20 January 2007

OOPS. A costly prediction, maybe?

JACKSON, Miss. (Jan. 19, 2007) -- It seemed the safest gamble a businessman could make.

The owners of Cowboy Maloney's Electric City chain in Mississippi offered anyone who bought a high-end flat-screen TV during Saints training camp their money back if the Saints won the Super Bowl.

"At that time we obviously didn't anticipate -- and anybody who saw the Saints working out at Millsaps (College) would not have anticipated -- that that statement would cause you any grief at all," said Con Maloney, who owns the chain of 12 electronics and appliance stores with his brothers, Eddie and Johnny. "We just kind of laughed it off."

Now, the Maloney brothers are preparing to pay back about $1 million to more than 800 customers. That money will come from insurance and manufacturers who have agreed to pick up a portion of the costs.

Maloney, whose brothers will attend the game at Chicago, said he spent a few days at training camp and didn't catch a glimpse of a potential Super Bowl team. New quarterback Drew Brees lacked arm strength after offseason shoulder surgery, running back Deuce McAllister limped around after knee surgery and Reggie Bush was under wraps.

"Put all of these things together and you just sat there and kind of scratched your head," he said.

Soon, he might be scratching out checks.

One possible beneficiary is LeMoyne Martin, a 47-year-old Jackson resident who bought a 52-inch Mitsubishi projection screen TV.

Sunday, he'll watch his beloved Saints on that new television. He describes himself as a johnny-come-lately fan who picked up the habit five or six years ago after he started feeling sorry for the Saints.

"I just felt so bad for the team I decided I'd start pulling for them, and look at them now," he said.


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