Report: Saints won’t visit Tiger Stadium until at least Week 11

John Sigler
·2 min read

If the New Orleans Saints are going to begin playing home games up the road at LSU’s Tiger Stadium, they won’t start until Week 11. The Athletic’s Jeff Duncan reports that the Saints will remain at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for Week 7’s game against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 25 after discussions between the Saints and LSU identified too many logistical issues in moving now.

The Saints are scheduled to play Carolina the day after a night game at Tiger Stadium between LSU and South Carolina, which is also the case for the next Saints home game (Week 10’s matchup with the San Francisco 49ers follows an LSU night game against Alabama). That’s too quick of a turnaround to clean and sanitize the stadium — and repair any wear and tear to the field — before another game could be played there, making Nov. 22’s Saints home game versus the Atlanta Falcons the soonest possible relocation.

This all follows a gambit by the Saints to try and force New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s hand in giving them the green light to fill the Superdome stands at up to 25% capacity. While 15 of the NFL’s 32 teams have received that permission from state and local authorities amid the COVID-19 pandemic that is steadily marching towards claiming 250,000 American lives, none of the league’s venues with a fixed roof have been given clearance. Cantrell refused to become the first local government to break that trend, so the Saints opened a dialogue with LSU leadership to possibly play home games out of town so fans could gather and watch.

Games have been played in front of spectators at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium and the Houston Texans’ NRG Stadium, as well as Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, but each of those venues features a retractable roof that’s been opened for their games. The Saints have publicly argued that they should be allowed to host fans because those indoor venues did so, but it’s a bunk argument because the Superdome does not have an open-air option.

So for now the Saints will have to work in New Orleans just like every other business, working within the constraints put on them by the mayor’s office in the interest of public health. Maybe the situation will be different in a few months, but without a viable, widely-available vaccine or a stark shift in stance from Cantrell it doesn’t appear Saints fans will be cheering their team’s offense and booing its defense in large numbers any time soon.

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