Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Sep 2005

Saints to Open in New Jersey

Obviously, there's no way to make this season normal for the New Orleans Saints. But is it heartless for me to say that this is unfair to Philadelphia, Dallas, and Washington? They couldn't find a neutral location for this game? I guess they don't want to make it look like the Saints are leaving Louisiana for good to move to San Antonio or Los Angeles, even though we've known for months, long before the devastation of this hurricane, that the Saints were probably leaving Louisiana for good to move to San Antonio or Los Angeles. As John Czarnecki points out, the state's economic priorities right now don't really include giving Tom Benson money. It never should have been a priority to begin with.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 02 Sep 2005

46 comments, Last at 11 Sep 2005, 10:25pm by Jerry


by MDS (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 7:45pm

I agree completely with Aaron. Why give the Giants a free home game? Especially when the Jets already have a home game that weekend. This is, frankly, stupid.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 8:25pm

Geez, I gotta believe that Jerry Jones raised hell about this behind closed doors.

by fyo (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 8:35pm

Why is this unfair for Ealges, 'Boys and 'Skins?

I'm guessing that your assumption is that Giants will get two home games versus the Saints, but what do you base this on? There is nothing in the story you link and nothing in the official NFL story linked in my sig either.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 8:53pm

I'd like to see the Saints in San Antonio myself. It's a good match and I think it'd be a good business move for the NFL, because they could effectively test a new market without making any commitments past this season. It's not like New York is looking for a third team.

And anyone in the Eagles, Boys, or Skins camps who thinks this is really unfair should pick up a newspaper, shut the hell up, and enjoy the fact they've got a roof over a dry home and a city to keep on living in.

by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 9:44pm

#4 - Do we really want to start down that road of conflating the sports world with general socioeconomic well-being? Obviously there's a point where some large tragedy must be recognized and where decency dictates that we all act in an appropriately respectful manner. But plenty of tragedies and injustices are happening the world over everyday, yet America chooses to put a good amount of its national wealth and resources into distractions such as sports and entertainment. Being happy to have a roof over one's head and putting forth a fair, competitive pro football league are of two quite different orders. It is, from any perspective, unfair for one team to have an extra home game - which, in effect, this would give the Giants. I know, though, that it's not worth writing my congressman or screaming at the television about (and I'm not just saving that up for the first bad call of the season).

by Russell (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 10:04pm

I hate to disagree with my fellow Outsiders, but I think we need to look at the big picture here. The Saints can't play at LSU -- LSU may not even be able to play there for some time because it's being used as a staging area. They can't play at the Alamodome, which may end up housing more of the displaced New Orleans residents. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to stick them in some neutral site on the east coast where they'd probably play before 20,000 people at most.

Instead, by playing at the Meadowlands, they'll probably have a full house, which is ultimately beneficial to the cause because I'm sure much of the gate will be donated to the cause. It'll also be played in the media capital of the world, which means more attention and hopefully even more donations to charity. Where the Saints go from here is anyone's guess, but I think this was the right decision.

by Corey (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 10:07pm

Unless the Saints plan on playing all their home games in the various home stadiums of their opponents, they're going to have to pick a neutral site eventually, so why wait? Pick one now and then the Giants and their rivals have nothing to discuss.

It will be interesting to see how much of a "Saints home game" and how much of a "Giants home game" they make this. Will the Saints cheerleaders be there? Will the scoreboard and PA announcer do the things usually intended to "pump up" the Giants fans? Will Giants season ticket holders, etc., receive priority for seats?

by PerlStalker (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 10:17pm

re 3: It's unfair because every other team in the division (and the league for that matter) have 8 home games while the Giants get 9. If it's true that a team is more likely to win at home, this is a definite advantage to the Giants. Of course, if NYG loses, then it matter much. If they win, then we could be in for an excessive amount of tongue wagging about the advantage.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 10:26pm

I’d like to see the Saints in San Antonio myself.

One of the concerns that the NFL stated was that the locals in the Gulf Coast need resources more than the NFL does. The stadium in San Antonio could be used for housing refugees (and it probably will).

Later in the season is a different thing, but I do agree with that logic. I don't think that giving the Giants an extra home game is that much of a difference. I'd still be extremely happy if they offered free tickets to any resident of New Orleans.

I also really hope that the Saints don't move cities after this. That city will need something to rally around.

by robbie wellsville (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 10:39pm

"I also really hope that the Saints don’t move cities after this. That city will need something to rally around."

I know nothing warms my heart more than an ass-terrible football team.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 10:48pm

I said absolutely nothing about the 49ers moving to New Orleans!

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 11:00pm

Re #5: Well, perhaps I speak a bit strongly, and I take your point, but at the same time it does seem a bit petty to complain about the Saints playing in New York once. I mean, just decide somewhere and let them play. And while I'm not one for making a metaphor out of or a connective example from the world of sports, this issue and the New Orleans crisis are already very much linked. I think it would be petty for Giants rivals to complain for the same reasons I think it would be petty for Giants fans to gloat...it's disrespectful to what happened in New Orleans.

by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 11:11pm


As a league, we have contributed to that effort, and as an organization, we will continue to do the same. We think the league's decision to move our game with the Saints to Giants Stadium will allow us an even greater opportunity to contribute.

I think the sales of tickets for that game will probably go towards the relief efforts. If that's the case, then it's a good thing they're playing in the Meadowlands. The ticket count will likely be much higher in an NFL town.

by fyo (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 11:38pm

8: "re 3: It’s unfair because every other team in the division (and the league for that matter) have 8 home games while the Giants get 9."

The Giants play the Saints twice. You, and everyone else here it seems, are assuming that the two teams haven't simply switched home games. I don't see Tagliabue's statement as being anything resembling clear on the issue.

by Athelas (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 11:40pm

The Saints play the Giants twice? When is the 2nd game (not on my schedule)?

by marc (not verified) :: Fri, 09/02/2005 - 11:48pm

"The Saints play the Giants twice? When is the 2nd game (not on my schedule)?"

They don't play twice, they are in different divisions. Anyone who somehow interpreted this as involving two giants/saints games needs to learn to read. The URL linked in my name on this post is to the Saints' schedule. The only thing this does is move that game to New Jersey that weekend sometime. I have no idea where you loonies got this 2nd game idea.

by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 1:09am

I'm no fan of Paul Tagliabue and certainly no fan of New York, but this particular game was moved to New York because, it being as soon as it is and the entire southeastern U.S. in total upheaval, there is really no other choice. By October 2 they'll probably be ready to play the rest of their "home" games in San Antonio, maybe even Baton Rouge.

by Jeff F (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 1:12am

Okay, so, from a sports/balance perspective, the Giants were just given a nickel.

In the grand scheme of things, does this matter at all? There are much more important things at hand than whether one sports team will get an edge in one game. The Saints might not be playing at home, but hopefully the crowds will cheer for them nontheless.

by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 1:34am

Re #12: a considered, well-said reply. thanks. it probably was the strength of the original tone that compelled me to post.

Re: #13: would be a great gesture.

i do find it odd that the nfl didn't release more of the details when making the announcement.

by Patrick Bateman (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 1:38am

First off, a measley million bucks from the megamillionaire NFL is a cheap sum. I hope to see that number inflated very shortly.

Secondly, I am a Giants season ticket holder. I don't want to get priority seats from that game. I want big spenders there. I want celebrities, musicians, politicians and their families, CEOs, Rudy Giuliani, Bill Clinton, the New York Yankees and George Steinbrenner there. I want a "Help N.O.!" charity game with expensive tickets. I want to see the NFL GVING Saints jerseys away if they have to. I want every d mn penny of profit to go to charity, and as much more as people can spare.

As for the competetive advantage issue, well, have you seen the Giants in the last few seasons? They're not exactly burning things up at home, you know. They won all of one (!) home game in '03, and did a little better in '04, but still have a losing record at home over the last two seasons. I don't think it's quite as big an advantage as it's being portrayed.

Finally, I'm from Jersey. I know this area well, and I know the people who live here. I honestly do not think that we here are going to treat the Saints badly at all; in fact, I expect more than a little outpouring of support for the team. It ought to be played with the Giants as visitors and with as much of the Saints' apparatus in place as possible.

What I would love to see the NFL do is fly in ticketholders from the NO area....there are plenty of hotels around here, and doing something--anything!--to get people out of that area is a good thing. I would love to see a big contingent of Saints fans in the Meadowlands, escaping the wretchedness of the Gulf Coast for a little while.

I apologize if this is rambling or ill-considered, but I am tired and very, very angry and upset and frustrated about this whole situation.

by Russell (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 8:22am

I'm sure the NFL will go all out to make it appear like it's a Saints home game. They'll be in home unis, on the home sideline, and I wouldn't be surprised if they manage to get "Saints" painted in the end zones.

They'll turn this game into one big charity function for Hurricane relief, and I know people in this area (I live about 10 miles from the Meadowlands) will embrace the Saints, much as I recall Chiefs fans giving the Giants a standing O in KC after 9/11. Sure, it's just a silly symbolic gesture, but a nice one nonetheless.

BTW -- thanks to everyone who continues to donate to the Red Cross and send their receipts to katrina@footballoutsiders.com. We've received well over $6,000 in donation receipts so far. Remember, every donation of $10 or more (more is better) gets you our exclusive KUBIAK fantasy projections. Click here for details.

by Towwb (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 12:47pm

So, what's this do for the rest of the schedule? NO was supposed to play Carolina for the opener, and the Giants were set to play the Cards. Does this just mean that Arizona's facing Carolina this weekend?

by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 1:18pm

So, what’s this do for the rest of the schedule? NO was supposed to play Carolina for the opener, and the Giants were set to play the Cards. Does this just mean that Arizona’s facing Carolina this weekend?

This article is about the Saints' HOME opener, the 2nd weekend of the season, scheduled against the Giants. The only thing that has changed is the location.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 4:59pm

I think it's sad that anyone would care about if the Giants get "an extra home game".

This is, however enjoyable, meaningless entertainment.

The most logical move would be to let them play in New Jersey, and worry about the next move after. The game should be a huge donation effort for the victims, and that's where the concern should lie.

Regardless, I don't think the home dynamic is going to change much. There will be a ton of New Orleans support and I wouldn't be suprised if New Orleans gets more applause than the Giants.

As much as I love sports, and especially football, these games are largely irrelevant.

That's doesn't mean to insult anyone for watching and enjoying them. That doesn't mean to insult anyone's opinion when it comes to what they should do, only when you say things like "This is, frankly, stupid."

To have so much passion for the simple issue is a lesson in priorities.

Aside - I always enjoy reading the comments of the people included in this like MDS. I just find the emotion given to a simple thing like this striking.

by marc (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 6:43pm

"This is, however enjoyable, meaningless entertainment...
As much as I love sports, and especially football, these games are largely irrelevant."

I understand where you're coming from, but I completely disagree. You're calling people's livelihood meaningless and irrelevant. The NFL is a huge enterprise which feeds other enterprises(media, merchandisers, etc). In a very real way many human lives depend on these games.

by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 10:55pm


When it comes to the situation in New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast, the fact that the Giants may get an extra football game at home is irrelevant in comparison. Or do you think it's more important than the fact that there are people with assault rifles in New Orleans, impeding the progress of those who are trying to help?

Anyways, I'm flying back from Kyrgyzstan a lil bit early to go back to Keesler AFB (where I am stationed) in order to work on some of the comm lines. I'll let you guys know if I have an apt. still or not when I get there....

by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2005 - 11:31pm

The fact that the situation in New Orleans is substantially more significant than the site of a football game just does not categorically excuse any and all criticism of the NFL's decision as to where to play the Saints home game.

by Gatts (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 12:52am

Hurry up and move already so I can start rooting for the damned Texans.

Oh god, they better not start showing Cowboys games here. I'll be pissed.

by J-Diddy (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 2:41am

I just heard on the news that the Saints might play their season here(Mobile, AL) at Ladd Peebles Stadium... about a mile from my house. I don't know how serious this is... but that is where the Senior Bowl is played.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 3:35am

This is STUPID! Why should the Giants get an extra home game?!?!!

Why not play it in Dallas, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Carolina, Miami, Jacksonville, Tennesee? Truly "neutral" areas! The only reason it's in New York is because it is a guaranteed sell out...

Full disclosure, I'm a Redskins fan...

by Marc (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 3:56am

re #26
If you're simpleminded enough that you must cast either of the two scenarios as DEFINITELY MORE IMPORTANT EVERYTHING ELSE IS NOTHING then the art of discourse is not for you buddy. The only contention I made in my post was that the NFL is actually very important to a lot of people. Two seperate issues, in this case a natural disaster and the people involved, and NFL games and the people involved, can both have importance. If you can find in my post where I denigrated at all the importance of the disaster and relief efforts then you'll have a point worth making against me. But you won't find such an instance because it's not there.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 5:24am

I won't elaborate further, but I think we all need to remember that we are intelligent adults, and that we can discuss things without resorting to anger.


by jack (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 5:49am

re #32, if you actually think that everyone posting here is both intelligent, and an adult, then wow, you must be new to the internet. Hell, this discussion alone has already had multiple instances of people horribly misunderstanding clear English.

by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 3:08pm


Sorry, I did come off a bit rude, but being that I live in Biloxi, this thing slightly hits close to home. No scratch that...it DID hit home. So I apologize for the extreme response.
I will say though, that "irrelevant" isn't an absolute value...it's relative. So the fact that you think they get an extra home game may be quite relevant to you, and completely irrelevant to someone else.

It's much more irrelevant to me (being a Pats fan) to discuss the unfairness of an extra home game, than to discuss what could be done for the Saints to help them out throughout this season. That seems like it has greater relevance to me.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 3:38pm

The only reason it’s in New York is because it is a guaranteed sell out…

And if the profits (or even a cut of the profits) go to New Orleans charities, I think it's perfectly fine.

It's a minor benefit to the Giants - probably even less than you think, since Giants fans probably won't be given priority in tickets. But it's much more of a benefit to New Orleans charities, which is, of course, more important.

by marc (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 6:16pm

"I will say though, that “irrelevant� isn’t an absolute value…it’s relative. So the fact that you think they get an extra home game may be quite relevant to you, and completely irrelevant to someone else."
Ok, your reading comprehension is worse than I thought. My post had nothing to do with the specific issue of the Giants playing another game in NJ, the issue that I find relevant is that the NFL supports the livelihoods of many, many, many people that we never even see. Ticket takers, custodians, ushers, hot dog sellers, security, cheerleaders, equipment managers, scoreboard operators, secretaries, groundskeepers, etc, in 32 different cities across the country. These people and their families quite literally depend on the NFL for survival. Please take notice that I never once mentioned players, coaches, or other relatively wealthy celebrity types. There are countless people all over America whose basic means of earning a living and supporting their families is being dismissed as irrelevant and pointless entertainment and I personally find that offensive. Sure a monstrous tragedy occured in the gulf coast region, but people elsewhere in America have no choice but to continue living their lives, and people like you are insulting them for doing so.

by Reinhard (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 7:04pm

Saying that there aren't any other possible sites... let me name a few.

Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, Jacksonville are good to go. (Those sites are reasonably close?) Same with San Francisco (they are practicing in SJ, right?)

And there are about ten more, all with proven facilities for hosting a pro football game.

by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 7:14pm

Patrick is definitely right. I remember when they announced that the NFL was donating $1 mil, at the same time that the Yankess donated $1 mil. And I thought, Ok, but that's the Yankees. Now word comes out that the Milwaukee Bucks are going to donate $500K. If the Milwaukee Bucks are donating $500K, the $1 mil donation by the NFL seems kind of cheap.

by bobsy jenkinz (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 7:31pm

"If the Milwaukee Bucks are donating $500K, the $1 mil donation by the NFL seems kind of cheap."
Clearly the only appropriate step is to immediately transfer all money in North America to the red cross, which will then be able to donate the money back to the rest of North America to relieve the crippling depression brought on by overdonating to please idiots on the internet.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2005 - 8:11pm

Now that I think about it... the best place for it to be would be Washington. You could jack up the ticket prices and make it a "fund raising" event, the President and other political people could be there, refugees could be flown in, and since FedEx field has the largest seating capacity you would be sure to sell out the whole place.. thus providing you with the biggest bang for the buck. Have Kanye West sing live on MTV during halftime.

Also, any fans in attendence will be rooting for the Saints, or against the Giants.

Someone come up with good enough case for having it in New York....

by Jerry (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 6:50pm

There are (at least) 15 NFL stadia dark on any given weekend. If the Saints aren't in a permanent temporary home :), it shouldn't be hard to find an NFL city where solid sellouts have created excess demand that would love to see a real game. Giving the Giants (or anyone else) an extra home game seems unnecessary.

And LnGrrrR, we all recognize that what you're going back to in Biloxi (or leaving in Kyrgyzstan) is more important than football, and we wish you the best, but that doesn't mean we can't discuss the implications of football decisions within their own context.

by Johnny (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 8:11pm

I feel vindicated (after getting slaughtered on the PFRA forum) by comments made by Jim Haslett and Bill Parcells. I was against the game being moved to New Jersey. Same with Haslett and Parcells.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 9:13pm

In the football realm, this would be significant if the Giants are fighting for a playoff spot. The extra home game does give an advantage in one game, which could prove significant later on. So if it's a close race involving the Giants, their competitors would have a legit gripe.

I think we can all agree that it's in the best interests of everyone involved if the Giants really suck again this year, so we don't have to have this discussion again in December. So come on Giants, aim for 6-10 or worse! I know you can do it! Deep down, so does Al.

by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2005 - 10:35pm

Thanks for the support. I fly back after four months here to a place that's worse than what I came from hehe. I'm going to be reconstituing the communication lines on base. I'll let you guys know how messed up it is in Biloxi firsthand when I get there.

As for football, I understand where you're coming from. I just feel irked when people seem to focus more on the Giants getting a home field advantage than the fact that the Saints need to play SOMEWHERE to get their feet off the ground. LSU is probably going to have to wait a lil while as Baton Rouge is still supporting New Orleans residents. I personally would prefer them playing in San Antonio, but I think to rip the league for setting a date is a bit harsh. Better that they set a date now so the Saints have something to focus on, than to just wait and wait and discuss and debate, and the Saints have to wait until three days before their game to find out where they're playing. It seems to me that many people have been whining, so to speak, but no one is providing constructive criticism on where they SHOULD play. It's easy to say, "The NFL shouldn't do this!" but it does no good unless you provide a viable alternative.

I see you're a real people person. When #25 said sports are irrelevant, I think we can all agree that we all know people make a living off of it. We're not stupid. From rereading the comment, it seemed (and if I'm wrong please correct me) as if he meant whether or not the game is played at Giants stadium, giving someone a competitive advantage, is irrelevant in comparison. Whether the Giants play one extra home game, in regards to the situation in New Orleans, is irrelevant.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/06/2005 - 7:03pm

To be fair, it's hard to know from this distance exactly which alternatives are viable. It looks like LSU is everybody's first choice, and I have no idea when it'll be available. I have read that Houston offered to host games, and as long as they're moving the Giants game to Monday, why not play it at the Texans' stadium and distribute a bunch of tickets to the folks in the Astrodome (who I believe would just have to walk across the parking lot)? Or play it Sunday in Washington, normally a solid sellout that won't feel like a Giants home game?

by Jerry (not verified) :: Sun, 09/11/2005 - 10:25pm

For the record, tickets in New Jersey are being offered, in order, to Saints season ticket holders, Giants season ticket holders, Giants wait listees, and the general public. If you're going to move the game to Jersey, why not at least bypass the (Giants) season ticket holders and just open it up to the general public, so people who don't ordinarily get to see games have a chance?