New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who led the workforce to its solely Tremendous Bowl title and, with quarterback Drew Brees, created one of many N.F.L.’s most profitable tandems, introduced his retirement in a information convention on Tuesday.
Payton’s 16-year run with the Saints can be remembered for all of the profitable — 152 video games for a .631 profitable share, the fifth-highest amongst present coaches and a high-water mark for a traditionally moribund franchise — but additionally his pugnacious perspective towards the league and the foundations governing the best way the sport is officiated.
Payton was suspended with out pay for the 2012 season for his function in a scheme to pay gamers who harm opponents and knocked them out of video games, a scandal that grew to become referred to as Bountygate. It was the primary time the N.F.L. had suspended a coach, and it value Payton greater than $7 million, whereas the workforce was fined $500,000 and misplaced two second-round draft picks.
Payton, 58, additionally butted heads with the league in 2019 after the Saints misplaced the N.F.C. championship sport, partially as a result of the referees did not name what seemed to be defensive cross interference on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. That low season, Payton efficiently lobbied different groups to make cross interference a reviewable play.
He had been a member of the league’s competitors committee, which critiques guidelines, know-how, game-day operations and participant safety, since 2017, however he stepped down from the group this season.
Payton made eight journeys to the postseason, compiling a 9-8 file, together with a victory over the Indianapolis Colts within the Tremendous Bowl within the 2009 season. His departure provides the Saints to the record, now 9 franchises lengthy, of groups looking for new head coaches. A lot of the different groups fired their coaches weeks in the past, giving them a head begin on interviewing replacements.
In accordance with NFL Community, the Saints’ defensive coordinator, Dennis Allen, is the main candidate to take over for Payton, and Aaron Glenn, the defensive coordinator for the Lions who coached in New Orleans underneath Payton from 2016 to 2020, can also be interviewed.
Payton’s departure, which comes a 12 months after Brees’s retirement, throws into flux the steadiness of energy within the N.F.C. South, which the Saints have dominated for years. The way forward for quarterback Tom Brady’s tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers solely provides to the uncertainty.
It’s unclear whether or not Payton is retiring from teaching, or if he’s taking time without work earlier than discovering one other project. Payton’s title has been floated as a possible coach of the Dallas Cowboys, for whom he was an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach from 2003 to 2005, when Invoice Parcells led the workforce.
“I don’t know what’s subsequent,” Payton stated, addressing his future. “I don’t just like the phrase retirement. I nonetheless have a imaginative and prescient for doing issues in soccer, and I’ll be trustworthy, it is likely to be in teaching. It is likely to be, however it’s not the place my coronary heart is correct now.”
Payton stated he can be staying within the New Orleans space.
Payton’s departure leaves an enormous gap to fill for the workforce’s proprietor, Gayle Benson. Payton referred to as the offensive performs on the sideline and was concerned in practically each side of the workforce’s soccer operations, working intently with Common Supervisor Mickey Loomis and Dennis Lauscha, the president of each the Saints and the N.B.A.’s Pelicans.
Payton helped flip round a largely moribund franchise that had solely seven profitable seasons earlier than he took over as coach in 2006, the identical 12 months that Brees arrived as a free agent from the San Diego Chargers, and a 12 months after New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
“We took an opportunity on Drew on the time as a result of we weren’t going to win any bounce balls,” Payton stated. “In different phrases, we needed to be overly aggressive.”
Brees instantly grew to become the centerpiece of the workforce and reeled off 12 consecutive seasons with 4,000 or extra passing yards. He and Payton received 10 video games and made the postseason of their first 12 months collectively, and by 2009, after recording a 13-3 file within the common season, received the workforce’s first and solely Tremendous Bowl title, which grew to become symbolic of town’s restoration.
With Brees gone, the Saints weren’t practically as explosive this season, ending 9-8 and failing to make the playoffs. Due to accidents, Payton was compelled to make use of 4 completely different quarterbacks, who collectively couldn’t muster the statistics that Brees compiled even in his weakest years.
Payton performed one season as a quarterback with the Chicago Bears in 1987.