Jason La Canfora reported earlier today that Saints head coach Sean Payton would be appealing his year long suspension that will sideline couch him until 2013. Everyone is assuming that Payton has no chance of winning his appeal, and Sean Payton himself probably realizes that, but getting his appeal overturned isn’t what this appeal is all about.
The primary reason that Sean Payton has chosen to appeal his suspension is that it buys him time. Payton’s suspension is currently set to begin on Sunday, April 1st, but his suspension will not begin until the appellate process is concluded, meaning his suspension isn’t likely to begin until the middle of next week. Roger Goodell has said that any appeal would be expedited, so don’t expect a month-long suspension. The appeal will be a boom boom process, but it’ll still take a couple or a few days to be resolved.
There’s another time sensitive issue the Saints are dealing with. Sean Payton has, over the past week, reached out to Bill Parcells to potentially be the Saints interim head coach for the 2012 season. It looks like the deal may actually get done as time progresses, but the Saints would have to interview at least one minority candidate per the Rooney rule. Sean Payton and the Saints are tyring to orchestrate as smooth of a transition as possible, and added days allow them to square away the details of who the interim coach will be when the season starts.
The other issue that Sean Payton will be looking to clear up in his appeal is the specifics of the suspension. When a player is suspended, he is not allowed to have any contact with his coaches, and he can’t participate in any team activities which includes using team facilities. It’s unclear what a coach’s suspension will be like. Sean Payton will be asking commissioner Roger Goodell what, if any, kind of contact he can have with his other coaches, and what are the boundaries of what their conversations can be about. It’s all relevant questions, and it’s something that Sean Payton would like to have cleared up as his suspension begins sometime next week.
Yes, Sean Payton is appealing his year long suspension, but no one expects any part of the punishment to change. All Payton is trying to do is buy him and the Saints a little bit of time as they determine what direction the Saints are headed in 2012, and he’s looking to clarify what the confines of his suspension really are.