Last week, the NFL announced that the Saints will play in the Hall of Fame game, a decision that seems unusual given the negative attention the Saints’ involvement will now bring to the league’s first game of the 2012 season.
Last month, Alex Marvez of FOX reported that the Saints actually had volunteered for the duty. It was odd at the time. Even with a new CBA that reduces offseason workouts and training camp intensity, why would anyone want to play a fifth preseason game, or open camp two weeks early?
Now, it all makes sense. With suspensions possible for players and coaches — including head coach Sean Payton — who violated the bounty rules, the Saints will need all the extra work they can get before the launch of the regular season.
But while the Saints will be participating in the first exhibition of the 2012 season, it’s probably safe to assume that the Saints won’t be playing at MetLife Stadium on the evening of Wednesday, September 5, when the regular season launches.
Then again, if the NFL truly wants to be the ultimate reality show, the bounty brouhaha should push the Saints to the top of the list of potential candidates to face the Giants in Week One.