Any thought of moving the Saints to L.A. is out of line
Posted: Tuesday November 1, 2005 10:05AM; Updated: Tuesday November 1, 2005 10:05AM
Paul Tagliabue says last week's report from The Washington Post -- that the NFL may permanently relocate the Saints to Los Angeles if they're unable to return to New Orleans -- was "nonsensical."
Whew, that's a relief. If I were around in 1972, I wouldn't have believed any of that Watergate crap that rag uncovered either.
There's no way I'm going to believe the commish on this one. It's no secret the league has been dying to get a franchise back into the country's second-largest media market ever since the Rams and Raiders moved. It's also no secret that the New Orleans market has been a financial black hole for the league for years -- and that was before Hurricane Katrina hit. Saints owner Tom Benson has been one of a handful of franchise owners during the past 11 years who have threatened to move their teams to L.A. as a means to wrangle lucrative new stadium deals.
Clearly, moving the Saints to L.A. now is a best-case scenario for Tagliabue and his suits: Finally, they could extract the Saints from an economically undesirable market and move them to a metropolitan area where there are literally billions to be had in merchandising and television revenue! What a twofer!
Sound downright Satanic to you? It should. No wonder the league went into immediate damage-control mode to downplay the rumors -- short of causing another hurricane, there's probably nothing that could make the NFL look worse.
The "Los Angeles Saints" sounds bad enough. But that the league could use a natural disaster as its window to put its plan into motion? That's the biggest slap in the face to the people of New Orleans since they heard Condoleezza Rice was busy shopping for shoes on 5th Avenue while the Big Easy filled up with Lake Pontchartrain.
If the NFL were serious about being part of the economic and psychological recovery effort, it would exhaust every last option -- and I mean every option, even it means losing money for 10 years -- to make sure the Saints can eventually go home. Instead, the league is effectively taking advantage of one of the worst disasters in American history to turn its favorite moneymaking pipedream into a reality.