James Ernest Mora (born May 24, 1935) is the former head coach of the USFL's Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars and the NFL's New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts. He played football at Occidental College where he was also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. His son Jim L. Mora is the current head coach of the UCLA Bruins.
As an NFL coach, Mora is well known for turning two of the NFL's consistently losing franchises into perennial post-season contenders, his lack of success once he got his teams to the playoffs, and his often impassioned post-game tirades and press conferences, including his oft-quoted "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda," "Diddly Poo," and "Playoffs?" tirades.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans on August 29, 2005 and caused extensive damage to the Louisiana Superdome, the New Orleans Saints were not able to play any home games there for the entire 2005 NFL season (the stadium was also used to temporarily house victims of the storm). After practicing for approximately a week in San Jose, California, where they had evacuated in conjunction with a pre-season game against the Oakland Raiders, the team set up temporary headquarters and arranged for practice facilities in San Antonio, Texas, where owner Tom Benson started his car dealership empire. The league then announced that although the Saints' first home game on September 18 against the New York Giants would be played at Giants Stadium at 7:30 p.m. EDT on September 19, other home games would be split between Tiger Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (80 miles/130 km from New Orleans), and the Alamodome in San Antonio (540 miles/869 km from New Orleans); offices and practice would remain in San Antonio throughout the season. Various media reports in the San Antonio Express-News indicated the owner and government officials in San Antonio were working behind the scenes concerning a possible permanent relocation to San Antonio. San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger had pushed a strong verbal campaign to pursue the Saints. Other officials, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, had indicated that they would also support a relocation to San Antonio, including using funding to upgrade the Alamodome, or possibly build a new stadium. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, whose team currently has San Antonio as part of its territorial rights, also supported an NFL team moving to San Antonio. However, the NFL and commissioner Paul Tagliabue were both in favor of keeping the franchise in New Orleans or at least delaying a decision on a potential relocation. Other rumors of the period said that the NFL preferred to move the team to Los Angeles, or even to expand to Toronto instead, as both cities are over twice the size of San Antonio.
Many fans in Louisiana were angered and felt that Hardberger and Perry were taking advantage of New Orleans' misfortunes to try to steal the Saints. Benson's actions also drew the anger of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who called Benson's actions shameful and disrespectful to New Orleans fans who have supported the team for nearly four decades of mostly losing seasons. San Antonio officials, on the other hand, countered that Benson may have no choice—at the time, it was thought by some that New Orleans might never fully recover as a viable location for an NFL franchise, and that they were simply giving the franchise an option to relocate and remain economically viable, in this case to a city in which Benson already lives and has business interests. Benson indicated in his open letter to the Gulf Coast that San Antonio officials were only doing what any city seeking a franchise would do—recruit the franchise.