NEW ORLEANS -- There is no joy in Who Dat-ville as Saints fans process the NFL version of tough love.
"It was expected to make an example of them," said Steve Rouquette, owner of the Ugly Dog Saloon in the Warehouse District. "I'm sure they all do it. We just got caught."
"I think it sounds a little too much, a little too harsh," said Mark Marino over lunch with some of his co-workers. "You know it's going on with all the teams. I can't believe they're making that big of an example."
"I don't think Sean Payton was responsible for what took place," said Glen Carter who was having lunch across town at the Fox and Hound. "I don't think he had any knowledge of it. I don't think he deserved the penalty he received."
Payton received a year's suspension in the pay-for-performance scandal dubbed "Bounty-gate."
One fan says Payton left NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with few options.
"It's one thing to have a policy to go out and play aggressively, but to have a policy or a reward system to go out and take people out of the game and hurt people," said Steve Kissmee. "I'm not for that at all."
Longtime John Curtis Football Head Coach J.T. Curtis also says Goodell got it right.
"Obviously, he's making a very strong statement that the league is saying that we're not going to tolerate this kind of behavior and unfortunately the Saints were the one that are going to take the brunt of it," he said. "I think it says that you have to play within the rules and that if you knowingly break the rules, you're going to be severely punished and to a large degree, I agree with that."
Coach Curtis and others say despite the sanctions, the Saints can put together a winning season.
"I think they have the people in place that can keep this franchise going for a year without a lot of interruption," said Curtis. "I do believe it makes it extremely important that we get Drew Brees signed. I think between he and Coach Carmichael, they'll do a good job running the offense and of course I have a lot of confidence in the new defensive coordinator."
"I think the Saints are born to be winners," said Saints fan Glen Carter. "I think they have a Super Bowl they can fight back from. Drew Brees is spectacular at what he does, running the offense."
"As long as Drew Brees is at the helm, I think it will be fine," said Saints fan Gus Haiko. "But, that is not a reason to throw the book at the Saints."
The man now negotiating a new long term deal with Brees, Saints GM Micky Loomis, was also suspended by the NFL for eight games and fined $500,000.