FRISCO, Texas – The Dallas-Fort Worth area may have two NFL teams for the first part of this 2021 season.
Having arrived in town Saturday, ahead of Hurricane Ida's landfall on the Louisiana coast, the New Orleans Saints have begun practicing at AT&T Stadium at the invitation of the Cowboys.
The question now, albeit much harder to answer, is what comes next?
New Orleans and large parts of southern Louisiana have been ransacked by the storm. Estimates suggest that the city could be without power for several weeks, which obviously raises questions about the Saints' season opener against Green Bay on Sept. 12.
Asked about it Tuesday morning, Saints head coach Sean Payton suggested that his team might not be able to return to New Orleans for as long as a month.
"I think we're looking at the first quarter of the season, the first four weeks, knowing that we can always adjust if need be," Payton told reporters. "Certainly, we know for at least the upcoming couple of weeks."
The details are still up in the air, but it seems plausible the Saints could continue to keep their base in the Dallas area. In addition to being able to use AT&T Stadium, Payton also noted that two nearby universities – TCU in Fort Worth and SMU in Dallas – have already reached out to the organization about potentially allowing the Saints to use their football facilities.
"So a major city with two airports, that gives you a lot of flexibility. Two programs, locally here, be it TCU and SMU that have reached out that completely would love to be a part of helping us and hosting us," Payton said. "So it's almost like you're beginning to arrive at certain decisions that really make a lot of sense, as opposed to maybe in the very beginning."
And what about that game? The Saints were slated to host the Packers on Sept. 12 at the Caesars Superdome, but it no longer looks like that will be happening.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones was asked Tuesday morning if the game could be played at AT&T Stadium, and he didn't rule it out.
"It's certainly possible," he said. "We're having discussions. There are a lot of moving parts."
Regardless, Jones said the Cowboys will continue to look for ways to support their neighbors as the situation develops.
"I've spent a lot of times in my life in Louisiana, and I have done a lot of my professional business in Louisiana," he said. "So, I have a lot of friends there and really proud of the — really the affinity Louisiana has for the Cowboys. So, this works."