After waiting weeks to hear what was going to happen to their organization once all the news regarding DC Gregg Williams' "bounty" scandal surfaced, the Saints and their fans got the hammer thrown at them by the NFL Wednesday. Big time.
The NFL Network just reported that the league has suspended HC Sean Payton, without pay, for the entire 2012 season. GM Mickey Loomis will be suspended eight games and also fined $500,000. The Saints franchise has also been fined an additional $500,000. Linebackers coach Joe Vitt has been suspended six games, likely because players like LB Jonathan Vilma, who could face additional discipline, were rumored to have taken part in the scandal itself. As for DC Gregg Williams, it's being reported that he will be suspended indefinitely after his bounty antics were not only linked to the Saints, but also prior teams that he had coached, including the Redskins and the Bills. Williams had just signed on as defensive coordinator with the Rams back in January.
It's not yet known who will take over for Payton, who has faced problems in the past, including being accused of stealing pain medication, but I believe newly-hired DC Steve Spagnuolo would be the logical choice as the interim head coach for 2012. While Spagnuolo has head coaching experience with the Rams the last three seasons (10-38), the news comes as a huge blow after the team was able to lock up key players such as Marques Colston and Ben Grubbs in free agency. Another candidate is OC Pete Carmichael, who took over the playcalling when Payton broke his leg in a sideline accident last season. Payton continued to let Carmichael call the plays even after his leg healed.
Drew Brees has yet to sign his franchise tag. And with this news coming out Wednesday, I am sure he isn't going to be looking to sign it anytime soon. Looks like 2012 could be a very long season for Saints fans.