My commentaries also appear in www.BayouBuzz.com.
The hammer has fallen on the New Orleans Saints, and the cost is heavy. It’s a public relations disaster. Coach Sean Payton is gone for one year and fined. Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt are suspended and fined, the Saints have lost draft picks, the team is fined, and the arrogance of some inside the organization has cost Saints fans a heavy price. So what’s next?
Tom Benson has a tough rode to travel. First and foremost the team must now sign Drew Brees. The sooner the better. Fans were devastated when the team failed to reach a deal with Brees, and it had to use its franchise tag to keep him costing the Saints Carl Nicks. Peyton Manning’s new contract with the Denver Broncos has raised the bar, and the cost to keep Drew Brees may have gone up significantly. The best way to begin dealing with this mess is to sign Drew Brees immediately.
But Benson is still facing the question of what to do with the head coach and the general manager. The Saints now have a head coach who can’t coach in 2012 but is still under contract and would be back for the 2013 season. The General Manager is gone for eight games. So what does the team do with Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis? Will the Saints wait around for a year with an interim coach who is out before he coaches his first game, or do the Saints cut their ties with Sean Payton and move forward this year with a new head coach at the helm? Can the front office operate without Mickey Loomis for eight games, or do the Saints do the same thing with Mickey Loomis and cut those ties? And what about Joe Vitt? These are very hard decisions to make and are a big time gamble. Certainly such moves would be a bold statement by the Saints that the organization is cleansing itself of its sins and those responsible for it.
Once again the fans are the victims. The fans must now suffer for the sins of the organization and the stupid bounty program that former coach Gregg Williams instituted. Saints fans spent years watching bad football. Now that the fans can watch great football with a Super Bowl winner, the team gets its knees cut out from under it by its own actions. What a shame!
Even in lean times New Orleans Saints fans stuck by their team, and I believe they will continue to do so. But Tom Benson must let fans know that he is moving forward to save this franchise and keep the winning ways of the Saints intact. The sooner he sends this message the sooner Saints fans can relax.