The Monstrosity of Leaving The Big Easy

Currently, the New Orleans Saints — we have to keep reminding ourselves that New Orleans had a football team, and that they still exist right now — are denying CNN's reports that the Superdome will have to be torn down, but whether CNN is right or not, the team still needs someplace to play right now. The Saints' first "home" game will be played against the Giants at Giants Stadium; after that, it appears the team will split time between Baton Rouge and San Antonio.

Thing is, though: We need a little visit from the Backstory Fairy. The backstory is that Saints owner Tom Benson has been threatening to move the team to San Antonio — where he has many business interests; why, yes, one of those businesses is used cars, how did you know? — for years if the city of New Orleans didn't build him a new football stadium. Considering the odds of New Orleans paying for a millionaire's new toy right now are about the odds of them erecting a statue of President Bush, and considering Benson's already-cloying private remarks to a Louisiana senator about the feasibility of a permanent San Antonio solution, well ... the man could be on the cusp of the asshole owner move to end all asshole owner moves.

And wouldn't you know it: The city is already calling him on it. In an editorial in the online Times-Picayune, the paper demands Benson announce right now that the Saints will stay in New Orleans.

It is difficult to believe Mr. Benson would want to leave, despite reports to the contrary. He has talked in recent months about how much he loves New Orleans, about his desire to stay here, and we take him at his word.

Before Katrina, Saints fans wanted their team to stay. Now they need it to stay.

Your move, Benson: You a hero, or a monster? Very rare does a public decision reveal the former or the latter so definitively.

Please Don't Go, Mr. Benson [NOLA]
Two Cities Likely To Split Saints [Washington Post]
Superdome Will Have To Be Torn Down [CNN]