On Tuesday, Sean Payton stunned the sports world by announcing he was stepping away from his position as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints.
Payton had been the Saints’ head coach since 2006. He landed the gig after serving as the Dallas Cowboys’ assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach from 2003-2005.
Immediately after the news on Payton broke, speculation about his next move started. And most of that speculation centered around the Cowboys.
There have been Payton/Dallas rumors for years. But now with Payton stepping down, the rumors are in overdrive.
“Dallas makes a ton of sense.”
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) January 25, 2022
There are, however, some problems with those rumors. Payton is under contract with New Orleans for three more years. That means Dallas would have to work out a deal with the Saints if they wanted to hire Payton.
The infatuation with Sean Payton doesn’t make a lot of sense
Payton is a good coach. There’s no doubt about that. You don’t stick with one franchise for 16 years unless you’re a good coach.
But this idea that he’d automatically bring a Super Bowl to Dallas is wild.
Current Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has been criticized for only winning one Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers. He’s also been criticized for not taking the Packers to the next level over the last decade.
Can’t the same be said of Payton?
Are we forgetting that Payton had a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees for nearly his entire tenure in New Orleans (likely a first-ballot entrant into the Hall of Fame)?
Payton only managed to win one Super Bowl with Brees (over ten years ago).
McCarthy won one Super Bowl and went to four NFC championship games during his time in Green Bay.
Payton won one Super Bowl and went to three NFC championship games during his time in New Orleans.
McCarthy has missed the playoffs five times since 2006. Payton has missed the playoffs six times since 2006.
Let’s keep going.
McCarthy is 10-9 in the playoffs. Payton is 9-8 in the playoffs.
In the regular season, McCarthy has a career winning percentage of .608. Payton has a career winning percentage of .631.
These two coaches have had incredibly similar careers. Yet Payton is viewed as a franchise savior while fans are itching to run McCarthy out of town.
And look, this isn’t a defense of McCarthy. I didn’t think it was a great hire by the Cowboys two years ago. But this idea that Payton is going to stroll into Dallas and quickly win a Super Bowl isn’t rooted in logic. Sure, it could happen. But it’s far from a certainty.
I’m not saying Dallas should avoid hiring Payton. He wouldn’t do any worse than McCarthy. But I’m not sure they should give up a lot in compensation in a deal with New Orleans to hire a guy with the same resumé as the coach they’re trying to get rid of.
Featured image via Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports