Former Saints rival trashes Sean Payton’s legacy

As Sean Payton tries to figure out things with the Denver Broncos, his legacy is being questioned by a rival that he was familiar with during his Saints era.

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Candice Ward/GettyImages

When Sean Payton annouced that he was returning to the NFL last offseason, he was the belle of the ball during last year’s coaching cycle. After more than a decade of success with the New Orleans Saints, Payton was moving on to another lucky team. That team ended up being the Denver Broncos, who traded a first-round and second-round pick to the Saints for Payton and a third-round pick.

Unfortunately, Payton’s Denver tenure didn’t get off to that start that many expected. The Broncos finished the year with an 8-9 record, experiencing some devastating losses, and Payton found himself in a lot of drama— specifically for some comments about former Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett, and Payton’s treatment of former Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson.

Now, as Sean Payton prepares for year two in Denver, some people are questioning if he’s still the guy for the job. Former Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White isn’t questioning it at all, he’s convinced that Payton needs to go. White took to Twitter on Wednesday to say that Sean Payton’s time has passed him by and no draft prospect could change that reality.

White even went a step further, calling Payton’s entire legacy into question, arguing that he was carried by Drew Brees.

Roddy White says Sean Payton was carried by Drew Brees

White and Payton are pretty familiar with each other; they both spent the majority of their careers as rivals in the NFC South. Playing with the Falcons from 2005 to 2015, the four-time Pro Bowl receiver Roddy White played 22 games against the Saints, with Payton being on the opposite sideline for nearly all of those games.

The past rivalry doesn’t seem to be the reason for White’s comments, though. In the tweets that preceded the one about Payton, Roddy White talked about Russell Wilson and Jerry Jeudy being misused on the Broncos. This then led to Roddy making the case that Payton hasn’t done anything since Drew Brees retried.

Payton has only coached two seasons since Brees retired after the 2020 season, and in those two years, Payton has a 17-17 coaching record. He went 9-8 with the Saints in 2021 and 8-9 with the Broncos in 2023. He’ll have at least another season to prove his doubters wrong, but it seems unlike that he’ll be able to win Roddy White over.