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Payton Saint

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; IRVING, Texas - Four years ago, about this time, maybe a week or two earlier, Sean Payton walked into the office of Jerry Jones out here at The Ranch. The Cowboys assistant head coach/offensive coordinator was somewhat conflicted. He had ...

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Old 01-26-2010, 11:03 PM   #1
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Payton Saint

IRVING, Texas - Four years ago, about this time, maybe a week or two earlier, Sean Payton walked into the office of Jerry Jones out here at The Ranch.

The Cowboys assistant head coach/offensive coordinator was somewhat conflicted. He had another opportunity at the ripe age of 42 to become an NFL head coach. Actually, two opportunities, one in Green Bay and one in New Orleans.

Yes again, because two years earlier, he was offered the head coaching job of the Oakland Raiders, and did what most would think the unthinkable: He turned down the offer. He turned down Al Davis. He just sensed something wasn't quite right.

His senses were right on, because two years later Norv Turner was driving over The Bay Bridge to San Francisco, having been fired as the Raiders head coach and hired by the 49ers to become their offensive coordinator, and little has gone right in Oakland since.

So here he was, conflicted again. The Green Bay job could have been his if he wanted it. But there was something about the New Orleans job that appealed to him, even if most everyone thought he was half nuts. That included his wife Beth. New Orleans, you kidding me, basically was her response.

She knew, and so did he really. Hurricane Katrina, not much more than four months earlier, had left the city - the region - in shambles. Devastation would be an understatement. The Saints had been displaced that 2005 season to San Antonio, forced to play a home game against the Giants at the Meadowlands, then in San Antonio and even at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. Not shockingly, they went 3-13 that season and head coach Jim Haslett was fired.

What was he thinking about?

Saints GM Mickey Loomis didn't hide a thing from Payton. He first interviewed him in San Antonio, but made sure later on to give him the full tour of New Orleans. All of it, leaving out no FEMA trailer. Conditions were so bad - desperate for most - who could be sure there would even be a City of New Orleans ever again, as some projected?

Take the job, and how would you ever put a staff together? How would you ever convince free agents to move their families here? Where? Yours?

Take this job or turn down your second head coaching opportunity in the NFL?

So Payton went in to talk to the Cowboys owner, as the story goes, and Jerry was sort of in a bind himself at the time. Would Bill Parcells be back for the fourth year of his contract, because that still was up in the air, which left Payton in an even more precarious place? What if he turned down this job, and then Bill didn't come back? He could be out of a job if Jerry didn't choose him as the next head coach.

What to do, what to do?

Payton sort of knew in his heart what he wanted to do, but he was looking for any sort of confirmation, or for that matter, someone to tell him he hadn't fallen on his head. He probably had walked into the wrong office for that. Look, Jerry, against all sound financial advice, plucked down $140 million to buy the Dallas Cowboys and the lease to Texas Stadium in 1989, putting his self-worth on the line for a franchise in the red and losing money hand over fist for several years - all in a local downturned economy.

And Jerry essentially told Sean this: Very rarely in life do we receive the opportunity to do something great; to make a difference, not with just a football team, but in a city, and in this case, a state and entire region. Rarely does one receive the opportunity to not only make history in sports, but to use sports as a vehicle for a greater good.

This could be an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Jerry basically validated Payton's inner desire to take on the mammoth rebuilding project that was the New Orleans Saints. And four seasons later:

Saints 31, Vikings 28, overtime, in Sunday's NFC Championship game, with the Louisiana Superdome busting at the seams for all the right reasons this time.

Saints NFC champs for the first time in their 43-year history.

Saints going to the Super Bowl for the first time in their 43-year history.

Maybe those long-ago "Aints" bags fans once used to cover their heads in embarrassment over a franchise needing 21 years to produce its first winning season and 35 years to win its first playoff game had been recycled into that Black and Gold

Payton Saint



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Old 01-26-2010, 11:25 PM   #2
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Re: Payton Saint

Guess we owe J.J a little love for telling Payton the words he needed to hear..lol
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:32 PM   #3
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Re: Payton Saint

Still don't like Leatherface Jones, but good move on his part. Thanks Jerry!
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