Packers-Saints to play at Jacksonville's TIAA Bank Field Week 1

The Saints are without a home for the time being in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, but they have a site determined for Week 1.

New Orleans’ season opener against the Green Bay Packers will be played at Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field, the league announced Wednesday. The game will remain a 4:25 p.m. ET start and be broadcast on FOX.

“The decision was made, in consultation with state and local officials and both clubs, in the interest of public safety,” the league said in a release. “Details on tickets and other specifics, including how fans can continue to help in the recovery effort, will be announced in the days ahead.”

There were a limited amount of options for location for the Week 1 meeting. First, the Saints are currently based in Dallas, where they’ve spent the week practicing at the Cowboys’ home of AT&T Stadium, however, a concert scheduled for Sept. 15 at the venue made it a non option for Sept. 12. Their first two games are against Green Bay and then at Carolina in Week 2, meaning they’d prefer to avoid traveling any further west than Texas. The Saints travel to New England in Week 3 and have a home game scheduled against the Giants in Week 4.

Teams are also required to play the game in an NFL stadium, eliminating potential nearby sites like San Antonio’s Alamodome and other larger collegiate stadiums.

That left Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Miami, Chicago, Minneapolis and Baltimore as the remaining sites that do not have NFL games scheduled for Sunday and aren’t any further west than Dallas. Geographically, Jacksonville and Miami would be the two sites closest to New Orleans, where the team’s Caesar’s Superdome did not sustain significant damage, but is in a city that is currently without power and dealing with serious issues with wastewater treatment and water supply.

With needs currently greater than football in New Orleans, the Saints will play their first “home” game in a stadium that typically houses the Jaguars.

“I am proud of the collective communications that occurred between many entities in a short amount of time that led to us making this decision,” said Saints owner Gayle Benson, via the team’s website. “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. 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.”

You can donate toward Hurricane Ida relief at NewOrleansSaints.com/hurricaneida

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