The Who Dat Nation was rejoicing mightily yesterday, with the word that Sean Payton was indeed staying in New Orleans as head coach of the New Orleans Saints franchise for at least a 10th season in 2016, and an 11th one in 2017 — when his current contract expires at the conclusion of that season .
As most of you know, for months you have been told that the trading of your beloved coach, Sean Payton, was inevitable.
Even dating back to the 2014 season, there were rumors Payton was on his way out of town. Then this year with the Saints 3rd losing season out of the past 4, it all blew out of proportion.
You were told Sean was tired of New Orleans and wanted to go somewhere else. At some point certain media outlets made it feel like there wasn’t a sliver of chance Coach Payton would be with the black and gold next year.
Wednesday, at 2pm CST, Payton had his end of season press conference. Every Saints fan was anxious to hear what he had to say.
Especially when it got pushed back from 1pm to 2pm, it made it even more stressful.
Was Payton staying with the Saints? Was it even going to be him at the press conference? Or was he already out of town?
Jan 6, 2016; Metairie, LA, USA; Sean Payton talks to the media after announcing he will remain as the head coach for the New Orleans Saints during a press conference at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Saints owner Tom Benson, his wife Gayle Benson, and Mickey Loomis, Saints general manager, were all there for this press conference. What was so important about this press conference, that they all had to be there? The anxiety got even higher.
So as Payton does so often, he took the stage acting like everything was normal and gave his opening remarks. Mentioned how he was disappointed the season was over and how he “would love this press conference to be about an upcoming opponent, and whether we can win in cold weather, or if we are going to change the type of Gatorade.”
Referring back to the Saints last season in the playoffs in 2013, when the notion was they could not win on the road; and Coach Payton changed some things around prior to the game that week, to mix it up some.
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Then he went on to say he was encouraged by “winning three of the last four games, with some of our younger guys and some of the players that stepped up in the game against Atlanta, there was something different about it.”
Then finally he went on to address the thing we were all dying to hear most: was he staying in New Orleans?
“I’ve said this before, and I understand the interest and certainly the skepticism if you will, but this is where I plan on coaching and I don’t envision myself ever coaching for any other club. I’ve said this before and I can’t say this enough, just having met with Mr. Benson and his and his wife Gayle, I have been blessed coming in when I came.”
Jan 6, 2016; Metairie, LA, USA; Sean Payton talks to the media after announcing he will remain as the head coach for the New Orleans Saints during a press conference at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports wife Gayle, I have been blessed coming in when I came,” He said.
Then he also went on to relate to the New Orleans community some by saying he “drives through a pot hole everyday, like you guys do, and get upset” and “when the water is down in a certain parish, I have to come here to shower just like everyone else might ago somewhere else, and yet it grows on you, and it is home.”
Payton referenced something Zach Strief said saying he would “bhere as long as they will have me”
Hearing all of that brought a sigh of relief to Who Dat Nation, Coach Payton was staying home.
There was something different about this press conference, though.
Payton seemed to be in a good place. After his opening remarks he said he wouldn’t have any “next questions” — something he frequently says when he wants to purposely avoid a question, but this time acknowledging that he’d answer every question until they were out of questions.
Throughout the whole press conference, he seemed upbeat and happy. He seemed somewhat rejuvenated.
He even mentioned his mother at one point, and comparing her buying couches at a garage sale to the Saints signing free agents coming off of injury.
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Now, I don’t know what brought this upon him.
Was he reflective over his life over the past few days and it rejuvenated his love for New Orleans, realizing he didn’t want to live anywhere else?
It could have even be he knew he was in a bad place with the fan base, and he put on a show to make everybody remember why we loved him so much.
I do not know what brought this type of attitude across Payton. But I’m glad it did.
Hopefully next season we will have our energetic, fearless head coach back and not the guy who looks emotionless on the sidelines, sometimes like he doesn’t even want to be there.
This Saints team is better off with Payton at head coach, and hopefully a rejuvenated Payton can get this young team pumped up for the beginning of a hopefully successful 2016 season.
Every body in Who Dat Nation should be happy because yesterday on Airline Drive, Sean Payton really seemed like a changed man….