Sean Payton is stepping down as Saints head coach, retiring

Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints. (Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports)
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints. (Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) /

Sean Payton is stepping down as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints.

It is the end of an era of New Orleans Saints football, as longtime head coach Sean Payton is stepping down.

Payton had been in New Orleans since 2006. With Drew Brees as his star quarterback, the long-suffering NFC South team had its best 15-year run in franchise history. Payton went 152-89 during the regular season, winning seven division titles, making the NFC playoffs nine times and winning Super Bowl XLIV over the Indianapolis Colts at the end of the 2009 NFL season.

New Orleans failed to make the NFC playoffs in his first year without Brees at quarterback.

The expectation is that Payton will retire from the coaching profession.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton steps down after 16 NFL seasons

The timing feels right for Payton to step down. 2021 was the last year of his contract and he is in his late 50s. While he would be a candidate to be the next head coach of the Chicago Bears or the Dallas Cowboys, Payton may end up working in an analyst role, or disappearing off the face of the earth. Not without controversy, he is undoubtedly the greatest coach in Saints franchise history.

As for what comes next for the Saints, it is simple really: A lengthy rebuilding process. The Saints no longer have a franchise quarterback and have been up against the salary cap for years. With no long-term solution at quarterback anywhere in the division, it serves the Saints to embrace rebuilding in an attempt to beat their three division rivals to the punch in the coming seasons.

Payton won prolifically in New Orleans, but it seems that dynastic run is coming to an end in 2022.

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