New Orleans Saints

Two people familiar with the deal say suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has agreed in principle to a multiyear contract extension.

The people told The Associated Press about the deal Friday on condition of anonymity because it hasn't been signed and final details regarding the length of the contract and financial compensation are still being worked out.

The agreement was first reported by Fox Sports.

Preview: Saints/Panthers Matchup

Dec 29, 2012

The New Orleans Saints will face the Carolina Panthers in the 2012 season finale Sunday at noon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Neither team can clinch a playoff berth with a victory, but both teams are riding winning streaks and looking to build momentum going into next season.

With a victory, the Saints can even the all-time series history between the two teams at 18 wins apiece.

The Saints have won four of their last five meetings with the Panthers, but Carolina defeated the Saints earlier this season, 35-27 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

History will show that in the wake of the NFL's bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints, the club missed the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Saints players and coaches have said throughout the season they wouldn't allow the probe and resulting suspensions to become an excuse for failure.

At the same time, few at Saints headquarters completely discount the effect the scandal had on the club being 7-8 heading into Sunday's season finale against Carolina.

Marques Colston never goes out of his way to be noticed.

He became the New Orleans Saints' all-time leader in touchdowns this season with 56, yet does not have a touchdown dance. He seldom appears in commercials, and keeps media interviews to a minimum.

At Dallas last Sunday, Colston's 10 catches for 153 yards put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the sixth time in his seven seasons. Yet he has never been to a Pro Bowl, which disappoints teammates such as quarterback Drew Brees.

Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt is urging his players to keep thinking about the Lombardi Trophy as they prepare for what otherwise is an anticlimactic season finale between two non-playoff teams.

Vitt says the Saints are still working toward their second Super Bowl title as an organization, even if they can't do it this season.

The Saints are coming off a 34-31 overtime victory at Dallas on Sunday, but were eliminated from playoff contention because of other results. Still, Vitt says he'll remember the 2012 Saints as one of his favorite teams because they never quit.

Saints Win Out Over Cowboys, 34-31 In Overtime

Dec 24, 2012

The New Orleans Saints defeated the Dallas Cowboys 34-31 in overtime Sunday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Despite the win, the Saints’ NFC playoff hopes ended when the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Houston Texans.

The Saints seem comfortable in their spoiler role, however, as they dealt a gigantic blow to their neighboring state rivals, dropping the Cowboys’ record to 8-7, a game behind division leader Washington.

Saints guard Jahri Evans acknowledges a measure of regret that it took so long — probably too long — for New Orleans to resemble the playoff contender it had been the previous three seasons.

Evans says the Saints' 41-0 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday offered a glimpse of how New Orleans should have played earlier this season.

Still, Evans and his teammates say winning out matters whether they make the playoffs or not.

Saints Dominant in Thrashing of Bucs

Dec 16, 2012

The Saints dismantled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 41-0 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday afternoon.

Both teams entered Sunday’s matchup hoping to build on fading playoff hopes, but the Saints crushed the Bucs in dominating fashion to claim their first shutout since a 12-0 victory over the New York Jets on Christmas Eve in 1995.

Drew Brees broke out of his recent slump, throwing for 307 yards and four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Saints-Bucs Sunday Preview

Dec 14, 2012

The New Orleans Saints return home this week for a Sunday afternoon matchup in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against division rivals Tampa Bay.

It’s been a rollercoaster season for the Buccaneers and the Saints as both two clubs come into this weekend’s matchup clinging to very slim playoff hopes.

The two teams met earlier this season in Tampa, where the Saints escaped with a wild 35-28 victory in a game that featured a dramatic goal-line stand by the Saints’ defense and a game-tying touchdown by the Bucs waved off due to a penalty on the last play of the game.

The four NFL players who were fined and given multi-game suspensions for their alleged parts in the New Orleans Saints' "bountygate" scheme that paid bonuses for injuring opposing players have had their punishments vacated, the league says.