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The San Antonio Saints?

The New Orleans press is abuzz with word that Saints owner Tom Benson has talked to San Antonio about moving the Saints to the Alamo City. While many in Louisiana take this as a bargaining ploy -- Benson, whose Saints rank 31st in revenue in the NFL, has been trying to force a better lease from the state -- a real move would have disatrous consequences for Cowboys fans in Texas. Consider:

NFL territories and blackout rules would make the Saints THE Fox team in the San Antonio and Austin markets. Right now, the Texans and 'Pokes co-exist peacefully, with the Texans on CBS and the Cowboys on Fox. The Saints would blow this arrangement apart. Any Cowboys fan living in these markets would have to get the Sunday ticket or go to a sports bar. Austin's Fox affiliate would face the horrible choice of annoying the NFL, by working outside of the blackout rule, or forcing a team most Austinites don't care about onto the city.

And let's not forget San Antonio, where the Cowboys have held training camp. It's quite possible that the new Saints would face a problem the Oilers had in early '70s; being the second most popular team in their home city.

This would be a stupid move for Benson. The Alamodome is not a luxury-box-laden facility, and luxury boxes are the lifeblood of all new stadiums. San Antonio is also one of the poorest major cities and would not have the business base to fill the boxes on a level seen league wide. If Benson thought New Orleans was small potatoes revenue-wise, let him move to San Antonio.

If Benson was really a good poker player, he would have been caught talking to Los Angeles. This move only makes him look like a rube -- or so Cowboys fans should hope. If Benson were to make the move -- hey, anything is possible; the NFL is still home to Bud Adams, right? -- Cowboys fans from the Rio Grande Valley to Austin could get a raw deal.

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