I do not own a crystal ball or visions into the future. No one at the Saints facility on Airline Drive calls me to ask my opinion or tell me what is about to happen, but if I were a betting man, I'd bet my bundle that Sean Payton will be coaching the Saints next year.
Whatever Sean Payton is, and he is many wonderful things, he is loyal. My gut tells me that he'll be back for Drew Brees, Mickey Loomis and Tom Benson. Oh yeah, he'll be back to return the love of the NFL's best fans, the Who Dat Nation. Along the way, I think he'd like to take home an "untarnished" Lombardi while the team he built is still in it's prime.
Sean is a winner and winners like to be where they can win. His best bet to win another Lombardi is right here in New Orleans and he knows that. Again, just guessing, but my guess here is that the length of his contract might be the issue. The franchise would like him here for a long time. Payton may prefer a shorter term deal. His mentors are John Gruden and the Big Tuna, Bill Parcells. Both of these Hall of Fame-level coaches (especially Parcells) moved around the league, never staying too long in any location. So, I am guessing that what Sean would like is a deal that lets him win another Lombardi and then take his show to another town.
There is no doubt that Jerry Jones will want Sean in Dallas if the Cowboys skid out of the playoffs this year. It's not just about winning there. Jones' big new stadium comes with a big mortgage payment and a mediocre team brings mediocre dollars in. He needs big time dollars to keep the lights on at Jerryland. Big time dollars come from winning the big one or, if that doesn't happen, by bringing in a big time name to help rebuild. Sean Payton is the biggest of the available big time names. If you're Jerry Jones, not only might you think that Payton can transform your also-ran Cowboys into Super Bowl winners, but his marquee value will sells seats and suites.
It's simple, Sean Payton puts butts in seats and Jason Garrett simply doesn't. When not writing here, I produce movies. There are amazing actors who don't get the big parts in big movies because they can't "open a movie." That means that, although they can act better than say, Leonardo Dicaprio, they can't get as many people to the theatres as the blonde haired blue eyed Leo. Sean is a star. Jason Garrett and few other NFL coaches are. The latest word from Jay Glazer, a known close confidant of Coach Payton, is simply posturing. Coaches, agents and players use the media frequently in negotiations and Payton always prefers to talk with network reporters as opposed to locals.
In the end, I think Sean Payton will be here for a few more years and then we should thank him for all he has done and will do for our team and our community. He gave us incredible memories and big dreams when we needed them most. A dream came so true that, for many, it helped erase a nightmare. He was a vital part of the team that gave us hope. He has unfinished business after having his career rudely interrupted by Roger Goodell. Now, let's hope he stays a little longer.
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