The suspended duo on the Saints’ staff (pictured) of Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis will have their appeals heard tomorrow in an attempt to have their suspensions reduced. Joe Vitt has also appealed his suspension but no hearing it set for that yet. Payton is fighting a calendar year suspension, whereas Loomis and Vitt are contesting 8 games and 6 games respectively. The Saints are also appealing their fines and forfeiture of draft picks. Most seem to think these appeals are just a way for the Saints’ brass to buy time in an effort to come up with a more cohesive plan for these penalties. The hearings are scheduled in New York City and the same man that imposed these penalties, NFL commissioner Roger Goddell, will rule on them. It’s hard to imagine he’ll change his mind since he has ultimate authority and no real motivation to reduce his original ruling.
As many as 27 defensive players are also facing possible penalties, ranging from suspensions to fines, and possibly even legal action. My guess is at least half if not more of those 27 players are no longer on the Saints, since the evidence points to the bounty system being in place as early as 2009. Guys like Remi Ayodele, Scott Fujita, Bobby McCray, Darren Sharper and Charles Grant, for example, are in the mix. Jonathan Vilma continues to be the one player with the most evidence against him and the biggest threat of a severe suspension/fine. I’m also shocked Roman Harper’s name has not come up in this investigation because he’s been by far the player with the most personal fouls during that era. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if some penalties come up with his name attached to it.
As for Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis (and Vitt), I wouldn’t get my hopes up with this appeal. I think Goodell will quickly deny the appeal and confirm the penalties remain. I firmly believe the Saints’ staff is not optimisitc about this at all and this is just a way to buy them more time so Sean Payton can continue to build his plan while not suspended.
Granted, Sean Payton has enough free time even in this shortened “non suspended window” to enjoy leisurely stuff like the following last night: