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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Road to the Who Dat Nation

Dan Delaney is a personal friend of mine and the operator of the New Orleans Saints theme websaite, Saints Stuff (at Dan has graciously allowed me to use some of his material here at the Hat Trick. As regular readers know, I am Louisiana based, but I do not necessarily focus on Louisiana sports topics. Hopefully, Dan will sahre a few more pieces with us to add a little more local flavor to the Hat Trick. Enjoy the following:

Back in the late 1950s a New Orleans business man named Dave Dixon was working hard on getting the City of New Orleans an NFL franchise. Little did he know that 6 years down the road the NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle would need a favor from officials from the state of Louisiana to push through his NFL-AFL merger.

A Little Quid Pro Quo
At the time there were two competing football leagues. With that system in place if a player was drafted by both leagues he had bargaining power to play one against the other to get the best pay possible. Combining both leagues into one would swing the power back over to the owners by having only one team making an offer and if the player wanted to be a pro without having to move to Canada he would have to take that offer.
The problem that was posed with this is even though both leagues saw the advantages to this, combining them into one big league would create a monopoly which at the time was only legal for utility companies. Well that is if you do not have the law modified to fit your needs.
Pete Rozelle approach Dave Dixon on the matter and said "Dave what can you do to help". Dave sent the public relations manager David Kleck, who represented him to Hale Boggs of Louisiana who at the time was the house majority whip, to meet with Mr. Boggs on the matter.
U.S. Rep Hale Boggs (D-LA) 2
The deal that was made was that the NFL grant the City of New Orleans a franchise in exchange for Congress voting to grant an exemption to the NFL for running a monopoly. The exemption got past the people who would vote against it by being attached to a budget bill. The bill was backed by Russell Long of Louisiana who at the time was the Senate finance committee chairman.
It was approved in October of 1966 and on November 1st 1966 Pete Rozelle traveled to New Orleans to announce the City of New Orleans was granted an NFL franchise. If you're not Catholic, November 1st happens to be All Saints Day and thus the team was named the New Orleans Saints. The first owner of the Saints was a wealthy Texas oil man named John Meacom Jr. he chose the colors Black and Gold because oil is nicknamed black gold. As you can see we in New Orleans are very fortunate to have an NFL franchise. It was only because the NFL commissioner needed a favor that we were granted one. It is even better that 43 years later our team became world champions.
Now that you got a little history on the New Orleans Saints you can read more at Saints Stuff.
Dan Delaney is a lifelong resident of the New Orleans metropolitan area and long time Saints fan. He was a fan before being a Saints fan was cool. You can learn more about the New Orleans Saints by going to his website now!
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