For fans asking about the Louisiana "Saints Super Bowl Champions" license plates, the state expects them to be available Dec. 1. They will be available at Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles branches. The plates will cost $25 extra a year & there will be a one-time $3.50 administrative charge when the plate is purchased.

With the current National Football League season already half over, the state is completing a last-minute agreement with the league that should clear the way for the plates to be delivered to local Office of Motor Vehicles branches around Dec. 1, agency spokeswoman Michelle Rayburn said Tuesday.

State officials said the first batch of tags was ready to go a few weeks ago, but the NFL wanted an agreement signed with the state to guarantee that the Super Bowl logo used on the plate wouldn't be changed.

That's the agreement now under review, Rayburn said.

"There has to be a contract with the NFL," said Lt. Doug Cain, a spokesman for State Police, the agency that oversees the Office of Motor Vehicles.

Earlier design talks, he said, were mainly between the Saints and the state.

"We are ready to go" after the lawyers sign off on the final agreement, he said.

Cain said that the NFL lawyers sent the agreement back to the state late Monday, and it still was being reviewed Tuesday.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said that the agreement "is a quality-control issue" in which the state agrees to use the Super Bowl logo -- which is the NFL's property -- on the tags and without change. The tag has the reddish-orange "XLIV" for Super Bowl 44 with a likeness of the game trophy in the center of the Roman numerals.

"We want to make sure the logo is being used properly, and that there are no changes in color or additional words on it," McCarthy said. "We don't want someone to alter the logo," since the league is attempting to standardize it for future Super Bowls.

He said the league sought the agreement "late last month," and the "paperwork was rushed" to get the tags available to Saints fans.

McCarthy called the paperwork "routine when a third-party uses" an NFL logo. "We are not asking for or receiving any revenue from this. It was simply a matter of having paperwork filed."

He said when it came to the attention of league officials Monday that the papers "needed to be expedited, our legal team completed the contract and sent it on" to the state.

By the end of the week, Rayburn said, more than 3,000 tags will have been stamped out by Prison Enterprises, the arm of the state prison system that makes license tags and other products.

If the tags reach the branch offices by Dec.1, that will be about 10 months after the team brought home its first Lombardi Trophy, the NFL's silver tribute to the winner of the Super Bowl.

Rep. Jeff Arnold, D-Algiers, who sponsored the legislation to create the tag back in March, had hoped to get the plates to the public by the start of the football season in September.

Arnold's bill was signed into law June 30 and became effective July 1, setting off a round of talks among officials from the NFL, the Saints and the Office of Motor Vehicles overt the tag's design.

The team rejected the first design but approved the second.

According to Arnold's legislation, the tags will cost Saints fans $25 a year more than the regular license plates which are based on the value of the vehicle. The motor vehicles office also imposes a $3.50 administrative fee for handling and processing the speciality tags.

By law, the $25 annual fee will be used to pay off outstanding bond debt at the Superdome and help defray its operating costs.

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