The NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers will not be played in New Orleans. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the season opener for both teams will be played at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 4:25 p.m. ET. The stadium is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who play the Houston Texans in Houston on the same day. The NFL confirmed the news of Saints and Packers playing in Jacksonville following the report.
Hurricane Ida recently hit New Orleans, leading to the Saints relocating to Dallas for the time being. They will practice at Texas Christian University while not being sure when they will return home. The Saints' next home game after the Packers comes in Week 4, which gives them some time to plan before deciding if they can play at Caesars Superdome.
"I think we're looking at the first quarter of the season being away knowing we can adjust if need be," Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters this week. "We're certainly looking at the first couple of weeks. We're not looking past that, and, really, that's not a challenge, logistically, for these places. It's more of finding what the schedule looks like for schools like SMU in Dallas, TCU in Fort Worth, or the availability of AT&T stadium during the week if we came back Sunday in another location around Dallas and worked on going back and forth (to AT&T Stadium)."
"It is never easy to make a decision that involves not playing a Saints home game in the Caesars Superdome, but I am confident that this is the right decision for our city at this juncture," Saints owner Gayle Benson said. "Collectively, we have a monumental task ahead of us in cleaning up the after-effects left by Hurricane Ida, but it has been inspiring to see people getting right to work and starting the process. I wish to personally thank Shahid Khan, Mark Lamping, and the entire Jacksonville Jaguars staff and their city leaders in offering to host our game. Our staff is working diligently to prepare for the game and we anticipate many Saints fans from across the region will be there to support Coach Payton and the Saints players."
The Saints and Packers game is one of the better Week 1 matchups of the NFL season. The Saints are moving on without Drew Brees, who announced his retirement earlier this year. The Packers, led by Aaron Rodgers, are looking to make a Super Bowl run after reaching the NFC Championship game the last two seasons.