As we all know, the New Orleans Saints' staff was tremendously effected by the "bountygate" program they had been running for the past few years. Sean Payton was probably effected the most, as he currently isn't recognized as the Saints' coach, serving a one-year ban from coaching the team. With all that happening to New Orleans in the past offseason, will Sean Payton still be their coach next season?
A big reason I see Payton NOT coaching in New Orleans next season is the bad reputation the team has gotten.
In 2007, the Patriots were found cheating in a game vs, the New York Jets, where they were using cameras to film the Jets' coaches' mouths and see what plays they were calling. This instance was called "spygate". Even 5 years later, New England still has criticism and has lost so much respect from NFL fans for spygate.
I understand New Orleans is a city full of dedicated fans, who always stick together. A good example is when the people of New Orleans suffered through Hurricane Katrina, and used football and the Saints to forget all the horrible memories Katrina inflicted on that city. This environment would be the main reason Payton would want to stay in New Orleans, but I feel he will put business first, and re-build his reputation. As head coach, Payton was ridiculed for the whole situation. There are plenty of places he can be a winner, and re-build his reputation at the same time.
Another reason is what I was just talking about, which is where he could go and win. There are plenty of talented teams out there that could certainly use Payton. Of course we have seen what Payton has done in New Orleans, and any team could easily just fire their current coach to make room for Payton.
However, there are plenty of coaches on the hot seat right now that actually deserve their spot taken. Let's go through a few of these teams.
The Bills have always been there, winning some games, but never really have done much, at least in the last 20 or so years. They now have the talent to really make a team, but have two problems that Payton could fix: Need a legitimate quarterback, and need a good coaching leader. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the current Bills' QB, and definitely has some good characteristics, as well as some stomach-wrenching ones. Payton has done a lot of good things with the Saints, and the big one that sticks out to me is his relationships with his players.
Drew Brees is undoubtedly one of the better quarterbacks in the game, and a lot of it has to do with his relationship with Payton. Payton is a great leader, and is fueled by passion and love for the game. He transfers this to each and every player he coaches, and that's what seems to make his teams so great. With the running game and the defense of Buffalo, they set themselves up to be in the running for Payton, but adding a talented quarterback that just needs some leadership puts the Bills near the top of that list.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers seem they will cut ties with Norv Turner at season's end, and Sean Payton would be the perfect fit for the job. We have seen flashes of quarterback Phillip Rivers and the Chargers as a good team, but we have also seen the worst of the worst. San Diego could be considered the most inconsistent team ever, as they have seasons where they are great, but then the very next season are horrendous.
Well, I think Payton's leadership and player connections also would apply in San Diego. Norv Turner never gets animated after his team makes a mistake, where Payton can sit down with a player and help them not make the mistake again. Payton could take over the Chargers and do very well in my opinion.
The Cowboys are probably one of the most talented teams in the NFL, but can never get anything going in the postseason. Tony Romo can put up some spectacular stats, but has only won one playoff game in his tenure in the league. Payton's best qualities also apply in Dallas, as they need some leadership that Jason Garrett isn't providing. With Payton running the show, the 'Boys could very well make a deep postseason run.
The Browns are my last team I see Payton going to if he did end up leaving New Orleans. The Browns have been one of the most unwatchable teams in the past 10 years, but after a strong draft in this past April, Cleveland looks to change their losing woes. Like I've stated numerous times throughout this article, Sean Payton is great with quarterbacks and players. In Cleveland, I think the guidance and relationship he would provide QB Brandon Weeden would be key in their hopeful success.
Now, I actually see Sean Payton doing the best in Cleveland then any other team. The Browns have a pretty tough defense, as well as a good enough offense to keep up with the leagues best including the defending-champion Giants, the nicked up but still talented Steelers (who they beat), and the Ravens, who they kept up with in both contests between the two. With one of the better coaches in the league in Payton, Cleveland could turn into not only a division-winner, but also a threat in the AFC.
So, let's recap: Sean Payton will leave New Orleans based off of everything going on there and wants to start fresh, will either go to the Bills, Chargers, Cowboys, or Browns, and will make one of those teams title contenders.
Don't agree or have a different take on the Payton situation? Please comment below!