Could the Saints wind up moving for good?
With all the unfortunate happenings of Hurricane Katrina (which I've done a few posts on in the thread for Hurricane Katrina in Current Events), which now includes the Superdome's roof deteriorating, I'm wondering if this is the last straw for the Saints, and they may have played their last game in New Orleans.
There had been talk earlier this year of the Saints moving possibly to Los Angeles, and I'm wondering if the Superdome is unusable this year, would the Saints just move to LA immediately on a permanent basis? The NFL can't stop such a move, and it would not be unprecedented (in baseball, the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee for the 1953 season on extremely short notice and the Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers I believe right before the 1970 season started).
It would be sad if that turned out to be true.
Superdome will have to be torn down
The Saints have probably played their last game in New Orleans, at least for a long time:
It's been reported that the Superdome in New Orleans will have to be torn down. While it survived the storm, the flooding and everything else apparently make it structurally unsound to continue using it, even if attempts were made to repair the building.
As for this season, you know by now their "home" opener will be at Giants Stadium on September 19, and at the most they will be able to play 3-4 games at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. They want to play the others in San Antonio, but the NFL doesn't want to do that fearing poor attendance.
I'm suspecting the Saints will move after this season to either San Antonio (since Saints owner Tom Benson has many business ties to San Antonio as it is) or Los Angeles, where it had been rumored they might be heading earlier this year when negotiations broke down on a new lease at the Superdome (and something the networks would love to see because an LA team would allow the networks to charge advertisers more for ads on game telecasts).
If they do remain in Louisiana, they likely will have to share Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge with LSU for at least 3-4 seasons and maybe more, as it would take at least that long to tear down the Superdome and build its replacement on that site. Obviously, that is trivial right now compared to everything else going on down there, but it still nonetheless is a major issue if New Orleans is going to recover because the Superdome is extremely important to the economy of New Orleans.
Saints to play in San Antonio in 2006, possibly LA after that
Time to update this again:
An ESPN.com article noted that the Saints are likely to play the 2006 season at the Alamodome in San Antonio, and it's very possible that will become their permanent home, or they will move to Los Angeles for the 2007 season. You can see the article by clicking this link.
I'm not surprised at all this is happening, as the Superdome is likely going to need 2-3 years to repair if it's usable again, and if its torn down and replaced, that will likely take 4-5 years minimum.
I'm suspecting the NFL as much as they don't want to do it with New Orleans may be forced to let the current Saints team move to San Antonio or LA, but change the team name (with if in San Antonio my choice being their using the name of the old USFL team there, the Gunslingers), with New Orleans awarded a new team that would take on the Saints name when either the Superdome can be re-opened or when a new facility can be built.