The New Orleans Saints in the Sean Payton era have been one of the most successful teams in the NFL, making the playoffs five times and winning one Super Bowl. The aging of Drew Brees and the ongoing ownership battle between owner Tom Benson and his daughter, Renee Benson, could lead to some drastic changes and a certain fall from grace, which might have already begun.
The rumors suggest that if Renee wins the custody battle over the team, it’ll be an all out clearing of anyone who has worked under her father. That might be a tad exaggerated, but it seems that it’ll be about establishing her own rule with new faces, and the least amount of people possible to link the team with the previous regime.
Sean Payton and Drew Brees are the two faces of this franchise over the last decade. Coming back from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina and leading the Saints into the team’s golden age, making people forget about all those years of being named ‘aints. From 2006 to 2014, excluding the 2012 season in which he was suspended for the Gregg Williams scandal, the Saints have never finished worse than 7-9, making the postseason five times, including four in a row (for Payton) from 2009 to 2013. Then there’s the Super Bowl in 2009, and basically doing things with this franchise that many thought couldn’t be done.
Payton is 50-50 on staying. It’s not the disappointing record last season and what’s going to happen this year (4-4 so far). It’s more about the uncertainty of the mothership, which means Payton, a very well regarded coach around the league with a 84-52 record with the Saints and 6-4 in the playoffs, might become the most sought after head coach in the league very soon.
And then there is Brees, who’ll be turning 37 in two months. He’s not going to be around forever, even if he still doesn’t look close to needing retirement. The day of upheaval for the Saints is closer than it’s ever been, and it might be a very painful process moving on from the team’s most successful decade.