When it became clear Hurricane Ida would make playing their Week 1 matchup against the Green Bay Packers at Caesers Superdome impossible, the New Orleans Saints got to work finding a replacement.
They also weren't going to give up their home-field advantage without a fight.
According to Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com, the Saints settled on Jacksonville's TIAA Bank Field specifically because it would provide a more challenging trip for Packers fans intent on showing up to the season opener. The NFL provided a list of available stadiums for the Saints to choose from with AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami among the options.
The team settled on Jacksonville, but not before assessing how tough it would be for Packers fans to travel there.
"The Saints even took it a step further. They had a staffer look up Green Bay flights on Expedia and compare the difference in costs and itineraries between Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa. Predictably, Jacksonville was the most difficult and costly destination for Packers fans.
"The Cheese Heads still might migrate south for the game, but the Saints certainly didn’t want to make things an easier for Packer Nation to make the trip."
Also taken into consideration was Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers' history of playing in Florida. Rodgers is 3-4 with a 78.1 passer rating in games hosted in Florida.
Of course, now that the ploy has been made public, there's always a chance it backfires. There's nothing professional athletes love more than free bulletin board material—and tempting fate against a future Hall of Famer like Rodgers isn't always the best route.
Perhaps that's why Saints general manager Mickey Loomis played coy when discussing the team's selection of TIAA Bank Field.
“We’re conscious of everything when it comes to preparing for an opponent,” Loomis told reporters Wednesday. “There’s just so many variables. I don’t want to get into all of the variables. The main thing is to have a suitable place to play that both teams have access to.”
Just as long as it's a bit less accessible for those coming from Green Bay.