The 10 biggest what-ifs in New Orleans Saints history

• Nick Saban might not have gone to Alabama if he had Drew Brees

• Sean Payton was nearly replaced by a legend

• What if Marcus Williams stopped the Minneapolis Miracle?

New Orleans Saints
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7. What if Bill Parcells coached when Payton was suspended

When Sean Payton was suspended in 2012, the Saints ended up going with the same staff, they just re-assigned duties. It didn't work the way they wanted — and yet they tried it again when Payton left ahead of the 2022 season with the same results but again, that's for a different day.

However, they nearly went in a much different direction.

New Orleans reached out to Bill Parcells, who was Payton's head coach when they were both in Dallas. Parcells, who had retired in 2006, nearly decided to come back but in the end, said the job wasn't the right fit for both parties.

"I've done this job for a long time," Parcells said, via Nate Davis of USA Today. "And it takes a tremendous amount of energy, particularly a person my age, to do these things. And at the end of the thought process and the interim time that I had to think about it, I just didn't think I was the guy that really wanted to do it. And I really don't think I was the best guy for the Saints as well."

For Parcells, it meant he didn't have to reset his five-year wait to get into the Hall of Fame, which happened in 2013, but it's still fun to think about what would have happened.

In his 19-year coaching career, Parcells was 172-130-1 with two Super Bowl rings. That's impressive and the initial thought is that he would have kept New Orleans on the right track.

But that might not have been the case. Parcells was 34-30 in his final four seasons with Dallas. He was an average coach and it seemed as though the game passed him by. He was still of the belief that games were won with power running and good defense, whereas the rest of the NFL was all-in on the passing attack.

Perhaps he would have led them to a better record, or maybe it could have been even worse if he tried to completely change the identity for one season.