The NFL announced Jacksonville as the alternate site for the game, which will still kick off at 4:25 p.m. ET as originally scheduled.
The Saints had shown interest in playing the game in Dallas, where they have set up temporary operations after evacuating New Orleans last week. But the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium was unavailable because of a concert scheduled in the venue later that week.
The NFL prefers that all games be played in NFL stadiums because of the replay requirements and other logistical concerns. But Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said the league always identifies potential locations that could be available each week in case circumstances like these arise.
The Saints’ Week 2 and Week 3 games are on the road at Carolina and at New England, respectively. Ideally the Saints could return home to the Caesars Superdome after that.
The Superdome did not sustain significant damage. But widespread power outages throughout the New Orleans area would make it difficult to host a game by next week, in addition to staffing and security issues.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said Wednesday that the Packers didn’t have any input in the decision for the game to be played in Jacksonville.
“I don’t think we had a whole lot of say given than it was New Orleans’ home game,” Gutekunst said. “We would’ve loved to have it here [at Lambeau Field], though; that would’ve been nice.”
Packers coach Matt LaFleur said his team will adjust to the change of venue.
“We’ll adjust and I think there are some adjustments: some positives, it probably won’t be quite as loud. The negative is it’s hard to simulate that kind of heat,” he said.
The Saints announced that season-ticket holders will be contacted with information on all ticket options. When asked whether the Saints were conscious of selecting a spot that wouldn’t give Green Bay any sort of home-field advantage, Loomis said, “Look, we’re conscious of everything when it comes to preparing for an opponent. But the main thing is we’ve got to have a NFL-ready stadium, and there’s so many variables.”
The NFL has moved games in the past because of things such as severe weather issues, the Metrodome roof collapsing in Minnesota and issues related to the coronavirus pandemic last season when the San Francisco 49ers played their final two home games in Arizona.
Unfortunately, these sorts of adjustments are nothing new for the Saints, who had to evacuate New Orleans for an entire season after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and have moved practices out of town multiple times over the years.
The Saints are expected to remain in Dallas for up to a month until the New Orleans area is back up and running. Although the team’s practice facility in Metairie, Louisiana, didn’t sustain any significant damage either, the Saints want to wait until life is back close to normal for all players and staff members before returning home.
The Saints announced Wednesday that they will temporarily be practicing and conducting strength and conditioning at TCU’s facilities in the coming weeks. SMU and AT&T Stadium will also be available to the Saints if scheduling issues arise.
“We are truly grateful for the many offers we were presented with in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and have been overwhelmed with the support of this community in our time of need,” Loomis said in a statement. “We are cognizant of [the] fact that TCU and their student-athletes and staff are hard at work in their preparations for their season and understand the stress and strains an NFL team will place on their facilities. They have our organization’s most sincere appreciation for their sacrifices.”
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky contributed to this report.