New Orleans Saints suspensions stand, players to be suspended later?

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 16: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints is injured in the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

In the wake of the bounty scandal, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, assistant head coach Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis appealed to the commissioner to have their penalties reduced. Sean Payton was suspended for a full season, starting April 16. Joe Vitt and Mickey Loomis were suspended for eight and six games respectively, and their suspensions will begin at the end of the preseason. During the suspensions, the three men will not be allowed to communicate with their team or players on football matters either directly or indirectly.

Interestingly, the NFL made it known that those individuals may not be reinstated immediately after their suspensions end: the commissioner will determine whether they're eligible for reinstatement once their suspensions end. However, Roger Goodell will consider mitigating the financial penalties on the three players. He will also consider "modifying the forfeiture of the team's 2013 second-round draft choice", so the Saints could still come out looking a little better after this suspension.

Still, this will be an interesting year for the team that has dominated the NFC South for the past years. It's not clear who will be the head coach of the team with both Payton and Vitt suspended, and it's possible that Bill Parcells or someone similar will come in to coach the team. The team of course still has Drew Brees (even though he hasn't signed his tender), but possible suspensions for defensive players will hurt the team's roster. Jonathan Vilma will almost certainly miss time, and several other defenders could too. Can they overcome that, or is it time for them to give way to another NFC South team - at least this year?

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