The National Football League's New Orleans Saints find themselves homeless after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana city and much of the neighboring region. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue says it is not likely the Saints will play in New Orleans this season.
The National Football League regular season kicks off this week. For most teams, it means eight games at home and eight games on the road. But for the New Orleans Saints, the season looks to be 16 weeks of endless travel.
The Saints were scheduled to open their season Sunday in Charlotte, North Carolina against the Carolina Panthers. The NFL commissioner moved the first home game against the Giants to New York. A date for that game, originally scheduled for September 18, is pending.
Despite the huge disadvantage, Saints coach Jim Haslett is optimistic. "It is a hard situation. Especially what the commissioner did, putting us behind the eight ball, playing the first game on the road. We just went to Oakland for a week. Now, we are going to go to Carolina, and we are going to go to the Giants and Minnesota. But, you know what, our players are pretty resilient. And our guys are close. And we are going to find a way to overcome this," he said.
The Superdome in downtown New Orleans was the team's home field. Hurricane Katrina changed that last week. The massive indoor facility was used to shelter thousands of residents who did not, or could not evacuate before the storm. Now, it is surrounded by flood water, and filled with trash and waste. High winds also ripped apart sections of the roof.
The Saints team is currently based in San Antonio, Texas. A decision on a temporary home field has not been made. Three locations are under consideration. But none are close to New Orleans.