Musings on the Life and Times of Sean Payton

Who is Sean Payton? The man? The father? The husband? The coach? The friend? The human being?

These are questions that very few may have the answers to. The man who eloquently describes his players’ injuries as a “hand” or “a knee” has given the public the same descriptions of his life. Can’t blame him.

The story as it has been told to us:

  • College QB
  • Scab NFL QB
  • NFL Assistant
  • Parcells disciple and OC
  • Head Coach of the league’s most beleaguered franchise
  • NFC Championship appearance in year one
  • Superbowl winner
  • Steals Jerrah Jones’ wine
  • Vicodin scandal
  • The family moves back to Dallas
  • Bountygate
  • Banned from the league and football in general
  • Files for divorce from his wife of 20 years

So that’s the narrative. Leaves lots of questions to be asked in the stories we read between the lines.

Read Payton’s book? Heard the story about his post-Superbowl presser? Sleeping with the Lombardi? Peanut butter and sand for 3G before the game? Bats in the playoffs? See that fleur de fucking lis up there? White ball!? White ball!?

We all have nothing but the fondest memories of our saints fandom because of Sean Payton. The man, coach, leader, icon.

Has it been a fall from grace? Or is it something that has been in the works for a while? In this fan’s opinion it has been neither. Coach was a victim of circumstance. Could or should he have been more vigilant in either stopping or covering up what has caused him to lose his job and reputation? Probably. But then he wouldn’t be Sean “We Make the Damn Rules” Payton.”

Does this mean the end of our coach and all that has made him the man he has been to all Saints players and fans alike? If you think so, go root for the (lowercase f) falcons. If Drew Brees (hey, Drew? Sign the damn contract already!) and the rest of his players and coaches have anything to say about it, they’re going to win the whole God damned thing for Payton. If there was ever a man in a position to absorb a blow like this, it is Sean Payton. Just look at the way he has handled his players from the little that we have seen. He made Reggie Bush a team player for God’s sake. He made Scott Fujita worthy of being recruited after the Superbowl by the Cleveland Browns for much more than he was worth because he enabled Scott to be a leader in a way that the Cowboys stymied. When many coaches would have been done with Robert Meachem and his first round draft position after the first few years, Payton coddled him and motivated him and plugged him into the system to get the most out of his strengths and limited his weaknesses. Post-Superbowl Vicodin scandal…not a peep. Suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season, he goes and plays with Jimmy Buffet and Grace Potter an the Nocturnals.

Even in his absence legitimate defensive stars have come to play for the New Orleans Saints — Sean Payton’s New Orleans Saints. You know what? You get what you paid for. Sean Payton is what we paid for. All of it. The rocking out with Kenny Chesney, driving local sports reporters to become drug addicts who lose their jobs, making people like Jeffrey Duncan hate him and the city’s team so much that he is eating up this bountygate crap and asking for seconds, making Belichick pull his starters out of embarrassment, being the overall arrogant prick that alienates everyone in the league all the way to the top and a guy who hangs out with guys like Mike Ornstein. He gets the job done and he has had no qualms about doing things his way. From the janitor (get your kicks on that one) to the ticket reps to the secretaries and on and on and on. He has made Tom Benson more money off of this team than Benson ever could have imagined and will continue to do so until he decides he’d rather spend his time touring with Jimmy Buffet, smoking doobies, playing the bongos and singing about pirates at forty.

For the six years that Payton has been the head coach of the Saints he has made something out of nothing. Look at the pre-Payton Saints if you need a refresher on what it means to be nothing. He recruited high character guys — players and coaches — to create what has been a consistent force to be reckoned with in a division, conference, and league that is always getting better. Listen to what Vitt has had to say about the man he has been forced to take over for. Listen to Drew talk about the bond between himself and his head coach. Listen to any player or coach who has worked with and grown to love Payton (with the exception of Mike Cerullo [by the way, Mike, how do you disappear the night before the Superbowl?] and others who couldn’t hack it in a Sean Payton run universe) and you’ll hear nothing but a resounding applause for the man who has lifted them all to a level of excellence that not many men can accomplish.

Is there any reason to think that his staff will not be able to carry the torch in his absence? Lots of fans have their doubts, but not this Who Dat. The only staff changes that have been made this offseason are on the defensive side of the ball, where we all knew they had to be made. One more send the house blitz while protecting the lead (you know what this video is of, no need to torture yourself by watching it…) in the opponents own territory and none of us would have televisions left to watch.

So, if Payton’s year hadn’t been crappy enough already, his marriage has also withered into the abyss of broken dreams. But you know what? That’s none of my business. Shit happens. And it happens to the best of us. Does it make him less of a man or a father? In the opinion of the product of divorced parents, here’s a resounding go fly a kite” if you think so. If there is one thing I have learned from Sean Payton and the way he runs his team, it is that perseverance in the face of adversity is what makes you the man that you are. Whether or not doing the Bernie with random girls on the dance floor in the Bahamas is “perseverance” is not for me to say. Should he be sitting all alone in time out wondering why all this is happening to him? He can do that between jaunts in the Caribbean telling vidographers they’re “#1” and planning revenge on The Shield. Go get ’em coach!

Anyone else ready for the Hall of Fame Game like they’re ready for the Presidential election to get here so we can just know what we’ve got and work with it?

You know you are.

Who Dat!

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Don’t Be A Pamphilon, Bro

The 90 minute narcissistic diatribe of Sean Pamphilon on yesterday’s Sports Hangover in response to listener questions was teetering on the edge of torturous until “Sandusky guy” (AKA Darrell, in Mid City) called in.

Sandusky guy taking it to Pamphilon:

“Well, Sean, I’ll give you one thing, my brother, you’ve got guts. This is the second time I’ve heard you on the air so ill give you that. Other than that though, all the ….. and platitudes and all of that you’ve been doing… all the attempts to justify what you’ve done…I just remember the hurt in Steve Gleason’s voice when he made his statement, you know, and he felt like you had betrayed him and as far as I’m concerned what you did was pretty despicable, and you know all these claims that you’re making–that you didn’t do it to become famous and all this other stuff–listen, my brother, you have gained notoriety because of this and saying that you didn’t do it for that reason is really just an insult to our intelligence, because the simple fact of the matter is that no one had ever heard of you before this happened…definitely not as many people as have heard of you now and you didn’t make this public a week after you heard it or a month after you heard it…you waited until this bounty scandal was all over ESPN and all over the sports world before you made those things public…it was for maximum effect. You gained notoriety from it, and I find your actions despicable and I think that you coming on the air and trying to defend this stuff is beside me. And I know that you aren’t as low down of a human being as this guy that I am about to mention, it’s almost like Jerry Sandusky getting on the news and trying to justify what he did.”

The laughing ensues and everything Darrell had said got lost in the wash.

God damn it, Darrell. You had him. And then you allowed him to focus on the Sandusky reference and make you out to be a moron for the comparison and avoid in its entirety everything that you had said previously. Would have been better without it. Oh well. Pamphilon went on to talk about how Darrell is crazy for the reference and never addressed anything that Darrell had mentioned.

So, the Sandusky comparison…is it really that far off? (I AM NOT SAYING SEAN PAMPHILON IS A CHILD RAPIST!) Sandusky, no doubt is a monster in worse ways than Sean Pamphilon would ever be, but I can say that Sandusky robbing children of their dignity and their innocence is something that can be compared to what Pamphilon did to Steve Gleason. We’ve all seen the utterly helpless shell of a once vibrant man Steve Gleason has been reduced to. He is just as dependent on others as a child is on his parents, more so in some ways. And the one thing that Steve Gleason had left, that Sean Pamphilon stole from him, was his good name and reverent status among the Saints organization. Sean Pamphilon took the trust that was granted to Steve Gleason for the making of a documentary of his life , which was to be a sort of “gift” for his newborn son, and abused that trust to further his own agenda, gain notoriety for himself and his upcoming documentary, The United States of Football.

That is what went down.

Take away all of the surrounding circumstances, moral stances that Sean Pamphilon has taken, the influence of the NFLPA, Scott Fujita and Drew Brees and look at what actually occurred. Did the NFLPA ask Pamphilon to release the Williams tape to absolve players of wrongdoing and hid behind the “just following orders” escape strategy? I think it’s certainly plausible. Are Scott Fujita and Drew Brees Executive Members of the NFLPA? Yes. Does that make any of this ok? Fuck no. Did the one person whose opinion matters in this entire thing give his blessing for this tape to be released? Obviously not. If he had, we wouldn’t be talking about any of this in the first place. If you or I were making a documentary of a dying friend’s life so that his newborn son could have a  window into what kind of man his father was and someone came along and asked us to further their own interests by releasing parts of this private film, would you or I do it? I know I wouldn’t. And I would suspect that you, or any rational and empathetic human being wouldn’t as well.

Sean Pamphilon, you, sir, are a dick. Steve and Michel Gleason were the ones calling the shots on this and you disregarded their wishes and feelings for your own personal gain. You actually had the nerve to say, “Well, I was gonna sell it! At least I didn’t do that!” Fuck you.

When it comes down to it, I admit that I feel conflicted when I put myself in Sean Pamphilon’s shoes. He seems like a genuinely caring person who sees the bigger picture of CTE and the long term effects of football on players long after their playing days are in the rear view mirror. The conflict disappears though when I consider Sandusky guy’s comments and that Pamihilon’s release of this audio did nothing to advance the public’s perception of concussions and the long term trauma that football players endure. If that were the goal of his releasing this audio, it should have been in the context of his USOF film which would probably have had the blessing of Steve and Michel Gleason as well. If he’d done that, the justifications, rationalizations and minimizations wouldn’t be necessary in disturbingly lengthy blog posts and interviews by Pamphilon or anyone else.

I just read The Angry Who Dat’s interview with Sean Pamphilon and it makes me realize that this guy probably shouldn’t have been trusted from the get go to do this story on Gleason and that maybe the Gleasons should have checked him out a little better. Pamphilon admits in the interview that he was only privy to 3 team meetings throughout his year of semi-access to the Saints, and the dude released the audio from one of them. 33% of the inside information he learned was released to the media. He says he is nobody’s bitch, but that sure seems like a bitch move to me. A move like that will from now on be referred to as a pamphilon.

I didn’t trust him before learning this and trust him less now. He hints that he has more info that is going to be released at some point and that his United States of Football film will be of epic proportions. Well, why didn’t he just save the Gregg Williams audio for release in his USOF film?

The answer to that question seems pretty obvious at this point.

P-R-I-V-A-C-Y is priceless.

Come to New Orleans: Eat, Drink, and Leave in Tears

Christ Almighty! Are we there yet? Every year, when it comes to football, April takes forever but this is getting ridiculous. There is nowhere to turn. Every single Saints related “article” has turned into nothing but a feeding frenzy and/or circle jerk. Well, you know what? He who laughs last laughs the loudest. All of you who think this is oh so funny and entertaining and what to question the integrity and moral compass of everyone involved in this from Gregg Williams to Drew Brees, keep laughing. Keep calling the Saints cheaters and putting down the fans. Keep taking shots at our city, our culture, our families, friends and team. And when your team travels to New Orleans to play in the dome, come on down. When you’re no longer behind your computer screen leaving comments on Pro Football Trash, you won’t be talking like that and even if you do, it matters not to us. We will make sure you enjoy your stay, have a great time, spend a lot of money, and leave the dome crying like you should. Karma is patient, and we will get ours.

I don’t care who you are, what you do, where you live, etc., if you love this team like most Saints fans do, there is an anger and resentment brewing deep withing that will be unleashed in the 3 hours of temporary insanity known as a home game in the Superdome. Come kickoff, our differing opinions on who the “temporary” head coach should be, or who is the bad guy is in the Brees negotiations or any other ridiculous point of consternation we have faced throughout the offseason will matter not. We will scream. We will unleash the pent up anger that we have held inside since Gregg Williams blew the playoff game against San Francisco.

Takes one to know one, and it looks like we’ve got it pretty bad.