The New Orleans Saints will be without Head Coach Sean Payton the entire 2012 NFL season after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the suspension after the Saints appealed on April 9. Early last month the news broke on ESPN that former Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams set up a bounty system where players were paid to injure opposing players. The Saints' bounty system's purpose was offering cash bonuses for big hits that knocked targeted opponents out of games or hurt them enough that they required help getting to the sideline.
Along with Payton, others were punished for their knowledge of the bounty system. Others suspended are General Manager Mickey Loomis for eight games, Assistant Coach Joe Vitt for six games and Williams, who is banned indefinitely. Goodell's punishments didn't end with the suspensions, The Saints also won't have second-round picks for the next two drafts and will have to pay the $500,000 fine. Player suspensions and fines could also be coming soon, league officials have said punishment will be harsh, largely because players were the ones who primarily funded the bounty system.
Payton's season-long suspension without pay for the 2012 NFL season will begin April 16. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told NFL Network's Albert Breer that Payton "cannot be involved in any coaching activities, he can't be at the facility, or with the team at games."
Even with all these suspensions and fines the Saints should still do well this season because they still have Drew Brees. With the leadership of Brees and other veteran players, the Saints will continue to have their great offense. They definitely will have problems on defense, with the possibility of Jonathan Vilma, their leader on defense, being suspended, but they have done a great job at finding a temporary replacement. They recently signed linebacker Curtis Lofton, who started for the Atlanta Falcons the past four seasons. Lofton is just as good, if not better than Vilma and if he can step up and be a leader, the Saints defense can thrive. I'm not saying they will win the Super Bowl, which happens to be in New Orleans this season, but they will definitely be a playoff team.
How do you think the Saints will do this season and do you think the punishment is fair?