Those members of the Saints fan base who were worried that Sean Payton might be trying to leave for ‘greener pastures’ got a massive surge of relief earlier this week when Payton made it clear that he intends to be in New Orleans as long as the organization will have him.
I’ve gone on the record on multiple platforms (Big Easy Blitz, Twitter, and my own podcast on The Saints Nation) saying that I never thought Payton was going anywhere. There are a number of reasons for this, but before we get into the future I’ll give you the two simplest ones.
First of all, Sean Payton is a man of tremendous pride and believes in himself. I find it highly unlikely that two 7-9 seasons made him want to leave, especially when the fans started weighing in. In fact, I think it’s the opposite. Even if Payton at one point took it under consideration, the man’s ego isn’t such that he would leave a job half done, not when doing so is essentially admitting he could no longer win in New Orleans. Payton (much like Drew Brees) has always had a chip on his shoulder, and I wouldn’t find it surprising at all to learn that the doubts surrounding his job security are now fueling him even more.
The biggest reason has nothing to do with his personality or me trying to play armchair psychologist though. It’s much more obvious. There was no way on earth general manager Mickey Loomis was going to let someone just pry Payton away from the Saints without getting the FULL GRUDEN at a minimum. That means getting at least a pair of first round picks and at least one second round pick, probably two. Without what would essentially amount to ‘breaking the bank’, I don’t think there is any way Loomis even listens to any kind of offer for Payton. And yes, I am saying that you can take that whole ‘the price is a 2nd rounder’ report and you can use it for toilet paper, because that was ridiculous.
The fact is that despite what some would have you believe Sean Payton is still VERY good at his job, and more importantly the FIGHT shown by this team through its last few games shows he clearly still has his players’ attention. While some will look at the last two seasons and say 7-9 is an embarrassment, I say it’s a miracle pulled off by a Hall of Fame quarterback and a top 5 coach. The Saints were an embarrassment on defense the last two seasons, and had a talent-deficient roster that was crippled by injuries. Mike Smith, just to pull out a name, wouldn’t have gone 7-9 with the Saints roster. He would have gone 2-14. The sign of a truly great leader isn’t what they do when things go well, but how they handle adversity.
Next: Payton is priceless