New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton wasted no time in getting back to work after being reinstated, firing defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and second coach Ken Flajole a day after meeting up with his staff at the Senior Bowl.
This is Payton’s second week back with the team and he appears to be getting closer to hiring Spagnuolo’s replacement.
Reports have Payton set to interview a pair of coaches this week, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
Grantham, who is set to interview on Thursday, has led the Bulldogs defense since 2009 and has NFL experience. Grantham was the Cleveland Brown defensive coordinator from 2005-2007 and also coached the defensive lines in Dallas, Houston and Indianapolis.
ESPN dot com's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday evening that the Saints planned on hiring Ryan.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is not the most popular guy. We've been reminded, often, lately, about his help to keep the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, how he wants the Superdome to remain a Super Bowl destination, and how we should put the past behind us and move forward and just enjoy the game, will ya. Grudge-holding Saints fans, however, will forever remember Goodell as the villain in the 2012-2013 Saints season. His unpopularity was so obvious the dude was the subject of a lecture on politeness courtesy of Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who reminded the city to "be on your best behavior," knowing full well (and sympathizing with) the bitterness, and the "Go to Hell Goodell"s and "Do Not Serve This Man"s around town. Oh, and then there's the Krewe du Vieux float picturing Goodell being eaten by a giant vagina. Guy has had a rough couple weeks.
Today, Goodell made his first public Super Bowl XLVII appearance in New Orleans before a massive press crowd. No tomatoes were thrown. He had nothing but kind things to say about the city, but also to Saints fans. WWL-TV's Paul Murphy asked, "Do you feel welcome here?"
"I couldn't feel more welcome here. ... I had a float in a Mardi Gras parade. I'm serious — people here have been incredible," he said. "I understand a fan's loyalty is to the team. They had no part in this. They were completely innocent in this. I appreciate the passion. I saw it for myself when we were down here for Katrina. It's clear that's what they're all about."
St. Augustine High School's Marching 100 blasted through the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and at its lead were Louisiana State Police, looking crisp in blue and really pissed off (or stern, can't tell), surrounding Deuce McCallister, whose gloved hands carried the Vince Lombardi Trophy down a red carpet to its glass-cased throne under a massive portrait of itself.
That long-winded sentence is to say that people really love the Lombardi trophy. When the NFL Experience opened this afternoon, New Orleans Saints fans were first in line. When McAllister smiled and strolled (albeit in a cloud of armed protection surrounded by a layer of flashing cameras) with the Lombardi, fans were locked in its not-so-distant memory tractor beam — a token of the Super Bowl XLIV win, the beloved Deuuuuuuce chant, "party with the Lombardi." Instant heart-tugging nostalgia set in for those first-in-the-door Saints fans.
Though some out-of-town visitors squinted and asked, "Who is that?" (but not in that way overplayed ironic way of saying "Who Dat.")
Boy was that a whole lot of craziness that just went on at the Superdome.
Having never been to a Super Bowl Media Day before, I don't know if there's much I can really offer other than saying that for one hour, each team is subjected to a barrage of questions and photographs from infinite angles. There's a lot of silliness, humor and fun mixed in with actual reporters covering the actual game.
In the interest of brevity and because #mediaday is trending and this is a thing that is part of our reality now, I'm just gonna let the pictures do the rest of the talking.
It's a great spot, and one entirely appropriate for Super Bowl week. Even for those Saints fans who have been closely following Steve Gleason's no-white-flags fight against the disease, the last few seconds of this video are likely a heartbreaker.
“I personally want to thank Steve and Ken for their contributions during what was an unprecedented 2012 season,” Saints head coach Sean Payton said of the moves through a team statement. “Philosophically we are changing our defense to a 3-4 alignment and right now is the best time to accomplish this transition.
There is no question that the sheriff is back in town. It has been reported that Payton was paying attention while serving his suspension. Paying real attention as in going over the coaches’ film that would come to him in the middle of the week and filling plenty of legal pads with notes.
Clearly Payton saw what we all saw and that was that the Saints glaring weakness was the defense. Spaguolo’s defense was historically bad as it give up 7,042 yards of total offense, more than any other defense in NFL history as they averaging giving up 440.1 yards per game to opposing offenses. New York was the next closest in terms of futility as the Giants gave up 6134 total yards of offense. That is a difference of 908 yards.
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton met with reporters for the first time in a very long time Wednesday in Mobile, Alabama where the Senior Bowl is being held. Payton once again addressed reporters as head coach of the Saint after serving 281 days of suspension given to him for his role in the NFL’s bounty investigation.
The Saints head coach was asked if there was a bounty program in place and Payton said that he would not discuss any specifics of what he and the commissioner talked about back on Monday. Saints players and coaches like Joe Vitt has repeated said that there was no pay to injury program.
Tuesday morning Saints head coach Sean Payton was reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Payton may now attend the Super Bowl and resume his duties as the team's head coach effective immediately.
Payton through the team released the following statement on being reinstated:
"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. 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 move is one Goodell probably had to do to make sure the city was at ease and storylines were about the game and not the bounty situation.
"Owner Tom Benson also expressed his happiness about having his coach back in a statement:
We are all thankful that Sean Payton has been reinstated. We have a lot of work to do and we are in the middle of it right now.
He is our head coach and we welcome him back.
We look forward to a great 2013 season and making another run at a World Championship for our fans!"
New Orleans Saints fans are simply counting down the days until the Super Bowl arrives and is played signaling the end of the 2012 season. The reason is simple. It mean head coach Sean Payton can come back to the team and get his house in order and begin to put the 2012 season in the rear view mirror.
Kromer has been the offensive line coach and running game coordinator and served as interim head coach for six games while assistant head coach Joe Vitt served his bounty suspension. Kromer was 2-4 under that role
The Bears had interviewed as many as 13 candidates to replaced fired head coach Lovie Smith and on Wednesday hired Marc Trestman to be their next head coach. Kromers and Trestman coached together back in 2001 through 2003 as members of the Oakland Raiders staff.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ranks pretty low among New Orleans Saints fans' favorite people. Literally. It's also part of the script of "the rivalry," and one that still simmers despite the regular season ending: Bountygate burned the Saints' playoff chances (and the chance to be the first team to play in its own Super Bowl host city), among other things, and Goodell is the bad guy. Tweets to @nflcommish aren't exactly inviting. Rivalries thrive in sports, but never so explicitly between a team and a person.
He'll arrive for Super Bowl XLVII in the coming weeks. Bars and restaurants haven't exactly rolled out their welcome mats. Finn McCool's Irish Pub and Parkview Tavern in Mid-City have posted dartboards bearing Goodell's likeness. Then there's "Go to Hell, Goodell." Some banned him outright.
At a media luncheon hosted by the New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee announcing the latest preparations for Super Bowl XLVII, Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged New Orleans to be on its best behavior — not only is the Super Bowl the city's time in the spotlight, and a time to show off its southern hospitality, but it also must prove it can do it again.
"It's a great joy and a blessing to have an opportunity to host this event," he told the crowd. "It's our time to shine, it's our time to tell our story. ... It's important to me that we do the thing we do better than anybody, which is be nice, and be hospitable. ... If Atlanta gets in the Super Bowl, I'm a struggle, but I promise you, I will be on my best behavior. ... Be gracious and wonderful hosts and show people the hospitality they deserve. This extends to Roger Goodell, too. I know everybody in the city is belly aching about the last year. But here's the thing: Roger Goodell has always been a friend to the City of New Orleans, and he and (former commissioner) Paul Tagliabue ... have worked really hard to make sure this stays here. ... Mind your P's and Q's."
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