Published: Fri, March 16, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

New Orleans Saints, Pelicans Owner Tom Benson Passes Away

New Orleans Saints, Pelicans Owner Tom Benson Passes Away

Fox Sports' Jen Hale reported the news before Thursday's game and said that the Pelicans made sure to reach out to Benson's wife, Gayle, once the news came out.

"Tom Benson, 90, passed away peacefully Thursday, March 15 at Ochsner Medical Center with his wife Gayle Marie at his side".

Benson had been hospitalized since February 16 in New Orleans with flu-like symptoms. Tom kept the Saints together through the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, and his decision to bring the team back to New Orleans gave the entire region hope and confidence that they would recover.

Mr. Benson's franchise was embarrassed two years after that victory when the National Football League uncovered a bounty system in which Saints players earned improper, off-the-books cash bonuses for hits that hurt or sidelined opponents. After 1992, the Saints suffered through seven consecutive losing seasons. Raised in the 7 Ward neighborhood of New Orleans, Mr. Benson graduated from St. Aloysius High School (now Brother Martin) in 1944.

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It will be very interesting to see how things will unfold for the Pelicans, as the rumored path Mrs. Benson will take shows that they may be prioritizing the Saints more at this point.

Soon after, he signed off on his first-ever franchise quarterback Drew Brees, and this match made in Saints heaven went about the business of making the Saints relevant again.

Mr. Benson's death comes on the heels of an acrimonious family split that has caused some uncertainty about the future of his clubs.

Benson also purchased New Orleans' NBA team, then known as the Hornets, in 2012 after a poor financial situation resulted in the NBA purchasing the team. Since then, they've made 11 trips to the postseason - including a Super Bowl championship after the 2009 season - leading to numerous owner's memorable "Benson Boogie" second-line victory dances on the field. New Orleans is not a big market, and yet he's done a wonderful job of selling out the Superdome every game.

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Upon buying the team, Mr. Benson hired Jim Finks as general manager.

As owner of the Saints, he would enjoy 11 playoff berths and 1 championship.

As the Saints struggled on the field, Benson flirted with other cities. But there are unlikely to be any changes for the Saints or Pelicans front offices.

At 19, he joined the accounting division of Cathey Chevrolet in New Orleans.

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He continued: "We must show great patience with him because he is very important for what he can offer us now and in the future". Barca were dominant and, after 35 minutes, Chelsea's resolve finally cracked as Sergio Busquets opened the scoring.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame stadium in Canton, Ohio, was named for Benson in August of 2017.

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