Eastern Illinois University. Ever heard of it? Me neither, but it has produced a sure-fire hall of fame coach in the NFL. This coach played quarterback for the Panthers (NCAA, not NFC South variety) and now coaches the New Orleans Saints. His name is Sean Payton.
But, let's back up a second. Sean Payton is a brilliant mind. Brilliant and different and daring as they come. He really does remind me of the Tuna (Bill Parcells), one of his proteges. His unique ability to frustrate any defense in the league brings a lot to the table in the NFL.
While most coaches are either offensive or defensive minded, Payton is a quarterback's coach. Similar to Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs, Payton has a way of making any quarterback better. Throw in the quality of Drew Brees and Sean Payton may very well have the greatest gig in the NFL.
Being a former quarterback in college, Payton has the ability to fix issues within the game when needed, allowing corrections from series to series. As seen in many Saint's games, when Drew Brees has a less than stellar series, a conversation with Payton on the sideline typically leads to the next series being far more successful. In-game corrections many times lead to a win vs. watching tape the following week.
One interesting caveat I garnered from his return: everyone who looks at Sean Payton can see how fit he has become since his season-long suspension. He incorporated P90X workouts into the players' conditioning programs during the off-season. The players began making it a challenge among each other and it became quite a successful tool. Is anyone getting the picture when it comes to how much he was missed last year roaming the sidelines? You can bet Drew missed him more than anyone.
The remainder of Sean Payton's career is written in sand at this point. Who Dat Nation hopes he finishes his career as the head coach of the Saints. He has talked before about being tied to Mickey Loomis by saying, in so many words, that as long as Loomis is the general manager, he will stay. I believe as long as Tom Benson owns the team, barring a massive catastrophe, neither is going anywhere.
Recall that during the bounty suspension, there was a great deal of talk about Sean Payton taking over as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He insists there was no chance of his leaving the Saints. All of the Black & Gold faithful breathed a collective sigh of utter relief.
In any case, it is vital for Sean Payton to be on our sideline. He brings a great deal of utility not only to coaching but to the entire team. Sean Payton is one of the highest valued faces of the franchise and arguably one of the greatest coaches in the NFL. I, for one, cannot wait to see what the next half dozen years brings for him and the New Orleans Saints.