Looking back on Sean Payton’s legacy in the NFC South

Kristen Wong
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) /
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Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

1. Payton vs. Tampa Bay

Sean Payton’s record against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is 21-11. (20 technically, when factoring in Payton’s COVID-19-related absence in 2021.)

He finished with two wins against the Bucs in the 2021 season.

Now here’s one of the spicier rivalries in recent history. For those eccentric connoisseurs of facts: Jameis Winston won his first NFL game as a rookie quarterback for the Bucs against New Orleans in 2015.

The Saints have won every regular season game against Tampa since December of 2018, but the Bucs won their Divisional Round matchup in 2020.

Tom Brady’s signing with the Bucs allowed the league to see two of the best quarterbacks of all time face each other twice a year, but only briefly; that playoff loss ended up being Brees’ final game of his career.

In present day, Brady has been tormented by Sean Payton, Dennis Allen, and the New Orleans Saints for most of his Bucs career. The 9-0 shutout. The Ceedy Duce picks. The Microsoft Surface trolling.

Payton sat out of the Saints’ most recent victory against the former Super Bowl champs, and defensive coordinator and interim head coach Dennis Allen deserves most of the credit for that shutout.

Still, Payton boasts an impressive record against the GOAT, and a just as impressive one against the Bucs franchise overall.

In the end, Brady is but a tiny blip on Payton’s overarching coaching career, like two ships in the night passing each other by.

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Outside of Brady and outside of the NFC South, Sean Payton has many other feats to reminisce about during his New Orleans Saints tenure, the most important of which may be: he left NOLA in a better place than when he first arrived.

The New Orleans Saints will be eternally grateful, while the other NFC South teams breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing they won’t have to face Payton again. For now.

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