we are an NFL-viable city.

But here's another question that I don't think has been asked- are we sure we want the Saints?