Sunday, December 18, 2005


Fans of the New Orleans Saints have a new dark lord: Tom Benson. He has been dubbed "Satantonio" for his desire to take the Saints away from the Crescent City.

Before last week, Benson had been non-committal about his post-Katrina plans. He took out an ad in the Times-Picayune saying "Tom Benson wants to stay in New Orleans," but didn't promise a return, blaming the city's crippled economy.

He made it official Dec. 16. He intends to file an appeal of a decision from the NFL which may send the Saints back to their New Orleans-area practice facility.

If filing an appeal doesn't draw a line in the sand, the Mailbox doesn't know what does. Talking heads on sports radio were quick to point out that the team is a business and that Benson has to make profitable decisions. The Mailbox would like to remind those idiots that an NFL team is not just a business--it is a football business. Different rules apply, because profits are almost guaranteed. When a team comes to town, more business follows. An NFL team is usually the top draw in a city.

New Orleans will change over the next few years. It's going to get more white and more rich. Benson has the chance to profit hugely just by being the anchor that holds the Big Easy's economy close to shore. If he does the right thing, that is, and stays in New Orleans. And the NFL has every right to compel Benson to stay.

Two more Saints-related thing: The Mailbox really likes Joe Horn and his candidness. And the Mailbox hated to see Brooks benched, especially since his replacement threw four interceptions this Sunday. Brooks signed a football helmet for the Mailbox after a tough, ref-decided loss to the Rams. He's a class guy.

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