- Ken Trahan
- In a town with riverboat gaming and a huge, land-based casino, Sean Payton is a perfect fit, a gambler of epic proportions. Without a doubt, Payton’s aggressive style is a huge part of the incredible success that the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints have enjoyed.
In fact, it is his attitude that the players feed off of. When you look at the current roster of 32 NFL coaches, virtually everyone concedes that Bill Belichick is the most accomplished of the lot, considering the fact that he has three Super Bowl titles and a fourth appearance.
Of all NFL coaches, Belichick has been perhaps the most aggressive coach, routinely going for it on fourth down, running trick plays, taking chances. He has company now on an equal basis, if, in fact, he has not been surpassed in that regard.
Sean Payton has done as Belichick has since coming to New Orleans. Flea-flickers, reverses, a failed “Superdome Special,” going for it on fourth down, running fakes, throwing both well-conceived and questionable red flags, brazenly calling timeouts with over three minutes remaining in the first half of games when the opponent has the ball which sends a message of the coach’s belief in both his defense to get a stop and his offense to get the ball and score and, of course, “the” onside kick.
It is just a breath, a stone’s throw from the penthouse to the outhouse. If your team executes a daring call, you are a hero. If they do not, you are a goat. Sean Payton is a hero. His players are heroes. He humbly gave the players credit for making him “look good.”
Without a doubt, the onside kick to begin the second half of Super Bowl 44 changed the game. Rookie Thomas Morstead, who punted and kicked off anything like a rookie in this game and throughout the season, hit one perfectly left. Hank Baskett could not corral it. Chris Reis and Jonathan Casillas fought like madmen in the scrum and recovered it simultaneously.