The Saints are going to pay for their sins.
The NFL Wednesday afternoon brought down harsh penalties against the New Orleans squad for their illicit bounty program, stripping the team of draft choices and suspending head coach Sean Payton.
ESPN reports the penalties in full:
Saints coach Sean Payton has been suspended for one year. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely, general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight regular-season games, the team was fined $500,000 and lost two second-round draft picks (one in 2012 and '13) as a result of a bounty program conducted by the team during the 2009-11 seasons.
Details of an NFL investigation released at the beginning on March reported that the Saints' bounty program gave thousands of dollars in payoffs to players for hits that knocked targeted opponents out of games. The NFL said the amounts reached their height in 2009, the season the Saints won the Super Bowl.
The heavy sanctions cast doubt on the Saints' future as a championship contender, a status they have held since franchise quarterback Drew Brees came to town in 2006. With the Falcons chugging along as a perennially solid-if-unspectacular challenger, Cam Newton revitalizing the Panthers and the Buccaneers bringing in a major free-agent haul, the Saints' recent run of success may be drawing to a close.