This NFL preseason will without a doubt be one like the New Orleans Saints have never experienced before.
Head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for a year after “bounty” allegations came to light, and the team is flirting with hiring Bill Parcells to act as interim head coach in his absence.
While Payton — as well as GM Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt — are appealing their suspensions with the league on Thursday, it’s expected that Commissioner Roger Goodell will not reduce the penalties he has already handed down.
Goodell of course came down harshly on the Saints for their perceived pay-for-performance program, said to have targeted specific players over the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons.
But the primary reason for the hefty suspensions was due to the fact that the NFL claims the Saints attempted to cover up the program after the 2009 season when the leagues security team came calling after several teams claimed the Saints defense played “dirty” throughout the playoffs.
Regardless of who is at the helm of the Saints, it has been known for a few months that New Orlean would open up the 2012 NFL preseason by playing in the Hall of Fame game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday August 5th.
Because of the Hall of Fame game the Saints will play in five total preseason games this year.
It was also leaked very recently that the Saints will play in Tennessee against the Titans in week four of the preseason.
After their exhibition game with the Cardinals the Saints will play at New England.
The next week the Saints will return home to the Superdome to play host to the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars, where they will stay to face the Houston Texans — a game that will be televised nationally on CBS.
Afterwards the Saints will end the preseason in Tennessee against the Titans, as originally reported.
All times and dates, with exception to the Hall of Fame game, will be determined further down the road.