Jan 7, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton awaits a call on the sideline against the Detroit Lions during the 2011 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Lions 45-28. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE
Roger Goodell's restraining order on Sean Payton barring him from communicating with anyone with NFL ties seems to leave Payton with few options for social interaction. While I'm sure Payton has friends outside of his profession, professional football is a wide net to be excommunicated from if that is how you earn your living. Goodell may as well put Payton under house arrest and cut off his cable, internet and phone service.
How else would Goodell be able to control who Payton talks to? For one person to have that much authority over someone else's personal life without it being a parent/child relationship or court ordered just seems very un-American. Of course rival fans may say that putting a bounty on someone is un-American too, but this is a Saints blog and I'm with the program!
Goodell's ruling also seems very impractical. Payton and Mickey Loomis supposedly own beach houses down the road from each other in Florida. They obviously can't talk beforehand now to make sure they won't be in the area at the same time. What are they supposed to do if they run into each other? Exchange advice about which sun tan oil works best?
There is one very important group of people, however, that Goodell's silencing of Payton does not cover: Who Dat Nation. That's right, Payton may not even be able to work in TV now during his suspension, but that does not mean he can't speak to fans directly in person. This opening then gives fans the opportunity to serve as a communication bridge between Payton and the team.
The purpose of this scheme would be to enable Payton to take on covert play calling duties by utilizing fan resources in an underground operation called "Who Dat Undercover." This goal would be achieved by selecting a special group of Saints fans who cheer in silence and stay away from the Superdome, yet engage in deceptive tactics to keep the communication chain between Payton and Drew Brees unbroken. During each Saints game, Payton would visit the home of a Who Dat Undercover host family without any other guests present in order to prevent detection and distraction. A list of requirements must be met for this plan to work. These include: a wide screen TV for Payton to be able to see as much of the field as possible, a working cell phone for the host, a working cell phone for the coach in the booth...and getting Drew Brees signed to a long term contract.
The strategy would then play out like this: Payton would tell the host the play call, the host then texts the play to the coach in the booth, the coach in the booth radios the play over the headset down on the field to offensive coordinator, Pete Carmichael, Jr. Carmichael then signals the play to Brees, Brees throws a touchdown pass like nothing changed. See, problem solved. All we need is some Who Dat fans to go undercover and sacrifice watching the game at the Dome or at a sports bar to stay home and be Sean Payton's messenger.
Admittedly, Who Dat Undercover is still a work in progress and has some kinks that need to be worked out. Standing in the way of its success are several unknown factors. Will Carmichael be in the booth or on the field? And what kind of scrutinty will the Saints assistants in the booth be under in light of new allegations that Mickey Loomis re-wired a device in his suite so that he could listen in on the signals of rival coaches?
What modifications would you make to enable Sean Payton to secretly call plays during his suspension?