That heartbreaking loss was nothing compared to the penalties Bountygate brought to the Saints organization.
Roger Goodell and the National Football League came down hard on the Saints, suspending interim head coach Joe Vitt for six games and head coach Sean Payton for the season.
Goodell also confiscated two second-round draft picks and suspended star linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entirety of the 2012 season.
Goodell dropped the hammer on the Black and Gold, but it was no ordinary hammer. He went all mythical and borrowed Thor’s.
Amidst the fallout of Bountygate, Drew Brees was given the franchise tag and still has not received a long-term extension. Now that player suspensions have finally been given for those involved with the bounty program, Brees’ contract extension should be coming soon.
Once he is locked up for the remainder of his career, Brees can begin to add stability and leadership to a team in desperate need.
Although all of the penalties levied against the Saints are terrible, this season could be Brees’ best chance to win league MVP.
Even though he has put up gaudy numbers year after year for New Orleans, including last year when he threw for 5,476 yards and 46 Touchdowns with a 71.6 completion percentage and a 110.6 Quarterback rating, he has yet to win the award.
If Brees records numbers anywhere close to last season and leads the Saints to the playoffs, he will be the obvious choice for MVP. He will have guided a team besieged in turmoil to a double-digit win total and a birth in the postseason.
How many games will the Saints win this season?
For argument sake, let’s assume that he hits his averages while he has been in a Saints uniform. Brees would accumulate 4,732 yards, 34 TDs, a 98.8 QB rating and a 67.7 completion percentage. Those numbers would definitely garner enough votes to capture his first MVP award.
In 2006, Brees led the Saints to the NFC Championship game when no one thought that was possible. Six years later, the Black and Gold find themselves in a situation where most people expect them to lose.
Brees brought a less talented team one win away from the Super Bowl in 2006, so I would not bet against him doing something special this season.