Saints’ Sean Payton should get some Coach of the Year love
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has had many wonderful seasons in his 15-year coaching tenure with the team. This one may be his finest one yet.
2020 has been an unprecedented year not only for the New Orleans Saints and the NFL but for the entire world.
Throughout this whole pandemic with Covid-19, those who have had success have been backed by strong, level-headed leadership to navigate them through these turbulent times. Sean Payton has definitely been that leader for the Saints.
After dealing with contracting Covid-19 back in March, coach Payton aimed to mitigate the spread amongst his own team when training camp started by creating a “bubble” of sorts by isolating his team from the public.
It was unique and the first of its kind in the NFL and caused other teams to adopt a similar approach. As much as this brought the team together in a sense, something else almost tore it apart.
In June, quarterback Drew Brees conducted an interview on Yahoo Finance where he reiterated his stance on kneeling and the flag.
His comments were widely regarded by his teammates to be inflammatory and insensitive. Players around the league and even Brees’ own teammates publicly criticized the quarterback on social media and other platforms.
His remarks lead to a team meeting and a public apology from Brees himself regarding his comments. 2020 was definitely a rough start to the football season for the Saints, but things were just as precarious on the field as well.
The Saints opened the year with an impressive 34-23 win over division rival Tampa Bay in the season opener. What was lost was Michael Thomas late in-game with an ankle injury.
The reigning Offensive Player of the Year who had just set the new single-season pass catch record the previous year would be sidelined for six games dealing with that and a hamstring injury. The Saints would struggle and drop their next two games and sit 1-2 heading into Week 4.
Coach Payton would rally the troops back and rattle off 6 straight wins until injury would bite not only his team again, but his Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees for the second straight season.
Late in the second, quarterback Brees would take a brutal hit from 49ers defensive end Kentavius Street that left the quarterback sprawling on the ground. Brees would get up and finish the half, but not the game as backup quarterback Jameis Winston would start the second half and finish the game in a Saints 27-13 victory.
Brees would be diagnosed with 11 broken ribs and a collapsed lung and would be sidelined indefinitely with his injury. This would seem likely to derail the Saints’ momentum heading into the latter part of the season. coach Payton once again showed he has some magic up his sleeve.
After shocking the sports world when he announced that Taysom Hill would be his starter over Jamesis Winston, Payton proved again he is a quarterback genius of sorts. Hill, who before assuming the starter role had only attempted 20 passes in his career, has led the Saints to two straight victories as the team has won 8 straight games.
This record has pushed Payton to 7-0 the last 2 seasons with backup quarterbacks as Brees has missed significant time each season.
The Saints are currently the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC, and even boasts the NFL’s No. 1 overall defense through Week 12. The coaching job Payton has done this season has been masterful to say the least.
The New Orleans Saints are riding high and it’s thanks to the leadership and direction of Sean Payton.
Other coaching candidates like Steelers coach Mike Tomlin may be deserving of the award himself, but the turmoil Payton and the Saints have been able to navigate through shows just how special this team and coach truthfully are.