Bountygate Update: Commissioner Roger Goodell Hammers New Orleans Saints
Sean Payton’s one-year suspension will have a major effect on the Saints. Payton's offensive genius has been on display throughout his six-year tenure in New Orleans. While Drew Brees was always a good quarterback, Payton has helped turn him into a great one at the helm of one of the league's most powerful offensives. Brees may have to take a more dominant role in the offensive execution — in the same way Peyton Manning runs his offense — for the Saints to maintain their productivity. Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael has been around since Payton's hire, so he's also very familiar with the offense despite Payton handling the play-calling. Goodell must've felt that Payton knew about defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' actions and didn't stop them. There was no way Goodell was going to let Payton off without a serious penalty given the current issues of player safety and all the media attention this situation has created.
The person hit hardest in all this was Williams. He was handed an indefinite suspension and we're not sure when we'll see him again. Multiple former teams reported that Williams had instituted a similar system at previous jobs, so that obviously didn't help his case. He's 53-years-old, so there's probably life for him after the suspension. One would assume it lasts a couple years and Williams will have to do his part to regain the good favor of Goodell. It hurts the St. Louis Rams, where he is the current defensive coordinator, but not extensively. Williams would've been in his first year, so the scheme hasn't been installed yet. While Williams may've been their primary choice given his history with Jeff Fisher, they should be able to find someone capable to fill in.
Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight games and fined $500,000 while assistant coach Joe Vitt was suspended six games and fined $100,000. The Saints as a whole were also fined $500,000 and lost second round picks in the 2012 and 2013 NFL Drafts. While not first round picks, those second round picks still offered quality and will inhibit the organization’s depth of talent. It still amazes me players getting paid millions of dollars can be motivated by bonuses of $1,500. The bonus seems so insignificant in respect to their salary. If you want to injure a player on the other team, it would serve plenty of reward for the football played on the field. The bonus wouldn't be the real reason it becomes worthwhile even if it adds some funds to the poker game on the flight home.