There is a lot more than the Lombardi Trophy on the line next Sunday. There are also some 12,000 homeless people up for grabs, too.
A friendly Super Bowl wager between the mayors of New Orleans and Indianpolis means more than 10,000 homeless will find a new "home" based on the outcome of Super Bowl XLIV. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard placed the bet on Thursday, and the losing city will be sent the winner’s entire homeless population.
“We wanted to make a meaningful bet,” said Nagin. “None of this: ‘We’ll give you New Orleans gumbo if we lose and you give us … whatever Indianapolis has if we win' crap. That’s been done a thousand times before and it’s all meaningless. We wanted to make a bet with some consequence.”
While Ballard originally had the idea of swapping wives, he says he thinks Nagin's idea has more political upside.
“Can this city support or afford to take on the influx of 12,000 homeless people bussed up here from New Orleans?” posed Ballard. “Of course not. That would decimate our resources and our streets would be choked with the urine-soaked rift raft. But we’re four-point favorites. That's almost a lock. I’ve already started loading up our homeless into garbage trucks to ship them down there. I’m going to become governor off of this bet. Maybe even senator.”
Nagin acknowledges his Saints are underdogs, but feels the risk is worth taking.
"With the economy the way it is, the homeless population is only going to keep rising," he said. "So this is my shot to get a clean start. If the Saints lose and we get all the Indianapolis homeless? Hey, no harm no foul. They can all huddle together for warmth.”
Muskrat Mike, a vagabond who has roamed the streets of New Orleans for 20 years, says he would welcome a change of scenery and hopes the Saints win so he can be shipped off to Indianapolis.
“The world is a big place. There are so many more park benches to sleep on, so many more stairs to cower under during a rain storm,” said Muskrat Mike. “I want to get out of New Orleans. But I don’t know if I can leave because of the microchip the government put in my brain. In my brain! The government is trying to kill us all! Conspiracy! Conspiracy! Conspiracy!” he added, reaching into his pants to fling a log of feces at a passerby.