Saints keeping an eye on Gustav
With Tropical Storm and potential major hurricane Gustav churning in the Caribbean Sea and nearing the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans continues to be in danger of a direct hit, according to forecasters.
Yes, there are many more important things to worry about under such a scenario, but one thing that must be addressed is the possible impact on the Saints. They are scheduled to host the Bucs on Sept. 7 for the season opener, but with forecasts calling for a landfall sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday, the storm could affect the game. At the very least, it could take a toll on the Saints. Coach Sean Payton said this week they already have evacuation plans in place if such measures become necessary.
If evacuations are ordered, there will be one major difference in these post-Katrina times: the Superdome will not be used as a shelter as it was then, a plan that is meant to encourage residents to leave. That would reduce the chance of a postponement, provided the storm doesn't hit New Orleans directly or cause significant damage. One thing to keep in mind: The NFL does have an out here. If the game were to be called off, the league could make an easy swap and play the game in Tampa since the teams play again Nov. 30. Under that scenario, the second game would be played in New Orleans.
Anyhow, it's still too early to have a sense of where and when this storm will hit (see Fay last week), but it certainly bears watching over the next several days. We'll keep you posted.