“Sean fully complied with all the requirements imposed on him during his suspension. More important, it is clear that Sean understands and accepts his responsibilities as a head coach and the vital role that coaches play in promoting player safety and setting an example for how the game should be played at all levels. We are committed to delivering football that fans love and the safety players deserve. Coach Payton agrees and I look forward to working with him going forward to do that,” stated NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after meeting with Payton Monday in New Orleans.
Sean Payton is back to work for the New Orleans Saints. I don’t know who is happier Payton or Drew Brees. This has been a rough year for the Saints. Finishing with a 7-9 record after a 0-4 start. The Saints offense didn’t suffer as much as some thought averaging 28.8 points per game, which was third in the league only behind New England and Denver. The offense averaged 410.9 yards per game, which was second in the league only behind New England. What did in Brees and the Saints was one of the worst defenses of all-time.
The defense was so atrocious people should have brought back the brown paper bags that Saints fans made famous in 1980. The defense gave up 7024 total yards, 900 more than next worse team, the New York Giants. Their 440.1 yards per game allowed and 28.4 points allowed per game kept Brees and company either playing catchup or constantly having to match score for score. Everyone talked about how much the offense would struggle but little was discussed about the defense. We all clearly saw how important Payton is to the whole team, not just the offense.
With his reinstatement Payton can now go scout the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama this week. Payton has to figure out how to fix the travesty that was the Saints defense. Their problem was getting turnovers they only had 26 over the course of the season, and they gave up 147.6 rush yards per game. Even worse they allowed 61.5% of third downs to be converted by opponents. Payton must lower these numbers to give his offense a break from playing catch up.
After being reinstated Payton said in a statement, “I am thankful today Commissioner Goodell has granted me reinstatement. As I stated back in March, I, along with Mickey Loomis, take full responsibility for all aspects of our football program. I clearly recognize that mistakes were made, which led to league violations.”
“Furthermore, I have assured the Commissioner a more diligent protocol will be followed. Lastly, I feel we have learned from our mistakes and are ready to move forward. I want to thank our owner, Mr. [Tom] Benson, and all of our great fans for the overwhelming support throughout this past year. I am excited to be back as Head Coach of the New Orleans Saints!”
The future is bright once again in New Orleans. Payton is a top coach in NFL, and his brilliance was missed on both sides of the ball. He can now start to repair the damage that was left in the aftermath of Bountygate. If we have learned one thing about New Orleans, they are a resilient breed. By Steve Kish