In the spring of 2008, the Saints were coming off a disappointing 7-9 season. Disappointing because it immediately followed the team's 10-6 Cinderella campaign in 2006, sparked by the re-opening of the Superdome and the arrivals of Sean Payton, Drew Brees, Marques Colston and Reggie Bush.
But the team was selling out the season and clearly in the middle of a resurgence. Much needed considering that just two years ago, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Saints owner Tom Benson nearly pulled the trigger on a complete organizational move to Austin, TX.
Which is why Benson's announcement on May 5th, 2008 that he would be purchasing local television station WVUE-TV FOX 8 was such a big deal.
The purchase was a huge show of support, particularly to those of us living here in New Orleans, and proved that Benson was now clearly set on keeping the Saints in New Orleans for the long term.
The old man admitted as much during the announcement:
"Certainly, this shows another commitment on our part," Benson said. "The old saying is, 'We're putting the money where our mouth is.' "
Fortunately for Saints fans this would turn out to be the first of many moves made by Benson proving his commitment to New Orleans. Since then Benson has signed a new lease extension with the state to keep the Saints in New Orleans through 2025, purchased the Dominion Tower next to the Superdome and leased out office space to the state, and most recently purchased the only other professional sports franchise in New Orleans, the Hornets, now the Pelicans.