Brian Allee-Walsh

New Orleans Saints, NFL fans can read between the signs

Saints fans march through city to boycott Super Bowl

New Orleans Saints fans still aren't over the officiating in the NFC Championship, as the took to the streets to protest the Rams taking on the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.
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New Orleans Saints fans still aren't over the officiating in the NFC Championship, as the took to the streets to protest the Rams taking on the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

Two news items caught my eye this week, one pertaining to the New Orleans Saints and the other involving the league in which they play, the National Football League.

On Wednesday, 35 Louisiana Senators unanimously passed a bill proposed by Sen. Wesley Bishop (D-New Orleans) that would place welcome signs along Interstate-10 at the Texas and Mississippi state lines declaring people have entered Saints country.

More specifically, signage would inform motorists they have entered “The Home of the Who Dat Nation.’‘

There is one catch: In order for the signs to be installed, the signs must be paid by local or private dollars. A simple “Fund Me’‘ campaign would generate the necessary money within minutes.

My question is this: Why stop there? Why not place similar Saints welcome signs along Interstate-20 in North Louisiana at the Texas and Mississippi state lines. Who Dat Nation has no boundaries, especially when it comes to the Pelican State. Unless, of course, people and politicians from North Louisiana reserve a warm spot in their hearts for the — dare I say — Dallas Cowboys!

Let’s go a step farther. Who Dat Nation stretches clear across the Gulf Coast, through Mississippi, Alabama and into Florida, united in part by Interstate-10. Why Sen. Bishop should take his case to fellow lawmakers in those neighboring states since he has so much free time on his hands!

As if our lawmakers don’t have better things to do. As if there aren’t enough signs along our interstates. It reminds of the 1971 hit song by Five Man Electrical Band: “Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign, Blockin’ Out the Scenery, Breakin’ My Mind, Do This, Don’t Do That, Can’t You Read The Sign?’‘

With regards to the NFL, talk is beginning to heat up of a possible work stoppage in 2021 once the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires following the ‘20 season.

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith advised NFL agents via email to tell their clients to budget their income to account for a player strike or lockout by ownership.

Smith’s warning seems a bit premature, though negotiations are widely expected to be contentious and fueled in part with talk of owners seeking an 18-game schedule.

Smith is doing his job and trying to get the players to actively begin pinching their pennies, or hundreds, or thousands, or hundreds of thousands, even millions depending on the player’s income. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

I heard Smith reach out to his players.

But I didn’t hear a peep from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. I didn’t hear Goodell advising his 32 team owners to start budgeting their millions and billions of income in anticipation of pro football’s Armageddon. At the very least, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft might be advised to cut out visits to Florida day spas.

Fans, too, should be forewarned. They may face Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays without football in the fall of 2021. It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds.

I hope I’m wrong.

But all the early signs say I’m right.

Brian Allee-Walsh, a longtime Saints reporter based in New Orleans, can be reached at sports@sunherald.com.
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