Monday, 02 July 2012 16:34

99% fans will be in that number when New Orleans saints come rolling in

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tom benson saintsDespite the fallout from the Saints' bounty program and Drew Brees still unsigned, more than 99 per cent of the season-ticket holders have renewed.

A Wall Street Journal chart shows that the Saints lead the NFL when it comes to filling their stadium (and actually overfilling the Mercedes-Benz Superdome).

"New Orleans and Saints fans continue to defy odds and lead the league in over-all attendance by FAR," team spokesman Greg Bensel boasted on Twitter. "Saints fans are the best in the NFL -- bar none...even during a tough off-season, Saints fans continue to lead the way with a 99.6 per cent renewal rate and a waiting list to buy suites."

Saints fans have a history of showing resilience in much tougher situations than the team has faced this offseason. At the start of the 2006 season, after a year in which the team had been displaced by Katrina, the Saints fans filled the house for their first game back at the Superdome and gave their team one of the loudest reception that any home crowd has ever produced as they beat the Falcons on Monday in their home opener.

If the Who Dat Nation is anything like that for this year's opener, the Redskins and Robert Griffin III are in for a rough game in Week One.

Len Pasquarelli of the Sports Exchange has gathered quotes from unnamed franchise players and/or their unnamed agents regarding their reaction to Drew Brees' contention that the Saints' failure to sign him to a longterm deal traces to his role in last year's CBA talks. Per PCT, said one player: "Nothing against Drew, but he's kind of become the union's fair-haired boy." The agent for another franchise player said the NFLPA has been treating Brees "like some kind of a Messiah or something." The good news for Brees is that one person -- Pasquarelli -- is buying the story that Brees had nothing to do with the NFLPA's effort to claim that the Saints are trying to stick it to their star QB. Pasquarelli may be the only one who falls within that specific category...

Hornets' draft report card

Bleacher Report gives the Hornets a grade of A for picking Anthony Davis and a C for getting Austin Rivers in the first round: The Hornets didn't try to get fancy as took the top player in the draft in Anthony Davis, so they “aced” this grade. The Hornets had a chance to have a perfect draft by taking Kendall Marchall to run their offense, but they selected a selfish player in Austin Rivers, who won't be able to transition to point guard."...

It's fair to say Celtics coach Doc Rivers is very comfortable leaving his kid in the care of Hornets coach Monty Williams and GM Dell Demps. And even with Austin, the 10th over-all pick, he knows he won't have to deal with the same pressure as Anthony Davis, taken No. 1 by the Hornets. "I love Monty," said Rivers. "Honestly, with Monty and Dell we wouldn't have asked for more. I played with Monty and coached him, and then I played with Dell Demps, as well. It's like having a brother coach your son."...

News and notes

Devery Henderson will get more playing time with Robert Meachem now in San Diego. Henderson led the returning WRs in snaps last season. He finished second to (by only 17 snaps) Meachem, and, with Meachem gone, Henderson will see more snaps and should be good for more targets. Parting thought: "I changed my iPod's name to Titanic. It is syncing now."...

CBS still has a small amount of ad space available for next year's Super Bowl in New Orleans. CBS has sold 80 per cent of its ads for the big game, which has U.S. ratings records three years running. CBS is asking $3.8 million per 30-second spot for the game. Actor Clint Eastwood, walking down a darkened causeway and speaking metaphorically about halftime to no one in particular -- had no comment...Chase Daniel tweet: @ChaseDaniel: "Enjoying a nice Friday afternoon at Encore Beach Club with the crew." Never feel sorry for a backup QB. Poolside, he leaves the "backup" part out...

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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