Giants to paint one end zone in Saints' colors
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants Stadium will have a distinct Bayou flavor on Monday night when the New Orleans Saints play their "home" opener against the New York Giants, nearly three weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana.
Some 600 displaced New Orleans residents will be flown to the New York-New Jersey area by relief agencies; the city's police chief, Eddie Compass, will be involved with former president George Bush in the coin toss; and Saints gold and black will be displayed along the blue walls of the stadium and in one of the end zones.
"Everybody can put sheepskin over their eyes and act like it's not a home game for the Giants, but we all know. I'm sure the fans and the New York Giants football club care about what happens and their heart goes out to us. We will appreciate that, but we're also not crazy and thinking it's a home game."
The pregame and halftime show also will have a New Orleans and Gulf Coast flavor to honor those killed and displaced by Katrina.
New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis will perform the national anthem on piano and saxophone and New Orleans jazz trumpeter Irvin Mayfield will play "America the Beautiful." The band 3 Doors Down, from Escatawpa, Miss., will perform at halftime.
At the same time, the NFL will stage a telethon to raise money for a relief committee headed by former presidents Bush and Bill Clinton. It will originate from ABC studios in New York and continue through the doubleheader, which begins at 7:30 p.m. ET with the Giants-Saints game to be followed at 9 p.m. by Washington at Dallas.
The New York-New Orleans game will switch in many markets to ESPN at 9 p.m.
The Red Cross will collect money inside Giants Stadium on Monday night, and the Giants will match the amount and donate their portion to the relief fund. At last week's game against Arizona, $46,000 was collected for a total contribution of $92,000.
In addition, Giants running back Tiki Barber has pledged to donate $100 for every yard he gains and $500 for every touchdown he scores against the Saints, with a minimum donation of $10,000. Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said the team's players have already collected $141,000 among themselves to be donated to Habitat For Humanity.
Several thousand tickets remained for the game as of Wednesday morning. Saints season ticket holders and others who had already purchased tickets to the game were given first priority, followed in order by Giants season ticket holders, people on the Giants' season ticket waiting list and the general public.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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