New Orleans Saints: Is Sean Payton still hungry?
By Dean Mullen
There is no doubt that Saints’ coach Sean Payton will go down as one of the best NFL coaches in history. By far, Payton will surely be the most successful coach in Saints history. The only question after ten years is the fire still there?
To be clear, Sean Payton still wants to win. His fight is still there. No one rises up this high in the profession of coaching without the drive to keep winning continuously like Payton. After being in one place for long, the only question is what drives Sean Payton in 2016? The motivation to climb the ladder initially in the NFL has to be enticing, to be able to one day get that chance to be a head coach in the NFL.
For many, the idea of even getting to being a head coach is simply unattainable for various reasons. The fact is there are only 32 coaching jobs in the league and it’s a long journey. To reach the Super Bowl the odds are even more astronomical. The hours are endless and the rewards are often fleeting. The journey for these immensely talented individuals can seem to be the ultimate challenge.
Here are just some of the things that legendary coaches had to say.
"“It was either quit or end up in the looney bin or the graveyard. I worked myself in a hole. I worked too many hours.” -Coach Dick Vermeil"
Vermeil took two teams to the Super Bowl the Philadelphia Eagles and the St. Louis Rams. Vermeil often would wake up at sunrise and finish at midnight with a notebook always at his bedside. The schedule would be normally 96 hours.
"“There may be a few who aren’t workaholics, but not many. To gain an edge, you go to the extremes. To do the job right takes a tremendous amount of time.” -Dick Vermeil continued"
Another example, former coach John Madden also took the Oakland Raiders to the Super Bowl in 1977. He quit coaching a year later. Madden was 42 years old when he had no choice to calm his nerves by downing an antacid constantly to counteract the effects of an ulcer.
"“During the season I never got more than three or fours of sleep a night. The way I approached the game it had to take its toll.”-Former Coach John Madden"
Another coach Paul Brown who was a Hall of Fame coach eventually became a general manager of the Bengals had this to say about coach Sam Wyche.
"“Sam got on an airplane one afternoon last year and said, ‘Gosh I’m hungry.’ He hadn’t eaten since breakfast the day before. I told him it had to stop. No more skipping meals. No more staying at our training canter late at night. You can’t live like that. You can’t keep working until 1 or 2 or 3 in the morning. You’re risking your health, and it doesn’t pay off.”"
Wyche was known for taking the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII. The stories are endless. The job can be brutal for anyone that gets hooked. Sean Payton is still young at 52 years old. Ultimately, there is no one that knows where Sean Payton is on his hunger meter. He’s the only person that could honestly give an accurate gauge of his level of desire after ten years.
One thing is for certain, there will be a time when the game does get the best of you. Plenty of coaches have simply “hit the wall.” Be that as it may, keeping that hunger going for long periods of time can take a toll on any coach. Who Dat Nation can only hope that Payton is aware of the men that have came before him that eventually realized the more balance was needed. Otherwise, burnout would likely occur. Payton will just need to be very careful of how he goes forward into his later years.
Former Coach Herm Edwards sums it up here.
"“The 100-hour work weeks, the pressure of winning, and the stress that comes from having to worry about every facet of the organization can lead to some very unhealthy lifestyles.-Former Coach Herm Edwards.”"