Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints will play at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville to open the season

Richard Ryman
Green Bay Press-Gazette
View Comments

The Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints will open the season at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, the NFL said Wednesday.

Jacksonville was selected to host the Sept. 12 game by process of elimination. The NFL stadiums closest to New Orleans – Dallas, Houston and Atlanta – were unavailable because of concerts or football. League rules require the game to be in an NFL stadium, also eliminating such places as the Alamodome in San Antonio and any college stadiums.

Because their first four home games are against the Packers and three East Coast teams, the Saints did not want to travel farther west than Texas, the NFL said. That left Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Miami, Chicago, Minneapolis and Baltimore as options. Jacksonville was the closest available stadium, making it easier for Saints fans across the region to attend the game.

A number of Packers fan indicated on social media they would attend the game. Packers fans normally travel well, although fans and teams this year have to be aware of the impact of COVID-19 on travel plans. Florida is one of the nation's hotspots for the delta variant wave of the coronavirus.

The Saints were forced out of New Orleans over the weekend by Hurricane Ida, which hit Louisiana with devastating force. While Caesars Superdome was not badly damaged, as it was by Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago, it may take New Orleans weeks to recover from Ida, which knocked out power to more than 1 million people in Louisiana and Mississippi.

It was thought, initially, the Saints could use AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. The Saints relocated to Texas just ahead of Hurricane Ida's landfall and plan to use the Dallas area as their home base until they can return New Orleans. A concert scheduled at AT&T Stadium three days after the football game had dibs on the space, however.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said the Packers had little input in the choice of stadiums.

"I don't think we had a whole lot of say given that it was New Orleans' home game," Gutekunst said Wednesday. "We would've loved to have it here, though; that would've been nice."

The Saints were not interested in playing one of their "home" games at Lambeau Field against the Packers. 

The Green Bay Packers will open the 2021 season against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Field in Jacksonville, sources told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The game will be played as scheduled, at 3:25 p.m. Central time, and be aired on Fox.

More:Packers choose to be prudent with David Bakhtiari while padding offensive line on their initial 53

The Saints said their season ticket holders will receive access to tickets prior to a general on-sale for fans. More details on ticket sales timing and policies will be released on Thursday. 

Contact Richard Ryman at (920) 431-8342 or Follow him on Twitter at @RichRymanPG, on Instagram at @rrymanPG or on Facebook at

View Comments