Waiting for Saints season tickets? You're in line with 77,000 others in one of NFL's longest lists _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ--Randal Singer, also know as Mr. Hi-Five when he dresses attending Saints games, shows off his newly done New Orleans Saints themed car in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Singer bought the formerly purple 1961 Mercury Comet about six months ago and has been having an art work paint job done over the off season getting it ready for the next football year. Singer said he has " had a lot of fun driving it around so far. It makes everyone happy. The love for the Saints is one thing we all have in common, so no matter which part of town, young or old, people get really excited and pumped up to see it". The car features an image by the late artist Robert Guthrie if Buddy D in a dress and also the artist Frenchy's piece showing the history of the Saints. Singer said he had gotten permission from both artists for their use. Singer's season ticket holder stickers adorn one of the fenders.

For almost a decade, Thomas McCrossen has waited.

And waited. And waited. And waited.

After the Saints sent out a round of emails last week to let fans on the team’s waiting list to buy season tickets know their place in line, many fans took to social media to toss their number out into the crowd and size up their relative odds.

McCrossen was one of them. And at 9,995, he was feeling pretty good about his chances.

“I saw that, and I thought, ‘Wow, I’m not that far away,’ ” he said by phone last week.

The team’s annual effort to keep fans in the loop — and obtain their latest contact information, just in case — even spurred its own hashtag: #TweetYourSaints TicketWaitListNumber.

But most will have to wait some more: In all, nearly 77,000 people are on the list, according to team spokesman Greg Bensel. That’s nearly the full capacity of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

And the list is not likely to shrink in a hurry: Only 3 percent of ticket-holders give up their seats from one year to the next, Bensel said, potentially opening up spots for just a couple of thousand fans annually.

Still, it may not be the longest wait in professional football: The Green Bay Packers have nearly 100,000 names on their list, according to the team; those who most recently got tickets had been waiting since the mid-1970s.

McCrossen, a New Orleans native who moved to Washington, D.C., for work in 2004, added his name to the Saints list in 2006 partly as a show of support for the team after owner Tom Benson briefly flirted with the idea of relocating the franchise to San Antonio in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction.

“I put my name on the list so if they ever tried to move the Saints, I would be one more person who was on the season ticket wait list. Just a number on there,” he said.

That’s not to say McCrossen — who travels back to the city a few times a year to visit his family — wouldn’t jump at the chance of landing the coveted tickets.

If his number’s called, McCrossen likely would pull the trigger and buy the tickets. But just when that may happen is anybody’s guess.

“If they keep winning, it could be another 10 years,” he said. “But if Drew Brees retires, Sean Payton leaves and they have some down years, I could probably be up there really quick.”

Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.