Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Sep 2005

MMQB: Saints Belong in New Orleans

In Peter King's Week 1 MMQB, he pleads with Saints owner Tom Benson to keep the team in New Orleans, gives Willie Parker some props, uses the phrase "defense of the week" to describe ... gasp! ... the Chiefs, and names Chad Pennington the Goat of the Week. King also pimps the Drew Bledsoe-Burger King commercial, gives due respect to Rodney Harrison, and recognizes Ohio University -- his alma mater -- as they beat the Miami Dolphins of the Big East, the Pitt Panthers.

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 12 Sep 2005

87 comments, Last at 13 Sep 2005, 9:41pm by B


by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:37am

d. Terrell Owens tells Mike Irvin he's going to give "181 percent'' in every game this year. I can't wait until a.) Owens shuts up; b.) we stop giving him forums for his silliness.

Um, aren't YOU giving him a forum for the silliness? No one made you report this in the 46 (yes, I counted) things you think you think.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:40am


And now you are too!

And now me!

Oh, the circle of irony!

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:47am

I think I never get tired of this stat: Two years ago Wednesday morning, Tom Jackson looked into the ESPN cameras and told America the Patriots hated their coach. New England is 35-3 in the 24 months since.

so what?

maybe they did

(and maybe they still do)

but they win

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:04pm

How to steal the Pats' mojo: send flowers, candy, tickets to shows, &c, to all New England players, in Belichick's name.

That will kill all the hate they've been sublimating into play on the field.

by Gatts (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:04pm

I'm a Saints fan, but I don't really think there's any way the Saints can stay in New Orleans.

First of all, where will they play?

Second of all, who's coming to the games?

by Darth Goofy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:19pm

I agree with Gatts. I live in Indy and we are building a new stadium for $500 million. First, where will Benson get the money? I don't think you can ask the taxpayers of New Orleans to pay for that. Also, with all of the reconstruction that will be required in the area, where will the equiptment, materials and workers come from? I know... lets hold of rebuilding the residential areas so we can build a stadium... that makes sense.

by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:33pm

How does a punter who had a punt blocked get spec teams player award over any of the guys who had returns for tds?
Also, I think all of the conclusions that are being jumped to after week 1 are pretty ridiculous. The Jets are done and Gus Frerotte is no longer washed up? To paraphrase Allen Iverson, "We're talking about Week 1."

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:34pm

Regarding money for a stadium, was the Superdome insured? Even under-insured would be better than zilch.

And, for all the folks who want the NFL to cough up more money to help with hurricane cleanup/rebuilding, would ponying up for a stadium suffice? Pass that hat among the billionaire owners -- it's tax-deductable!

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:36pm

I don’t think you can ask the taxpayers of New Orleans to pay for that.

Sure you can. Stadiums generate revenue - quite a lot of it. Having an operating football team in New Orleans next year will do a lot to help the city rebuild.

Also, with all of the reconstruction that will be required in the area, where will the equiptment, materials and workers come from?

It won't be needed until next year - the Saints aren't playing in New Orleans this year, most likely. But I don't think a shortage of equipment or workers is really going to be an issue. That entire area's a massive economic hub - there'll be a ton of money thrown at it to recover it.

I know… lets hold of rebuilding the residential areas so we can build a stadium… that makes sense.

How is it much different than rebuilding a port before you rebuild the stadium? Both generate money.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:41pm

The Saints are vital to NOLA, not just for morale, but because they, and more specifically, the Super Bowl generate revenue.

I'm sick of the defeatist Saints "fans" that I run across on-line.

by kleph (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:46pm

actually, pat, the future isn't that rosy.

baton rouge is now the largest city in the state and there is reason to believe it may keep the title. it is already the government hub and, due to improvements in communications, why would a company relocate back to new orleans when they already have safe digs a few hundred miles away?

most likely, many companies will set up satellite offices in NO and base themselves elsewhere in the state or nearby.

the damage to the superdome is an unknown factor at this time but it is doubtful it will return to its stautus as a key sports venue again. with its age and the questions of its feasability already in the air, the storm and refugee damage are probably going to kill it.

and as for the state, don't expect much to be left in their coffers. the oil industry is in disarray, the agriculture is crippled, the ports are being circumvented, the convention center is now an unusable horror and the casinos are in ruins.

with all the rest going to rebuilding, there simply is not going to be much money left to keep a team in town.

by Glenn (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:52pm

Funny, his Coach Of The Year didn't make the "Things I Didn't Like" list. That was a very, um, interesting use of the running game by Mr. Tice in that juggernaut Minny offense Sunday.

by Tommy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 12:58pm

"Sure you can. Stadiums generate revenue - quite a lot of it. Having an operating football team in New Orleans next year will do a lot to help the city rebuild."

Yeah, right. What they do is shift revenue around, and create a lot of low-paying, seasonal jobs. Taxpayer-financed stadiums are three parts boondoggle and two parts corporate/millionaire welfare.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 1:09pm


Tell that to the City of New Orleans, which just lost a huge ton of tourist revenue. I think they'll take anything they can get to get people back in there.

why would a company relocate back to new orleans when they already have safe digs a few hundred miles away?

The Port of New Orleans.

by Greg (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 1:21pm

Pat, please show me a study where stadiums generate a lot of revenue for a city. I know the NFL says it all the time, but I have yet to see proof. Or how, for that matter. Let's see - the owner receives all the naming, parking and rental revenues (I'm sure the city gets a little of it, but not a lot).
Employment? You have the groundskeepers, security. The people who work the beer and food shops work only part-time and really work for the vendors, not for the city. Where exactly does it justify a $700 Million investment?

Let's face it - an NFL team for a city is a luxury and a matter of pride, but one that does not make financial sense. And I'm not sure New Orleans can afford such a luxury.

by val (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 1:22pm

Y'know, Peter is just no longer worth wading through 6 pages views to read his stuff. I've always like Frerotte, but geeze, jumping onto the Frerotte bandwagon is like trying to board the Titanic in England...

by Kami (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 1:38pm

I think if NO wants tourism again, they need to rebuild/repair the historical parts of the city as much as possible. Football games aren't going to draw all that many people from far away anyhow. Nothing beyond the marginal.

It's like my mother says when we talk about it--"I wish I had gone to New Orleans now. Well, maybe I can still go sometime, I hear the French Quarter didn't get the worst of it."

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 1:52pm

jumping onto the Frerotte bandwagon is like trying to board the Titanic in England

It's more like trying to board the Titanic in New York.

by Daniel (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 1:53pm

After years of yakking about Starbucks, NOW he notices that it's a ripoff?? That's AMAZING...

by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 1:56pm

Comments like this from Mr. king drive me insane:

"That last point was crucial in holding McNabb to 3.2 yards per rush on 10 scrambles in the NFC title game last seasons -- obscure the vision of McNabb, never show him the same rush front twice in a row, make him wonder where his escape route will be."

No, no, no you fat moron!

McNabb rushed 7 times for 36 yards, including 2 third down conversions on scoring drives, and 2 runs total on the final scoring drive. He ran very well and very helpfully when needed, for 5.1 yards per carry.

He then took a knee 3 times for -4 yards to end the game.

How long have you written a column about football, and you don't know enough to take those last "runs" out of the statistics?

by Doug (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 1:58pm

If stadiums are such money makers, there should be tons of private businesses lined up to invest in them. Why would taxpayer funds be needed?

by Traditional Stat Retard (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 1:59pm

But...yards! They're yards! He got 3.2 YPR, so he sucks. You eggheads should leave football to the football guys!

by MDS (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 2:21pm

Andrew, that's a great comment. When I read King's comment that the Falcons had stopped McNabb last year, I immediately thought that doesn't mesh at all with my memory of the game. Then I saw your comment and I checked the play-by-play, and it turns out that McNabb was very effective, as I remembered. I wonder why King would suggest otherwise.

by jebmak (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 2:24pm

Now I usually absolutely HATE it when people give more than 100%. I recall one awful time, when I was younger, watching "American Gladiators" the winner said that he knew he had to give 4000%. I literally fell to the floor screaming. However, it seems to me that there is something special about giving exactly 181%, I give him a thumbs up.

On a side note, maybe the Saints are already becoming America's team. I hated constantly hearing about the Cowboys, and now I am sick of the media making the game out to be way more than it is.

Wow, this comment sounds pretty bitter and angry...um, GO DOLPHINS!

by jebmak (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 2:32pm

Oh, I now resolve to consistantly give 157%.

by Dennis (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:04pm

Re #21: Exactly! If you could make money off a football stadiums, the owners would be building them themselves instead of threatening to move if the city/state governments don't build them.

As for the supposed residual economic benefits of stadiums, that's been pretty thoroughly disproven. Here are a few references:





by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:05pm

Jake Plummer gave -18% yesterday.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:21pm

The sad part is Plummer really was giving 100% yesterday.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:33pm

Pat, please show me a study where stadiums generate a lot of revenue for a city.

Show me one that doesn't, and I'll show you that it completely avoids the secondary economic benefits as well, as well as the indirect benefits.

I'm not saying that you should build stadia everywhere. It's a major, complicated decision, and it's complete bull to simply say "stadia are cost wastes!" It's a massively complicated decision - one which is not usually handled correctly, as you can read here. I'm just saying that in this case, New Orleans would be crazy not to refurbish it or build a new one. It's a major source of income to that section of the city, and the last thing they need is to let another section of the city fall into decay.

If stadiums are such money makers, there should be tons of private businesses lined up to invest in them. Why would taxpayer funds be needed?

Taxpayer funds are usually used for tourist-type attractions, because they provide more secondary income (people staying at hotels, people eating at nearby restaurants, etc.) than direct income.

Which is why most normal economic analyses regarding stadia usually show it's not worth it.

Airports are very similar as well.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:34pm

As for the supposed residual economic benefits of stadiums, that’s been pretty thoroughly disproven. Here are a few references:

Read the above-linked article as well. No one does this study properly - mainly because you can't just blanket say "good" or "bad". It's very site-specific.

by David (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:36pm

Honestly, I can see the Patriots' punter getting special-teams player of the week. The man was frighteningly accurate on both the punts King mentions, and the block wasn't his fault - the line just broke down.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:42pm

Right, except for the facts that 1) a punter can't control the backspin of his punts and 2) Willie Ponder, the actual ST player of the week, returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 3:44pm

Granted, I'm not a Colts fan, but I would much rather have seen Indy spend money on schools, roads, and maybe even enticements to land employers offering full-time jobs than on another new stadium. I think New Orleans should have a lot of things on their construction list ahead of a new stadium for the Saints. Of course, if the Superdome is insured, that's a moot point. (insurance experts - can you tell from the provided link?)

So the Chiefs are the defensive star(s), but Pennington is the goat? That doesn't make sense to me. I'd think one would cancel out the other. Either the Jets struggled in part because the Chiefs played so well, or the Chiefs played so well in part because the Jets struggled. I'd be tempted to suggest Favre ahead of Pennington on that list, but obvious biases prevent me from doing so. :)

Maybe Carr? I didn't see much of the Bills-Texans game, though. Boller? Culpepper? You could suggest Stover, but I don't think nine more points would have helped the Ravens back into the game.

Martz, for challenging the spot on the opening kickoff? Now there's your winner!

by Astro Boy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:11pm

Looks like I’m the first to comment on King’s take on the Burger King commercial. I’m a Bills fan, and the first time I saw this commercial, it took me all of two seconds to guess correctly which play the commercial used as raw material. All I needed was one look at Bledsoe and the Ravens’ midfield logo, and I asked whether it was the Deion Sanders interception from last year. Bingo. But King sees the same commercial and suggests that some ad writer deserves praise for originality for putting in “the cocky jig� at the end. I haven’t seen the Randy Moss commercial, but I’ll go out on a limb and guess that it was the play that got the Vikings a TD as the clock ran out to end the first half. Did King really go 0 for 2 at identifying these commercials as actual plays? You’d think that would be impossible, but his language strongly suggests that that’s the case. Comments like #20 are much more relevant for exposing King’s terrible football analysis, but if he whiffed on this one, I think it’s an even more glaring error.

I guess Burger King got some revenge on Bledsoe, who did a terrible McDonald’s commercial about ten years ago.

As for the Saints’ situation, people need to know that there’s a big difference between “revenue generating� and “profitable.� Division I-A football teams generate plenty of revenue, but most universities shell out much more money on football programs than they get back from gate receipts and television deals. Andrew Zimbalist at Smith College has done a lot of work to back this statement up.

It’s basically the same deal with the Saints. Before Katrina hit, this was a poorly-run franchise with one of the lowest numbers of season-ticket holders in the league, and Tom Benson still received millions of dollars in state subsidies. Sure, it would be nice to have a football team as a source of local pride, but at what cost? There are hundreds of thousands of people who are completely destitute as a result of this storm. Do people really think that the best way to help them with the limited resources we have is to give millions more dollars to Tom Benson in the vain hope that he won’t move the team out of town at the earliest opportunity?

by kleph (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:15pm

actually, pat, i believe you mean the port of south louisiana which is the major port in the region. the port of new orleans is much smaller. even more critical is the louisiana offshore oil port which preliminary assesments say the damage is minimal.

yes, the port will return, but not all the other businesses that made new orleans a viable metropolitan area. and the big question is how much business will the port keep after having so much cargo diverted from it for so long.

by Parker (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:19pm

Hmm, I have a few thoughts but they feel pretty muddled. Let me jot them down and then maybe some of you can correct anything I have wrong.

1) The current levee system could fail if a category 3 hurricane hits the area, in fact, it just did. Improving the levee system will take billions of dollars and a lot of time (I don't know how much, but a long time.) It seems a little silly to rebuild any structures before you have proper protection for those structures and it seems near insane to try to get people to live in those structures.

2) Something about the continued erosion of wetlands in the area makes the potential for damage from hurricanes continue to increase. (?) Stopping that erosion or counteracting it with some man-made structures is, again, time and cost consuming; but doing nothing about it sounds painfully ignorant in the wake of what just happened.

3) I have heard the Superdome may be imploded since the damage was so severe.

4) From the time you decide to build a stadium to the time the stadium is completed is more than a year, right?

5) While I think there is nothing inappropriate about rebuilding a stadium while other major projects are going on, it does feel a bit unseemly to rush the completion or make it a top priority.

Without knowing very much about it, it seems to me that the Saints may have no stadium in NO for 3 years or maybe a lot longer. Can anyone comment on the logistical feasibility of it, leaving aside whether it's a good idea or not. Also, what are they supposed to do in the meantime? All I'm saying is that if the owner relocates, I'm not sure I could blame him.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:23pm

"Stadiums generate revenue - quite a lot of it. Having an operating football team in New Orleans next year will do a lot to help the city rebuild."

Oh, come on, Pat! I can't believe you said that!

What one might have said was that the Super Dome, as a convention center adjunct in a city that's already a mecca for conventioneers, might make sense financially. It wouldn't make sense, however, for most cities to wrap an economic development strategy around eight Sunday afternoons that draw money that likely would have been spent locally anyway.

NO has the same plus in that the Saints often are a draw for out-of-staters who plunk down good money for tickets, hotels, etc., during the games. This was true also of the Florida hockey teams -- a little known fact was that a great deal of their customers were NHL-nutty Canadians who structured their vacations around, say, Tampa Bay hockey games.

The local Chamber of Commerce appreciated having the team around, until 9/11 gutted a good portion of the North American tourism industry.

That said, I'm not sure that building the Saints a stadium would generate $500 million in additional benefits to the local economy. I'd rather see the good taxpayers of NO spend $500 million on revamping the levees.

I say this as a former denizen of that great city (yes, I know the Army Corps of Engineers funds the thing, but it's a local department that doles out the contracts for maintaining the levees and making sure they don't, ahem, collapse into the lake or river).

For $500 million, they also could build an outstanding high-tech research hub at Tulane, the finest university in America, which would spark IMHO far more ancillary business than a pyramid for a bunch of drunken conventioneers.

Just a thought.

"It’s a major source of income to that section of the city, and the last thing they need is to let another section of the city fall into decay."

Again, a local's knowledge is unfair, but, ahem, that "section of the city" had fallen into decay before Huey Long ever sipped gumbo, which is why they stuck a UFO-looking stadium on top of it.

The Crescent City is largely poor, ill-conceived and worse built, suffering from more than two centuries of graft, corruption and incompetence. As punishment for these sins against sage municipal management, a pox was visited upon our clement city.

No, not Katrina. The Saints.

For those of you keeping score, remember that the NFL owners have established their own tax-free revolving fund for stadia construction. This came in handy for a certain team in MA, but is only used when locales turn down an owner's outrageous and absurb demands from taxpayers.

The Irsays, therefore, could have made use of said fund. But why do so if you get the state to back you?

And that's one of the secrets to all of this. Typically, the bulk of the funds are guaranteed by the state, not the municipality. Tax revenues tend to come from legislation enabled by the General Assembly in Name Your Capital City (for example, a levy on all rental cars, hotel rooms or drinks), or fees on concert, sporting or drama tickets, not directly from constituents in that town.

This makes it easier to pursue the taxing authority, all the while making your town that less enticing to conventioneers.

That doesn't necessarily matter to cities like New Orleans, Miami or Las Vegas, but can make selling a convention in Indianapolis or Cleveland.

In sum, if they built it, they still might not come.

Or, if the Saints come marching in, win at any frequency.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:28pm

"as they beat the Miami Dolphins of the Big East, the Pitt Panthers."

That, by the way, was the most prescient line written so far this season.

I never understood either the hiring or the aplomb that came with it. Sometimes a great defensive coordinator should remain as such. It helps to score if one wants to win games.

by Daniel (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:31pm

The Saints have been on the short list of franchises, of which one is expected to fill the void in the Los Angeles market, for a while. Benson has been trying to find a way to move the franchise for a while and I expect him to use the current situatiuon as an excuse to move. It will take the better part of a decade for the New Orleans financial infrastructure to recover. I doubt they will be able to support an NFL franchise the way the owners have come to expect. This will probably boil down to a question of authority over ftranchises with Benson challenging the commissioner's office to try and stop him from going, a la Al Davis.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:32pm

actually, pat, i believe you mean the port of south louisiana which is the major port in the region. the port of new orleans is much smaller.

True, true. I should've said "ports" of New Orleans, without the capital. I meant both ports (The Port of NO actually has a lot of railroad connections, so it is actually quite important on its own).

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:37pm

It wouldn’t make sense, however, for most cities to wrap an economic development strategy around eight Sunday afternoons that draw money that likely would have been spent locally anyway.

Yup, I agree. It was poorly worded. Hence the reason that I clarified it in a later post. :)

For $500 million, they also could build an outstanding high-tech research hub at Tulane

If you could get them to do that, I ain't gonna complain.

Again, a local’s knowledge is unfair, but, ahem, that “section of the city� had fallen into decay before Huey Long ever sipped gumbo

Nono - not that kind of decay. That's a section of the city not that damaged by Katrina - as in, not flooded. If you're going to start rebuilding the city, you'd start there, I'd imagine.

by zip (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 4:49pm


"The local Chamber of Commerce appreciated having the team around, until 9/11 gutted a good portion of the North American tourism industry."

Hyperbole alert! Got a link for that? Either you're wrong, or we're a bigger nation of pussies than I thought. I hope it's the former.

by TMK (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 5:00pm

RE: 36's question.

Wetlands are beneficial in a storm situation because of their ability to ease the tidal storm surge -- as a mixed salt/fresh water environment, they can absorb the surge without obliterating the ecosystem.

The Corps of Engineers' building program to preserve the Mississippi in its current channel (if left unattended, it would basically trend due south of Baton Rouge, through what is now called the Atchafalaya), has had the unintended effect of pushing silt deposits from the river away from the known wetlands towards the current mouth of the river, where they have little environmental benefit. Thus, the wetlands are eroded by the Gulf, leaving much less of a barrier to storms.

All that being said (having lived in Baton Rouge for a few years counts for something), it would be a major public relations boon for the NFL to repeat what they did in Cleveland:

1) Let Benson relocate the franchise, but leave the Saints logo, et al., for a new New Orleans franchise, to be activated when the area can sustain it.

2) Have that stadium fund at the ready to construct a new arena / stadium / convention complex, both to hold the Super Bowl and to eventually draw another franchise to assume the Saints legacy.

The area can't support the Saints right now, but that's not a permanent thing. And the NFL has too much history in New Orleans to simply walk away, even if it was all an inside deal with Hale Boggs in the first place.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 5:16pm

Here's a link about the effects of 9/11 on the Florida hockey teams (near the bottom under the sub-graf, "Growing Pains").

IMHO, it was the most brilliant exegesis of hockey finances ever written anywhere. Genius work.

by Dennis (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 5:34pm

Re 29/30: The article you link to says that the alleged economic benefits of stadiums don't hold up, which is what I said:

"1. A pro-facility argument that rests solely on the magnitude of the economic
benefits conferred by a new facility is unsustainable. The economic impact
literature has ended once and for all the argument that the economic impact of these projects justifies public subsidies for new sports facilities."

It does say that non-economic benefits have to be considered as well and those have not been accurately quantified yet.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 5:55pm

It does say that non-economic benefits have to be considered as well and those have not been accurately quantified yet.

I didn't say it supported it. I said that it's a complicated decision that hasn't been handled properly yet - not by city planners, and not by economists either. So it's not a clear and obvious decision.

When you realize that New Orleans already has a stadium, as opposed to looking to build a new one, the question becomes even more complicated.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 6:15pm

New Orleans exsists for three reasons. In no praticular order, Mardis Gras, the Superbowl and the Mississippi. I think they should rebuild the superdome, legalize gambling and turn it into the offical capital of hedonism and commerce.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 6:16pm

B: Over and over, the voice of reason.

by Ima Pseudonym (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 6:23pm

Pat: Here is the dialectic so far as I see it -

Owner: Building me a stadium benefits the city.
Taxpayer: But looking at the numbers shows it doesn't have any net direct economic benefits for the city.
Owner: I meant secondary/indirect economic benefits.
Taxpayer: But studies show that it doesn't have any of those either.
Owner: I meant non-economic benefits, your studies didn't consider those.
Taxpayer: O.k., tell me what benefits you mean and we'll look into it.
Owner: (silence).

Since the alleged benefits of taxpayer stadia have been shown to be *merely* alleged, isn't the burden of proof on stadia proponents to demonstrate what other benefits there are, and explain how those outweigh the economic costs in order to convince us to give them money? If the issue is "complex" and other studies left out important factors, then its time for the owners to say what those factors are and explain why they outweigh the economic costs - even if it means that they have to study some complex issues (or use some of their vast resources to fund social scientists to do some peer-reviewable work).

I ain't forking over my tax dollars because maybe there are some vague non-economic benefits to be had that nobody really knows anything about yet.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 6:35pm

OK. First off, if you're talking about Indianapolis building a new stadium, that's one question. The town already has all of the benefits of the NFL franchise. Quantifying how many of those will stick around is not easy.

If you're talking about Random Town, USA, building an NFL stadium to draw an NFL franchise, that's also a very hard question, although the direct economic benefits are definitely not enough.

The question is whether the city wants to spend money to place itself in a list of cities with a professional sports franchise. These are the "non-economic benefits" they're talking about.

This is exactly the same question a city faces for building a museum, or art gallery, etc.

For New Orleans, this is a totally different question. Restoring the Superdome - just like restoring the convention center - means people will start believing that New Orleans is recovering. It will also start generating tourist revenue, which is exceptionally important for a city with such a high tourist economy.

by melissa (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 6:40pm

This has nothing to do with Mr.King, but I haven't been to FO in a while so I might have missed this: Aaron are you still going to be doing analysis of the QBs for the week based on DVOA? I know it used to be a part of page 2, but I didn't see it and I always looked forward to your analysis on Mondays. If for some reason page 2 doesn't want you anymore, it would be great if your column was on FO with the funny comments included as well. I also liked how it provided an overview of all the QBs stats from the weekend so you could compare their games head to head. I even liked your answers to their sometimes dumb weekly questions. Wow, I sound like an eyelash-batting groupie.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 6:53pm

I'm a little worried cause I saw a page two column that looked like "Snap Judgements" without Aaron's stats or delightful commentary. Hopefully they'll give him his own teusday column so we can include the MNF performances in rating QBs. Although, this would lessen the number of times somebody would complain that thier favorite QB was left off the list, even though the column went up on Monday and the QB played on Monday night. Damn that Aaron for not being psychic!

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:05pm

"The area can’t support the Saints right now, but that’s not a permanent thing. And the NFL has too much history in New Orleans to simply walk away, even if it was all an inside deal with Hale Boggs in the first place."

Actually, the community doesn't really have to "support" any NFL team. Because of shared revenues, the vast sum of dollars comes from TV, licensing, ancillary broadcast rights, etc., and very little from the local streams (ticket sales, parking, concessions, etc.).

If Green Bay can "support" an NFL franchise, then any municipality can, thanks to the financial system in place. That this didn't occur in hockey might say as much about the ills that affect the sport rather than the specter of a "salary cap."

As for the NFL's history in New Orleans, I can swear with some native knowledge that the town is best known as the locus of the Super Bowl and not for the Saints being in it on any given January Sabbath.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:14pm

As for the "open letter," hmmmmm...

"And the future of this team -- and I would say even this incredibly needy region -- is in your hands as much as any single person in the United States right now."

Yes, one of the world's largest ports; the nexus of pipelines, railways and waterways; and a locus of academia that make New Orleans the Boston of the South -- rebuilding all of that pales in comparison to bringing back a mediocre football team?

Somehow Houston -- a far more vibrant southern city with a similarly impressive oil infrastructure -- managed to survive the years in the wilderness between the Oilers and Texans.

I don't recall anyone in Texas predicting regional collapse if they weren't playing professional football there.

I fear Los Angeles will soon crumble, what with a dearth of NFL franchises since the Rams and Raiders left.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:18pm

"You want to know what the displaced people in Houston and Dallas and all over America want to hear right now? They want to hear you make a clear, unmistakable declaration that the Saints will stay in New Orleans(...)"

Try this experiment: Instead of sending your dispossessed to Houston or Dallas, why not try to foist your beloved Saints on them? I get the feeling that the good people of Dallas, discriminating gridiron fans with some real football history, might be flummoxed by the very proposal.

Even Houston, a town abandoned by the then lowly Oilers (reborn as a defensive juggernaught in Tennessee) would rather catch a rising star with the appropriately-named Texans than with a cast of annual underachievers from the Big Easy.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:22pm

By the way, where is a sycophant when you need him to wax eloquently about how the Hornets are the team to save?

I can assure you that the sophisticated, urban, predominately African-American community of New Orleans embraces the lowly vagabounds from Carolina with greater gusto than they do the Saints.

Tailgating at Saints' home games is an experience best defined as a back yard barbeque in Metairie than a real reflection of the city's wards. As a team that really reflects the mood of the city, the Hornets are it.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:25pm

"As long as Pittsburgh has a runner this good, this team will continue to be Men of Steel."

Or, as long as Pittsburgh has an offensive line this good, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Watch out for the lack of depth on the right side of the line before you plumb the ranks of RBs, which I continue to insist is a fairly fungible position.

As for the stupid "Jerome Who" snipe, Bettis wasn't listed (or wooed) to be the primary back either last season or this year. He was the second rusher, behind Staley, on the depth chart.

I'll now let a Philadelphia fan say something.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:27pm

"Sharper also de-cleated a Buc receiver and had tremendous impact on a game that Minnesota would have clinched by the end of the third quarter."

Hey, when did they start playing fourth quarters? Too bad for the Vikes.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:30pm

"A coach who is at his best when times are the worst, as Haslett has been (...)"

Hmmmmm. A dispassionate chronicler of all things New Orleans might have assumed the captain of the economic development galley called "The Saints" might have steered the team past the shoals of mediocrity, spontaneous combustion and persistent incompetence (drafting, development and retention) over the past decade.

I guess it's not do-or-die when your team only needs to win to make the playoffs, but when you're playing Week One at Carolina.


by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:32pm

" I think Kerry Collins' play against the Patriots was stunning in its badness."

But I seem to recall a certain prognosticator who advised everyone pick Kerry as their fantasy QB...

Cough, cough...

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:36pm

" know other backs are better and bigger and stronger, but there is no better player in the NFL, pound for pound, than Tiki Barber."

I seem to recall a certain prognosticator, again, advising everyone to invest in Travis Henry futures.

Last time I checked, Henry wasn't the starting RB and that he managed 35 yards on 10 carries in Pittsburgh.

Think that's going to improve against Baltimore next week?

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:41pm

Or, as long as Pittsburgh has an offensive line this good, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Or as long as Pittsburgh continues playing a team that buys its defense from the local 7-Eleven along with a Slurpee.

Methinks that might have something to do with it. Maybe.

But I seem to recall a certain prognosticator who advised everyone pick Kerry as their fantasy QB…

Actually, Collins had a decent fantasy weekend. Someone pointed out that Kerry Collins is probably the only QB that's a valid Loser League and normal fantasy backup.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:41pm

"Kyle Orton."

Well, these might be a few of my favorite things, but former Purdue QBs who complete half their passes for 141 yards and tally three sacks and an INT in a 9-7 offensive slugfest aren't exactly making me reconsider Peyton Manning.

Might Brunell have been the best QB in that game, albeit in limited action?

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:46pm

"Big test for Indy next week, by the way, with Jacksonville coming to town."

Yeah. Fred Taylor barely got 3.8 ypc against Seattle, one of the worst rush-stopping teams in football. I'm sure the Indy D-line is peeing itself in terror.

If they can stuff a very fine rushing team like Baltimore, I bet they'll handle the Jags.

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:50pm

"For the eighth time in six weeks Manny Ramirez was a healthy scratch for the Red Sox last Thursday against the Angels. They can't trade him fast enough for me."

You're right. The Sox can do without those annoying 34 HRs and 120 RBI he's managed to generate this season in a pro-rated contract.

Trade him for Travis Henry!

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 7:55pm

Instead of Orton, why didn't he talk about the stellar play of Drew Bledsoe? I know Bledsoe has a lot of detractors here, but you've got to admire a guy who gets knocked down four times and yet manages to complete 75 percent of his passes for three TDs.

He went on the road and beat San Diego. Not shabby. Give him some props!

by zip (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 8:04pm

Re: Carl 53-61, 63-65

Wow, nice monologue! If it wasn't for those pesky meddling kids, er, Pat, you would have had 12 posts in a row!

Seriously I am impressed.

by zip (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 8:07pm


[Bitter Bills fan]
Yeah, Bledsoe did play pretty well. Reminds me of the first few weeks he played in Buffalo and was on pace to break the NFL's single season passing yards record...how'd that work out again?

But I was happy to see Bledsoe doing well, especially since it's not MY team he'll be throwing picks for in December.

[/Bitter Bills fan]

by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 8:19pm

I do that every week, Zip. I wait until everyone has his or her say, then I pull out the shotgun and spray.

Pat is right about fantasy value vs. real value when it comes to NFL QBs. Kerry Collins put up about 21 or so points in most fantasy leagues last week.

But compare him to his counterpart on the Pats.

Brady completed 64 percent of his passes, striving for 8.1 yards per attempt (Bud Goode would approve). Because he was efficient and tossed only good passes to WRs as far away from himself as possible, he tallied 306 yards and kept Oakland on their heels the entire game.

Collins completed less than half his passes (only 18!), and it's not as if he set the bar too high. He was only looking for his WRs when they were about six or seven yards away. What a waste of Porter and Moss!

He chose his targets poorly, and missed them often when he wasn't tossing to the wrong team, which he did once.

Poor decision making, inaccurate passing and bad game management? Couldn't be Kerry Collins, could it?

by kyle (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 8:39pm

bledsoe did play way better than anyone expected. i think he astonished himself.

my fantasy opponent on espn.com had kerry collins this week, and i had daunte culpepper. i felt good on wednesday. i wish i had collins, if only for a week.

by james (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 8:43pm

On the ongoing stadium debate:

I live in DC and have seen what a sports facility can do for a town. What could we have said about Chinatown that hadn't already been said about Afghanistan. It was bombed out and depleted.

Then the MCI center was built and has become one of the most up and coming areas in the country. Causing massive building in close neighborhoods and sky rocketing home and property values.

I don't know if New Orleans would experience the same thing but that is one example of a successful venue.

On Peter King:
Why does anyone read his article. He knows nothing about football.

On Bledsoe:
He's proven time and time again to be bum. A bum with a wicked arm.

The NFL is so even these days. It is little more than a crap shoot. KC was as good as an non top 5 team last year and look what happened to them.

Sit back and enjoy the ride. Noone can predict this thing.

On that note Pitt is going down in a heap

by prunemike (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 9:26pm

"I thought it looked a little, well, gouge-ish last week when, in Foxboro, I saw that it costs $35 to park your car at Gillette Stadium.

Last week's e-mailed Team Marketing Report allowed me to compare it the Pats' East Coast rivals. The Pats charge $20 more than the Giants and Jets charge. They charge $25 more than the Eagles' $10 fee.

One team gets more than $25 for renting a little rectangle of pavement for four hours -- New England. No word if there's gold nuggets in the Foxboro tar."

What PK fails to mention that in order for Kraft to get the state to pay $70 million to improve the roads around the stadium he had to agree to pay the state $1.4 million a year from parking revenue (which I think - but I couldn't find the exact amount added between $12 and $15 more to park) See link.

So even the little bit of public financing for Gillette Stadium has to be paid back.

by hwc (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 9:43pm

An Open Letter to Mr. King:

Anyone who orders a "triple grande hazelnut latte" shouldn't complain about the price.

Anyone who complains about the $35 parking fee at Foxboro should do the research to find out that the fee is largely a parking tax to repay the state for publicly financed infrastructure improvements (road and sewer) -- the only public money that went into the stadium project.

by rk (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 10:13pm

Re: #69
Collins didn't quite toss the ball to the wrong team. He got nailed as he threw it, and a D-lineman grabbed the loose ball out of the air. I'm not defending Collins' performance, but the pick wasn't really all his fault. I'm actually kind of impressed that he didn't throw more INTs the way he kept forcing the ball to Moss.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 10:28pm

I still think that Collins turnover was a fumble. It's been called an interception cause it never hit the ground, but his arm wasn't going forward.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:14pm

B (#75 )--

No, I think the "tuck" rule applied. ;-)

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 09/12/2005 - 11:19pm

B (#75 )--

Silliness aside, apparently there's been an official scoring change for that play (linked, second item): sack and fumble forced by Jarvis Green, recovered by Vince Wilfork.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 12:15am

I knew it was a fumble. I was wondering why M&M kept calling it an interception when Collin's arm never went forward.

by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 11:40am

Well, it was a turnover anyway. A miserable, miserable game from a QB King was pimping like a $5 ho only two weeks before they met up with New England.

by Parker (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 12:06pm

“You want to know what the displaced people in Houston and Dallas and all over America want to hear right now? They want to hear you make a clear, unmistakable declaration that the Saints will stay in New Orleans(…)�

That's odd, Peter, I would have thought they would want to hear, "Hey, why don't you and your family come and stay with us for a couple of months while you get things sorted out" from just about anybody that could manage it.

I'm not one of those people that thinks that everything should stop when a disaster hits, but suggesting that the local football team is that important right now is pretty assinine. I saw a reporter talking to a woman who just got off a bus in San Diego with her husband and three kids. She said she had just been paid before the hurricane hit so she had between $350-$400 in her bank account. You think she gives a flying fig whether the Saints stay in NO?

by Parker (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 12:27pm

By the way, Traditional Stat Retard is currently my favorite person here.

by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 12:34pm

It's especially weird that King makes football seem so important to the Katrina survivors when it was only last week that he was lecturing all of us about how unimportant football is.

Peter also has this odd habit of complaining about the prices of things. OK, it's expensive to park near the stadium. Then don't park there. OK, Starbucks coffee is expensive. Don't drink it.

by Carl (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 1:03pm

And yet, MDS, he discounts the cost for taxpayers of a stadium, which isn't exactly something one tosses into the minivan at Costco.

He balks at a $5 triple latte but believes a $500 million stadium for eight Sunday afternoons of economic development is a good deal?

One of my biggest beefs with sports reporters -- and especially columnists -- is that they rarely consider the financial aspects of the game. One doesn't need to be Foucault to understand, however, that this is an important stratum to analyze.

It becomes readily apparent when one reads a column such as MMQB.

That, and I don't understand his lust for Travis Henry or Kerry Collins.

Listen, the NFL donated $1 million to Katrina relief. Fair enough.

But if the league really wanted to make a statement, couldn't the owners meet with Tags and come out with a real development plan?

They have a tax-free revolving fund for stadia construction. Use the amount paid into it not to subsidize, say, a new ball park in Arizona, but rather the place where the league wants to play every other Super Bowl.

If you wanted to commit to rebuilding New Orleans, have the owners say that the NFL will rebuild the Super Bowl and make it the PERMANENT site for the championship of professional American football. The league, as a whole, would share the proceeds from the revenue streams, which would refill the revolving fund.

Perhaps for a few years, the money could be skewed to helping out the Saints. Since much of the area just to the west of the stadium is now destroyed, have the bulldozers flatten it and rebuild it as a levee-protected funland for kids of all ages (see what the Steelers are proposing to do with their land given to them by the city).

That's if one really wanted to make a stand for the proud tradition of professional American football in New Orleans.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 1:03pm

MMQ wasn't complaining about Starbucks being expensive, he was complaining about Starbucks on the Jersey Turnpike being even more expensive than normal.

by jds (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 7:37pm

Welcome to the new unofficial thread for TMQ.

TMQ takes the Eagles, the Vikings, and the Chargers to task for giving up on the run (overall, or at crucial times). I think he is probably right about the Chargers, but I think he is wrong about the Eagles and the Vikings. Neither one of those teams could run, even if they wanted to.

I didn't see the Vikings game, but it seems their problem is no RB and offensive line problems (is Matt Birk really the MVP of the Vikings?). For the Eagles, I think it is the same (Westbrook is an outside guy, or at least, an outside guy behind this line). Is there a quick fix for these guys, or is it the case that given their relative success over the last few years (at least true in the Eagles case), no fix is needed?

by Larry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 8:46pm

The Eagles, strangely, ran on first down at least twice during the last unsuccessful drive. That didn't really work out for them. Also, Reid commented that the Falcons were showing 8 man fronts, basically forcing the Eagles to throw. Why the Eagles were unsucessful passing against such fronts, is an open question. McNabb is the answer in some form.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 09/13/2005 - 9:41pm

The three best players on the Eagles are, in this order, McNabb, Westbrook, and Owens. handing off to Westbrook up the middle is a waste of his talents and doesn't involve Owens or McNabb. The Eagles should only be rushing enough to keep the defense off balance. Screens and other short passes are a fine substitute for thier running game.