The Saints bounty story has been one of the most overblown scandals in sports history - so loud only because Goodell chose to reveal it and then punish it with iron-fisted overindulgence, gift-wrapping the media an easy and noisy story in America's most popular sport. Goodell, faced with the oxymoronic task of making a violent game safe, decided to scapegoat the Saints for something that was about as old as football. This, as the Ravens, in his unsafe league, play four games in 17 days to start this season, and Goodell himself works to expand the regular season to 18 games of profit. Goodell punished the Saints excessively as a symbolic statement because his concussed league now has a liability issue he is trying to eradicate as former players limp to the court room en masse.
It’s almost like what musicologists term "call and response": the offseason from Hell is requiring an answer from the season. And the season is responding.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon is unlikely to play Sunday due to a right foot injury, though he wants to run and test it before the game against the St. Louis Rams, a team official told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Stropolo, who is from New Orleans and lists himself on Facebook as an NFL side judge, posted pictures of himself in Saints gear tailgating at an Aug. 25 preseason game. Stropolo did not work the game against the Texans, but he was assigned to Sunday's game in Carolina.
"I sat down with a pad and paper and watched the game," Payton said. "Just started eating a bunch of junk food in the fourth quarter when they were losing."
"I think the receivers have to play better. I thought the receivers played really poorly," Dilfer said. "They weren't getting open, they were being grabbed a little bit -- I thought Washington got away with a lot of grabbing in the secondary - but they weren't pulling out of those grabs. They were kind of quitting on routes. (Marques) Colston had the fumble again down in scoring territory, makes that a different game.
"Listen, I'm not always going to be apologetic to the quarterback, but I kind of know their offense, and I know where Drew (Brees) was throwing it. Earlier on in the game there were four or five balls that were kind of wide to the outside, and those were routes that the receivers need to keep running on. They're pulling up instead of running out of them.
"They've got to play better because they're going to throw the ball. That's who they are."
"It’s darn near an impossible task to open up and play the Saints in their place," Madden said. "I mean, no one wins down there, so I didn’t expect him to do anything like he did. But I did want to see him, and I wanted to see what he had. And at some point, I have to admit that I said this, it just came out, I said RGIII’s the best player in the NFL today. That’s what I really thought. Those words did come out."
New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis will begin serving his eight-game suspension Monday. Although there was some discussion about a possible delay because of Hurricane Isaac, nothing was ultimately changed.
Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt (six games) and defensive end Will Smith (four games) will also begin serving their suspensions Monday -- though Smith still has some pending appeals that could return him to the field, at least on a temporary basis at some point.