3. Coach of the Year
In 2005, the New Orleans Saints were about as pathetic as you can get. Under the leadership of Jim Haslett, the Saints went 3-13 and needed a complete roster overhaul but more importantly, they needed a leader of men.
At a moment’s notice, Payton was given the call and led the Saints to unexpected success. His first year as the lead man resulted in 10 wins and a playoff berth. With the Superdome up and rocking regularly, opposing players hated playing in New Orleans.
The season prior, due to hurricane Katrina, it was easy to bully the Saints around. Payton immediately laid that notion to rest. The Saints were transformed on both sides of the ball. They finished the season ranked in the top five on offense and top 15 on the defensive side of the ball.
To the surprise of no one, Payton nabbed the Coach of the Year Award, the one individual prize that every coach is shooting for before the season starts. While it was a great moment for Payton, it’s shocking that he only has one.