The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


The Saints can’t consider San Antonio as a permanent home

My whole family is from Louisiana. My mom’s side of the family is from Shreveport and my dad’s side is from New Orleans. Everybody that was in New Orleans went to stay with family in Baton Rouge, so they are all okay, though their houses are a different story.

Needless to say, I was concerned about my family’s wellbeing. I have been glued to CNN for the past few days, and after seeing and hearing the same stories over and over again I got to thinking about other things to get my mind off recent events. This lead me to the upcoming NFL season, and this of course lead me back to New Orleans.

The Superdome, currently the home of thousands of refugees, is also the home of the New Orleans Saints, Tulane’s football team and the Hornets’ basketball team. While basketball is still a ways off, football is here now. The Saints are finishing up preseason in California and are then expected to head to San Antonio, Texas to set up team operations. Tulane’s football team is in Dallas and is going to practice at SMU.

Though my family is from Louisiana, I am a Texan, born and raised in Dallas, and I am very proud of how this state has responded to the needs of our neighbors. SMU is helping our new Conference USA rival, Tulane, who we are scheduled to play Sept. 24. The City of San Antonio, the Alamodome and Trinity University are helping out the Saints. Most importantly, the city of Houston has opened up the Astrodome for refugees coming from the Superdome. The owner of the Houston Texans also offered Reliant Stadium to the homeless Saints in addition to the other types of humanitarian aid coming from Texas.

The Saints have considered many different places for homes this season. LSU’s 92,000-seat Tiger Stadium is an option, but LSU has other problems to deal with besides the Saints. LSU has already pushed classes back to Sept. 6 and postponed its first football game against North Texas because the facilities on campus are being used for humanitarian relief. The mayor of Orlando offered the seldom-used Citrus Bowl, but the Saints seem more interested in San Antonio since they spent some time there after Hurricane Ivan.

Other sites that have been mentioned are Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. and even places like The Coliseum in Los Angeles. The NFL would like to see the Saints stay as close to home as possible. While the 550 mile distance from New Orleans to San Antonio is not ideal, it will do.

Like I said earlier, I am a Texan and very proud that the City of San Antonio is willing to help out. The Saints owner reportedly owns a house and a couple of car dealerships in San Antonio and has always considered the city as a possible new home for the Saints if they were to ever leave New Orleans. This was not out of the question even before the hurricane and the Saints owner has been campaigning for a new stadium for awhile.

While it would be cool to have a third NFL team in Texas, I think this should only be a temporary solution, if even that. The Saints are from New Orleans and are to New Orleans like the Yankees are to New York. Nobody talked about moving the Yankees to New Jersey or Pennsylvania after Sept. 11. I do not think it is right for the owner of the Saints to sneak his team out of the state just because of some bad times. Even if it does take years to rebuild New Orleans, there are other places in Louisiana that can support an NFL team.

I also hate how everybody has just looked over the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. The stadium has just been updated and seats 53,000 people, only about 10,000 less than the Superdome. Secondly, other than a few random Louisiana Tech and high school football games, the stadium is pretty much vacant until December, when it hosts the Independence Bowl. Thirdly, it is in the state of Louisiana and home to many Saints fans. If they are not fans of the team, they probably would be if the Saints played there.

If 53,000 sounds small, I think they can pack more in that stadium. I remember when LSU played Notre Dame in the Independence Bowl and over 51,000 “Ragin’ Cajuns” packed the stadium, even before they remodeled it and put the end zone seats in.

Some people opposed to this might say that the Independence Bowl cannot host an NFL season because of the actual Independence Bowl in December. The site has already been thought of to host the Sugar Bowl that will be displaced if the Superdome and New Orleans are not up and running by January. Yes, it is probable that New Orleans will be cleaned up before January, but will there be enough hotels and other supporting services to host the hundreds of thousands of people that will be showing up to party for the game? Even if they can, will the city and its residents want to?

The city of Shreveport can also host two bowl games. New Orleans has done it for the past few years. The little-known New Orleans Bowl is played in December and the BCS Sugar Bowl is played in January. Do the same thing in Shreveport. Play the Independence Bowl in December and the Sugar Bowl there in January. This would not be an easy change for Shreveport, but it would be a welcome one. It would most certainly boost the economy.

Most importantly, it would allow the Saints to stay in Louisiana where they belong. People look forward to football season every year. People in New Orleans will look to the Saints as a source of pride this year just like New Yorkers looked to the Yankees after Sept. 11.

We shouldn’t steal someone else’s team in their time of need. How would we feel if a tornado took out Texas Stadium and the Cowboys up and moved somewhere else? I know, being from Texas, how it felt when the Houston Oilers moved to Tennessee. Many of the people in New Orleans lost everything, so don’t take their football team from them, too.

Pat Bentel is a senior sociology major. He may be contacted at [email protected].

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