Friday, September 02, 2005

Slow Marchin' for the Saints

Where do the Saints go marchin’ now? Paul Tagliabue, the Commissioner of the NFL, said yesterday that it's highly unlikely that the New Orleans Saints will play in New Orleans this season after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina on the city and surrounding areas. Commissioner Tagliabue did say however that playing the Saints home games in Louisiana is a top priority – possibly at LSU in Baton Rouge.

The Saints will head to San Antonio, Texas tomorrow and Sunday and practice there to get prepared for their September 11th regular-season opener at Carolina. The team has spent the last week in San Jose, California and played their final exhibition last night at the Raiders. The Saints still don’t know where they will play their home opener that is scheduled for September 18th against the New York Giants. The New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority and the New York Giants have graciously offered to play the game on Monday, September 19th at Giants Stadium in New Jersey. The reason for the Monday game is that the Jets play at home on the 18th against the Dolphins. Another option is for the Saints to play their entire home schedule in San Antonio at the Alamodome which can seat 65,000 people.

“Our assumption is that for planning purposes, we should assume it will be difficult if not impossible to play in New Orleans at all this year." Paul Tagliabue, NFL Commissioner

Commissioner Tagliabue said on Wednesday that the NFL is donating $1 million to the recovery and relief effort. Yesterday, Executive Director of the NFL Players Association Gene Upshaw released a statement saying that the Players Association would help in the effort as well.

What a terrible disaster for the entire Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama region. As sports fans we read and hear about how the Saints and many college teams are being displaced. We hear about how players like Brett Favre, Steve McNair, Tank Williams and Marshall Faulk’s families and hometowns have been affected so gravely. I hope the NFL and the rest of the sporting world really understands that life comes first. I applaud the Giants for trying to make a change to help their opponents and hope that the entire country can give support to people that have had their lives turned upside down and in many cases ruined.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Great Texas Team Gets Even Better

Michael Finley chose to stay in the Lone Star State when he signed with the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs yesterday. The 32-year old Finley joins his former Dallas teammate Nick Van Excel as two big pieces towards helping the Spurs win a fourth NBA title in just eight years. The Spurs think Finley will give them much needed points and energy off the bench and can also count on him to be another solid starter in place of either Bruce Bowen or Manu Ginobili.

The specifics of the deal haven’t been finalized, including the length of the contract, but Finley will receive a starting salary of approximately $2.5 million this season. Finley was free for the taking after Dallas decided they should waive Finley earlier this summer. The NBA Amnesty clause will spare Dallas future luxury-tax payments on almost $52 million it still needs to pay him. He was courted heavily by several teams including the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns, two teams that expect to be in the hunt for next year’s championship.

I think this deal along with the resigning of Robert “Big Shot Bob” Horry and the signing of Nick Van Excel will put the Spurs right back on top of the NBA. It should be interesting to see Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Ginobili, Horry and the new additions take aim for another title.