The NFL wanted to make an example out of the Saints. The Saints have instead become an example for how an organization can overcome adversity, regardless of its source or legitimacy.
The first road playoff win in Saints franchise history would have been significant regardless of when it happened. That it happened one year after the league office delivered a potentially crippling blow to the team makes it even more impressive.
Apart from coach Sean Payton being suspended for a year, the NFL stripped the Saints of a pair of second-round draft picks. And while rules technically were broken, the 22-page, single-spaced ruling from former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue overturning all player discipline carried a subtle-but-potent rebuke of his successor for addressing a cultural issue in the NFL not by giving everyone a fair chance to adapt to a new reality but by hammering the one team out of 32 that happened to be caught with a hand in the bounty jar.