During a discussion with Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson at the Aspen Ideas Festival -- in (surprise!) Aspen, Colorado -- New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu expressed confidence that the discipline handed down by the NFL against the New Orleans Saints for their illegal "bounty" program will not affect the local economy.
"I think it's a really unfortunate set of circumstances for everybody," Landrieu said on Monday via Andre Salvail of The Aspen Times. "I think it's gonna blow over. We have an unconditional love for the Saints. That's kind of what you have to do. I mean, we used to go to games with bags on our heads, instead of not going. So we love the Saints and we think it's gonna be fine."
Losing Sean Payton for the entire season no doubt hurts the Saints, but with capable coordinators Pete Carmichael and Steve Spagnuolo -- who will land or return to head coaching opportunities of their own in the future -- the on-field product should be fine so long as Drew Brees is under center. The Saints may struggle to match last year's win total (13 games), but double-digit wins and a return to the playoffs can be expected this season.
Season-ticket and suite sales also support Landrieu's statement that the city of New Orleans has unconditional love for their Saints. As noted on Sunday, Saints vice president of communications Greg Bensel disclosed that the team has a 99.6 percent season-ticket renewal rate and has a waiting list to purchase private suites.