Longtime Saints Head Coach Sean Payton Leaving After 16 Years
After a 16-year career with the New Orleans Saints that included nine playoff runs, seven NFC South titles, and a Super Bowl win, Sean Payton is stepping down as head coach. In an emotional press conference on Tuesday, the beloved coach announced that he would not be returning to the Saints or to coaching for the 2022 season.
Payton left the door open to return to football, saying he honestly didn't know what would come next for him but was excited by the idea of something new.
"I still have a vision for doing things in football, and I'll be honest with you that might be coaching again at some point," he said. "I don't think that's this year. I think maybe in the future. But that's not where my heart is right now."
One thing that might be in Payton's near future? A TV analyst job. With no plans to retire, the 58-year-old mentioned that he spoke to former Saints quarterback and NBC Sports commentator Drew Brees about opportunities to work as an analyst, but so far, he hasn't signed a deal with any TV or radio media outlets.
Sean Payton holds the record for the longest and most successful coaching run in Saints history. He leaves with an overall regular-season record of 152-89, 10 winning seasons, and the franchise's only Super Bowl win in 2010. Before Payton signed on with the Saints in 2006, the team had few accolades of note. They didn't log a winning season until 20 years after their inception in 1967 and didn't win a playoff game until 2000.
WATCH: Put Me in Coach! Harry Connick Jr. Petitions Saints to Give Him Quarterback Job After Drew Brees Says No
There's no denying that Saints Nation has a lot to thank Payton for, but ever the gentleman, the coach closed out his time with the program by flipping the script and sharing his own tokens of appreciation.
"I like watching TV shows. It's Mardi Gras season, and I'm kind of a Ted Lasso fan. And I do have a regret. It's been 15 seasons, 16 years here, and I've got the best female owner in the world of sports," he said comparing 33-year Saints owner Gayle Benson to fictional AFC Richmond owner Rebecca Welton.
"We don't do biscuits here in New Orleans, but we do king cake, so where's Mrs. B?" he asked before getting up and presenting Benson with a king cake and a big hug.
After returning to his seat, Payton revealed that he brought another 100 king cakes to share with members of the media and everyone else at the press conference. Now that's what we call a class act. Sean Payton, you will be missed!