Driven from their home field because of Hurricane Ida, the New Orleans Saints will return to the Caesars Superdome for a Week 4 battle against the New York Giants.
Saints coach Sean Payton told ESPN that the team would stay in Dallas to practice before making the seven-hour drive home to the Big Easy.
Since the Aug. 28 hurricane battered New Orleans, the team has spent three weeks in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Hurricane Wrecks New Orleans Life
At the end of August, Hurricane Ida packed a punch, knocking out power and cutting off service to many Louisiana residents. However, the 73,208-seat, 46-year-old Caesars Superdome did not suffer any significant damage.
The Saints’ season-opening game against the Packers moved to Jacksonville, Fla. The team went on to convincingly beat Green Bay, 38-3.
The team’s next two games (Week 2, Carolina) and (Week 3, New England) are on the road.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina forced the Payton and the Saints to San Antonio’s Alamodome. The 64,000-seat domed indoor multi-purpose stadium hosted practices and four regular-season games.
The team also played at Lousiana State University and had a “home” game at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.
At the time, CNN reported that officials would have to raze the damaged Superdome. But as time went on, city officials were able to make repairs.
In 2009, the Associated Press reported that the team extended its lease to stay in the Superdome until 2025.
Saints Huddle In Dallas
During the first week, the Saints have practiced in AT&T Stadium. After that, the team snuck off to nearby Texas Christian University for two weeks of practice.
The team gave TCU a game ball for helping them out with the accommodations. Payton said the Saints would leave early for their New England battle due to the long trip.
Game Ball from Coach Peyton and the Saints! Thank you and congratulations on the win! Their organization has been thru alot pic.twitter.com/pOypiSbH7x— Gary Patterson (@TCUCoachP) September 16, 2021
This week, the team faces more adversity. According to team officials, six assistant coaches have been affected in a COVID-19 outbreak.
Starting quarterback Jameis Winston praised Payton in his handling of arrangements. He admits Payton will have to do more with less but knows his coach is up to the task.
“I think it fell right into how we’ve been adjusting here in Dallas,” Winston said. “One thing I admire about our head coach, he doesn’t blink an eye.”
Winston said Payton embraces challenging situations and bonds with the team. The quarterback says the players “just team up” and “we roll with (Payton).”
Payton A Great Crisis Manager
The Saints’ coach has dealt with many issues over his time with the team.
According to USA Today, Payton is one of the NFL’s best football strategy guys. He’s moved the team around after hurricanes and personal issues like his mother’s death.
This year, he’s got a new quarterback in Winston after having former league MVP Drew Brees for many years.
All the while, he’s had the Saints atop the NFC South standings regularly.