Any given… Tuesday?
That’s correct major news dropped as Sean Payton, Head Coach for the New Orleans Saints, announced that he would be retiring this year, which ends an era in the Big Easy.
Payton has three years remaining on his current contract after signing his extension in 2019. This means New Orleans would maintain his rights if he decides to return to coaching in the future.
“I don’t know what’s next,” said Payton at a press conference on Tuesday. “That might be coaching at some point, but probably not this year. That’s not where my heart is… I don’t know what’s next and it kind of feels good.”
The current speculation is defensive coordinator Dennis Allen will take over as the Saints head coach after he acted as head coach when Payton was out for a game during the 2021 season due to COVID protocols.
Payton, 58, would be the head man for the Black and Gold for a better part of decade since 2006. During his tenure the Saints would become one of the most prolific teams most notably on offense in the league and capturing a Super Bowl Title in 2009. In the 2010s The Saints would become a fixture in the NFL playoffs, making it 6 out of the ten years in the decade (2010, 2011, 2013, 2017, 2018, and 2019) plus 2020. However, when looking at Payton’s legendry’s career his post season record is 8-9 overall with the last NFC championship appearance in 2018 (with what many would say was controversial in the way it ended). Another post season blemish on Payton’s record would have to be the “Beast Quake” game, which for Seahawks fans and maybe NFL fans in general is a fun memory, but probably one Saints fans don’t like to recall.
When you look at the overall body of work for Payton only one Super Bowl victory and one Super Bowl appearance in general is something that could be seen as a knock on him if you wanted to be critical. I for one will not be critical before Payton’s career in New Orleans many would refer to the Saints as the “Aints” the franchise for awhile had been seen as a failure in the league. One thing that Payton will be remembered for is the loving culture he built in New Orleans and establishing and maintaining a great relationship with the city. There is no doubt the Saints were instrumental in the healing process in the time after Hurricane Katrina in fact the game versus the Atlanta Falcons is always recollected when describing the return on the Saints to the city.
There are three ways to view this retiring. First in the lens of a Saints fan: Hurt that your head coach that led you to success in the NFL is now leaving and the era is over, which now begins the course into the unknown for the future of the franchise. Second the lens of a NFL Fan: Shocked, when you thought about the Saints you thought offenses that want to challenge you vertically and defenses that might be paying bounties to play better against your team. Last the lens of NFC South Fan: Happy, now you can (maybe) breathe a sigh of relief, as of right now the juggernaut that was the Saints might be coming to an end.
Stephen Michael contributed to this report.