Geaux-ing Away: NFL Commissioner Suspends Saints’ Head Coach for 1 Year

Posted on Mar 21, 2012 in Local Issues, National Issues, Saints, Sports

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell rocked the Saints’ world today.

As punishment for paying defensive players under-the-table bonuses for delivering extra brutal hits to opposing teams, Goodell suspended head coach Sean Payton for one year, beginning April 1. This means no talking with players, other coaches, creating game plans or aiding the Saints in any way. Goodell also suspended Saints’ GM Mickey Loomis for eight games and assistant coach Joe Vitt, Payton’s logical replacement, for six. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams? Suspended from the NFL indefinitely, at least for the next year. Also gone are the Saints’ 2012 and 2013 second round draft picks.

The Saints now have a lot to overcome if they want to be competitive next season. The pressure is even more intense because the city of New Orleans will be hosting the Superbowl in 2013.

Goodell made his extremely harsh decision to underscore the NFL’s increasing focus on player safety, especially stemming from violent hits such as helmet-to-helmet blows. His message unequivocally shows that the league will not put up with any sort of bounty programs now or in the future.

While the NFL’s response is ultimately a positive step forward for player protection, it sure is unfortunate that the Saints are forced to bear the weight of this punishment.

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