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Drew Brees ‘speechless,’ Sean Payton ‘stunned’ over suspension

The punishments from the NFL to the Saints for running a bounty program were much harsher than anyone expected. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended a year, assistant coach Joe Vitt was suspended six games and fined $100,000, GM Mickey Loomis was fined $500,000 and suspended six games, and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended from the NFL indefinitely. The Saints were fined $500,000 and lost two second-round draft picks.

Quarterback Drew Brees, whose was questioned by Kyle Turley about his role in the program, was stunned by the punishment.

“I am speechless,” he tweeted Wednesday. “Sean Payton is a great man, coach, and mentor. The best there is. I need to hear an explanation for this punishment.”

Additionally, according to Pro Football Talk, Jay Glazer reported on NFL Network that Sean Payton was “stunned.” Glazer says Payton was expecting maybe a four-game suspension, and now he’ll be losing several million dollars after being suspended for the year.

To answer Brees’ question about an explanation, it sounds like the league was upset that the program went on for three years and that the team lied during the investigation. For being such “a great man,” Payton lied to the NFL to cover things up, and that is just one example of what he did wrong.

Sean Payton suspended one year as part of heavy penalties for bounty program

For the past three weeks, we have anxiously awaited the NFL’s ruling on the Saints bounty scandal. On Wednesday, that ruling was handed down in the form of the harshest punishment in NFL history. To begin with, Sean Payton will not be the acting coach in New Orleans next season. He has been suspended for a full year without pay, effective April 1. That was Roger Goodell just getting warmed up.

As a franchise, the Saints have been fined $500,000 and will be forced to forfeit their second-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts for a violation involving a competitive rule. Gregg Williams, the man who was believed to be at the head of all things bounty, has been suspended from the NFL indefinitely and his situation will be reevaluated at the conclusion of next season. Saints GM Mickey Loomis will be suspended without pay for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season and fined $500,000. Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt will serve a six-game suspension and has been fined $100,000.

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Sean Payton Has Three Theories on the Alleged Whistle-Blowing (Video)

Sean Payton knew he wouldn’t get through his Monday press conference without having to answer questions about the alleged whistle-blowing activity that took place during the Saints win over the Titans.  That’s why he decided to come prepared.  Payton came up with three theories as to what may have happened that resulted in the whistle sound on Sunday, and he offered them up as soon as a reporter asked.  Here is a video of his explanation that the Times-Picayune shared with us:

We commend Payton for having a sense of humor about the whole thing, but the explanation could open his team up for more criticism.  His theory about a high school game going on next door would seem to imply that he heard the whistle.  His joke about Whistle Monster is hilarious, but why didn’t Payton deny the allegation?  Chances are, he just wanted to let the public know how ridiculous he thinks the claims are.  That being said, it would have been very easy for him to say that he would never allow something like that to happen on his sideline and has no knowledge of anyone using a whistle.  We would still be surprised if Whistlegate doesn’t blow over in a jiffy.

Sean Payton Eats Hot Dog in Coaches’ Booth During Saints Game (Picture)

Saints coach Sean Payton was feeling so good about his team’s 34-7 halftime lead over the Colts Sunday, he decided to get his grub on. Coaching in the press box after hurting his leg last weekend, Payton was spotted by NBC’s cameras chowing down on a hot dog. From the looks of things, I’d say it was a chili dog. Guess those are the kinds of luxuries a coach can afford when he has a stud QB like Drew Brees.

Pic via @SeventhWard

Sean Payton Talks Backstage to The Molly Ringwalds about Drafting Mark Ingram

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton checked out 80s band The Molly Ringwalds Saturday evening in Dallas. He apparently visited with the band backstage and shared a story about drafting Mark Ingram. Specifically, he explained to the band how badly his son, Connor, wanted the team to draft him. Check out the video:

I hadn’t previously heard of The Molly Ringwalds, but they’re pretty obviously into the 80s. They also seem to be pretty popular in the Southeast, playing gigs throughout Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas. And it appears as if Payton is a fan.

Guitar riff to Jeff Duncan for the video

Sean Payton Issues Statement Denying Theft and Use of Vicodin

On Friday, former New Orleans Saints security director Geoff Santini sued the team alleging that two “senior staff members” — who were not identified at the time — were involved with the stealing of prescription pain killers from the team’s drug cabinet and ordered him to keep quiet about it.  Earlier today, Pro Football Talk reported that through anonymous sources they had determined that the two staff members are assistant head coach Joe Vitt and head coach Sean Payton.

According to the allegations — and that’s all they are at this point — and the Pro Football Talk report, Vitt has a “painful medial condition” and Payton does not.  The lawsuit alleges that Payton (if he is indeed “Senior Staff Member A”) and Vitt (if he is “Senior Staff Member B”) were receiving enough of the painkiller Vicodin to constitute abuse.  A more recent Pro Football Talk report contains a statement released by Payton saying he neither stole nor abused Vicodin.  If the pieces are correctly aligned to this point and Payton is indeed “Senior Staff Member A”, the lawsuit has not accused him of actually stealing the pills anyway, only receiving enough to constitute abuse.  Here is the Payton statement regarding the Vicodin issue, courtesy of Pro Football Talk.

“I have reviewed Geoff Santini’s lawsuit and the unwarranted publicity it has received. I have never abused or stolen vicodin or any other medication and I fully support the Saints’ position in this matter as expressed by Greg Bensel yesterday.‬‪”

Payton did not directly say whether or not he was indeed “Senior Staff Member A”, but certainly seems to be denying any involvement with the issue altogether at this point.  We’ll see where this goes next.

Sources:
Suit against New Orleans Saints alleges Vicodin thefts [Nola.com]
Sean Payton implicated in alleged Vicodin theft at Saints facility [Pro Football Talk]
Sean Payton denies abusing or stealing Vicodin [Pro Football Talk]

Anatomy of a Trick Play: How the Cardinals Burned the Eagles Sunday

The Cardinals have been running flea flickers all season and have had tremendous success with it. They’ve used it in the playoffs to their advantage, scoring a touchdown against the Falcons and also the Eagles. The one in the NFC Championship went for 62 yards from Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald, as always. The TD made it 14-3 and really helped Arizona build their first half momentum. While the play itself was cool, it’s the back story to the play that really is awesome in my opinion. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

Three years ago, when [Saints head coach Sean] Payton and Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley were working together in Dallas, Payton introduced Haley to a play called “The Philly Special.”

It was a trick play designed specifically to burn the Eagles’ aggressive defensive scheme, and Payton had used it successfully against Philadelphia when he was coaching in New York during the Giants’ Super Bowl run in 2000-01.

Ironically, the Cowboys never used that play against Philadelphia. But Haley always kept it in his bag of tricks, and as he prepared for the biggest game in Cardinals history this past week, he knew for certain that he would pull it out.

In fact, he had even assigned third-string quarterback Brian St. Pierre with the task of studying the Eagles’ game tapes, so he could advise him of the best time to use it Sunday.

And St. Pierre called for it at the moment we saw it on Sunday. Now the only part that would kill this great story is that the Eagles did have a man back to cover Fitzgerald on the play as Quintin Demps didn’t bite on the fake. Only problem is we’ve all come to find out these playoffs that you can’t single cover Fitzgerald otherwise that will happen. Here’s the play in case you missed it, or want to re-watch:
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