The New Orleans Saints evacuated to Dallas a few days ago in preparation for Hurricane Ida to make landfall.
The storm rolled through and the entire region is now dealing with the fallout.
While the Superdome may have made it out fine, it would likely not be possible or even morally right to host a game there in less than two weeks.
The NFL has thus decided to have the team’s Week 1 game against the Green Bay Packers played in Jacksonville.
NFL officially announced that the New Orleans Saints opening game of the 2021 season against the Green Bay Packers will be played in Jacksonville, Florida at TIAA Bank Field, on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 4:25 p.m. ET.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 1, 2021
While this is a bummer for fans planning to attend, this is still closer to New Orleans than other options available.
A Fair Consolation
An ESPN report on the matter mentioned those in the Packers organization saying they wish they could have hosted.
Obviously, the Saints would never go for that as it would just give the Packers a free home game.
Jacksonville does present challenges of high temperatures, compared to the cool air inside the Superdome, but it is still a fine option.
Playing in Dallas would have been ideal, if not for a concert that made that impossible.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 1, 2021
And if the Packers complain about the change of venue, it’s not like Jacksonville is some random city.
They have an NFL franchise and playing there in September is always a possibility.
The Schedule Ahead
The Saints are lucky with their schedule as their next home game does not come until October 3.
If all goes well, that should mean the team can play its true home opener that day against the New York Giants.
The issue in the region is widespread power outages, not to mention the fact so many communities were affected.
It is not like the storm just rolled through and that was that.
Individuals are dealing with the fallout and even just hosting a game in a recovering city is not right.
Giving everyone a month to slowly recover should at least mean the game could serve as some sort of positive light amid all the damage and destruction.
The Saints organization is lucky enough to be able to evacuate so easily and can now keep the focus on football.
A Week 1 showdown with the Packers is tough no matter the venue, while a Week 2 game on the road against the Carolina Panthers is no joke either.
The Saints not being able to practice at home is also an added layer throughout the month of September.
Hurricane recovery is much bigger than football.
All the Saints can do is work hard and try to provide some positivity to their fans during this tough time.