Oh how quickly things can change.
Just two short years ago, the New Orleans Saints were kings of the professional football world, having knocked off the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV to bring the Crescent City its first NFL championship.
It had been a long time coming for an organization previously referred to as the "Aints."
|Photo by: Bill Feig|
Bountygate was officially born.
Needless to say, Commissioner Roger Goodell didn't take the situation lightly, as he handed down some of the most severe sanctions in the league's 92-year history.
Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams -- was suspended indefinitely. Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season, the first time in NFL history that a head coach had received such a penalty. General manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 campaign, while assistant coach Joe Vitt was suspended for the first six games. The organization was fined $500,000, and also forced to forfeit their second-round draft selections in both this year's and next year's draft.
Four current and former Saints players were also suspended after being named as ringleaders in the scandal, with defensive captain Jonathan Vilma being suspended for the entire 2012 season -- the longest suspension for an on-field incident in league history.
Clearly, all these penalties leave New Orleans in a bad way for the upcoming season. The problem is, the front office continues to make asinine decisions even after the fact.
For starters, Drew Brees, the franchise quarterback and unquestioned leader of the team -- is still unsigned. This following a year where he shattered several long-standing league passing records.
Really? The entire organization is basically in shambles following the commish's rulings, and they still don't realize that the only possible chance they have at having a respectable 2012 season is to have a happy Drew Brees at the helm?
What, is everybody stupid around here?
It doesn't matter what Brees wants. There are three -- maybe four truly elite quarterbacks in the NFL, and he's one of them. Hence, he deserves to be paid as such. They need to open their lil' checkbook, sign one, and just let Brees fill in the amount. What exactly is the hold up? This actually should have been done months ago, especially when you take into consideration the current state of the franchise as a whole.
Besides, what is Plan B? Chase Daniels?
That brings us to the next gem of a move the organization announced yesterday: The Saints will leave coach Sean Payton's seat empty on all team flights, bus rides, and meetings throughout the 2012 season.
"How would Pittsburgh react if Chuck Knoll was gone? Or how would Dallas react if Tom Landry wasn't there? Or San Francisco without Bill Walsh?" Coach Joe Vitt said.
My guess is, not like this.
Maybe that's why Brees isn't signed yet. Because the higher-ups are too busy planning out this type of stupidity.
Last I checked, Payton wasn't dead. He's serving a suspension for allowing an illegal bounty system to go on, and then trying to cover it up. That warrants this bizarre symbolic act by the organization to rally the troops around?
In fact, they might as well just cover his seat with candles and flowers and then pour 40's on it while they're at it. Not as a memorial to Payton, but to their upcoming season -- because it's already six-feet under before it even gets started.
Paper bag, anyone?