Ed Driscoll

Saints Home Opener Becomes Monday Night Doubleheader

Originally, the New Orleans Saints planned to have their home opener against the Giants in the Superdome, where they play all of their home games. Katrina changed all that. The Giants already agreed to allow the game to be played in the New Jersey Meadowlands. And in an effort to bring greater publicity to ongoing flood relief efforts, the NFL has decided to play the game on Monday night along with the previously scheduled Cowboys-Redskins battle, turning the night into a football fanatic’s dream, as AP reports:

The Giants-Saints game, driven from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, will be played as part of a nationally televised doubleheader starting at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Monday, Sept. 19.

The game, already moved to the Giants’ home in the New Jersey Meadowlands, will begin on ABC, then be switched to ESPN at 9 p.m., when ABC goes to the regularly scheduled game between Washington and Dallas in Irving, Texas. In New York and Louisiana, as well as other parts of the Gulf Coast, ABC will continue to carry the Giants-Saints game, switching to Redskins-Cowboys when the Saints game ends.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said other details, such as ticket sales, will be announced soon.

“We appreciate the leadership of ABC and ESPN in helping us turn this particular Monday night into far more than a prime-time football doubleheader, making it part of the overall Gulf Coast relief effort,” commissioner Paul Tagliabue said in a statement released by the NFL. “The New Orleans Saints know the importance of rising to help meet the Gulf Coast’s extraordinary challenges, and we salute them, too.”

The NFL said fund-raising efforts for hurricane relief will be intertwined in the telecasts of both games.

The Cowboys/’Skins game is scheduled to include the induction of the Cowboys’ famed “triplets” at halftime.