Saints trade winningest coach ever, Sean Payton, to Broncos

Jude Papillion, Editor-in-Chief

Sean Payton
Former Saints head coach Sean Payton led the Saints to the playoffs nine times during his tenure in New Orleans and helped the team win its first Super Bowl in 2010. (Matthew Tate)

The NFL’s Denver Broncos reached a deal with the New Orleans Saints to make Sean Payton the Broncos’ 20th head coach in franchise history. 

The trade will send Payton to Denver along with the Saints’ 2024 third-round selection while New Orleans will receive Denver’s No. 29 overall pick in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft and the Broncos’ second-round pick next year.

“It’s a great fanbase and great tradition. The ownership group is fantastic, and I love the way they competed in some of their games last year,” Payton said to the Times-Picayune. “It’s a good football city like we had in New Orleans. It matters there. The fans are passionate about the team.”

Payton came to the Saints following a stint as the Dallas Cowboys’ assistant head coach and quarterbacks’ coach in January 2006, shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region. Two months after arriving, he signed free-agent quarterback Drew Brees, and the two went on to lead the Saints for more than a decade. 

In Payton’s first season, the Saints completely turned around from their 3-13 record the year prior to reach their first NFC Championship appearance in franchise history. Payton earned Associated Press Coach of the Year honors following the 2006 season. Three seasons later, Payton helped New Orleans win its first Lombardi Trophy after the Saints beat Payton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 Super Bowl largely due to his decision to start the second half of the game with an onside kick that the Saints recovered. 

Payton holds the highest winning percentage of any coach in Saints history at .631, and he has a franchise record 152 wins. Under his direction, the Saints won the NFC South seven times and reached the NFL playoffs nine times. 

After stepping down from the Saints after the 2021 season, Payton worked as a Fox Sports analyst before he and the Saints ended nearly a month-long saga that landed him in Denver.

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