THE NEW ORLEANS Saints have named Joe Vitt as interim coach, despite the top assistant's six-game suspension for his role in the club's bounty system. The Saints had to find a one-season replacement for head coach Sean Payton, whose seasonlong suspension in connection with the bounty scandal begins Monday and runs through next February's Super Bowl.
New Orleans GM Mickey Loomis said Vitt will take over on Monday. "It is important that we keep Sean Payton's philosophy front and center during this season," Loomis said Thursday. "Sean has been the driving force behind the tremendous success our team has enjoyed during the past 6 years, his leadership will be missed. But we need to set a course of action that gives us the best chance to win this season without our head coach."