FRISCO – The Dallas-Fort Worth area could have two NFL teams to start the 2021 season.
The New Orleans Saints arrived in the region on Saturday, as a precaution against Hurricane Ida on the Louisiana coast, to practice at AT&T Stadium at the invitation of the Cowboys.
The question now, and one that will be difficult to answer, is how long they will stay.
New Orleans and much of southern Louisiana suffered the ravages of the hurricane and its consequences will feel good weather. Estimates suggest the city could be without power for several weeks and could affect the Saints’ regular season opener on Sept. 12 against the Green Bay Packers.
Saints coach Sean Payton said there was a chance they could not return to their city for at least a month.
“I think we are looking at the first quarter of the season, the first four weeks, knowing that we can always adjust, if needed,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “Certainly, we know it will be at least a couple of weeks.”
Details are still up, but it seems possible that the Saints will continue their base in the area.
In addition to being able to use AT&T Stadium, Payton also mentioned that two top-tier universities, TCU in Fort Worth and SMU in Dallas, have already contacted the organization and offered to help the Saints use their football facilities.
“A big city with two airports that gives you a lot of flexibility,” said Payton. “At the local level, TCU and SMU reached out and would love to be part of the help and welcome us. So we are beginning to reach certain decisions that make a lot of sense and that in principle we were opposed.”
The Saints are scheduled to host the Packers on September 12 at their Caesars Superdome, but it doesn’t look like it will be possible.
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday morning that the game could be played at AT&T Stadium.
“It certainly is possible,” Jones said. “We are in discussions. There are a lot of moving parts.”
Either way, Jones said he will continue to explore ways to help his neighbors as the situation unfolds.
“I’ve spent a lot of my life in Louisiana and I’ve done a lot of my professional business in Louisiana,” he said, “So I have a lot of friends there and I’m proud of the affinity Louisiana has for the Cowboys. So this is going to work. “.