Saints drift for Super Bowl after 'bounty' bans
NEW ORLEANS' plans for the new NFL season are in turmoil after head coach Sean Payton was banned for a year following an investigation into rewards given to their defensive players for forcing opponents off the field.
The Saints had been a best-priced 10-1 fourth favourites and as short as 7-1 in places to regain the Super Bowl trophy they won in 2008 but those prices are set to drift after a league investigation into the 'bounties' paid during their championship season in 2010.
Payton has been suspended without pay for the whole season, while his assistant Joe Vitt will miss the first six games and general manager Mickey Loomis is banned for the first eight games.
The Saints have also lost their second-round picks in the draft this season and in 2013.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, reportedly the key figure in the scheme, has been suspended from the game indefinitely. The NFL's investigation showed that Saints players received $1,500 for a "knockout" hit and $1,000 for a "cart-off" hit, with payouts increasing during the team's three play-off appearances.