Payton Gives Reason To Believe

With openings at elite NFL franchises, head coach stayed in New Orleans
Sean Payton

The last time we saw the Saints, they walked off the field victors over the archrival Atlanta Falcons due to Kai Forbath’s 30-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.

The conversion moved the Saints to 7-9, the same record the Saints have had in three of the last four years. While it was good to go into the offseason with a win, especially over Atlanta, it was a stark reminder that the Saints have been missing something – swagger.

As they get ready to kick off training camp, the Saints have to find it if they want to avoid a third 7-9 season, or worse.

On July 4, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook released its odds, including that New Orleans will win no more than seven games this season. They also gave the Saints an 8-1 probability to win the division and 80-1 odds to win Super Bowl LI.

Those odds give apprehension regarding the coming season.

Yet, there is a major reason to believe, and that is head coach Sean Payton.

At the end of last season, I fully expected that Payton was going to leave New Orleans to explore one of the head coaching jobs that opened in several large market cities, including New York, San Francisco, Miami, and Los Angeles. His name was mentioned with nearly every job opening available. He had the potential to go to be a star in a major media market, with the salary and endorsement deals that scale with the size of the city.

Then he called a press conference to emphatically state he was going nowhere. In an instant, he provided the club with stability and credibility when both were desperately needed.

“This is where I plan on coaching. I don't envision myself ever coaching for any other club,” Payton said. “I plan on finishing my career here.”

Payton is loved in New Orleans, and knows he gets a lot of credit for guiding the Saints to a 93-61 record, two NFC Championship appearances and a Super Bowl Championship.

Payton’s decision is not without risk. For now, he can still easily sidestep responsibility for much of the Saints struggles in recent years by blaming bad drafts and free agent signings for limiting the team’s talent and depth. But, he chose to stay, fully knowing the situation at hand. If the Saints don't get better, he will take on more responsibility for their failure. It could ultimately cost him his job and affect his future value and bargaining power.

He knows his neck is on the line. He put it there. I’d like to think he knows what he’s doing, and that gives me hope for this year.

Sean Payton’s teams seem to do best when they’re not expected to do much. Hopefully this can work to the Black & Gold’s advantage.



Categories: The Pennant Chase