The New Orleans Saints will honor Sean Payton this season by leaving an empty seat for the suspended head coach in their locker room and on team buses and planes.
Payton, who is in exile in a downtown New Orleans skyscraper after his season-long ban, won't rejoin the team until after next year's Super Bowl. The Saints will compensate for his absence by acting like he died, rather than looked the other way during a pay-for-play bounty system. This is sort of like leaving an empty chair for grandma at Thanksgiving because it's her year to eat at your uncle's house.
This information comes from Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune. We've pulled some of the quotes from his article to highlight the Saints' deep love of their banned coach.
"How would Pittsburgh react if Chuck Noll was gone? Or how would Dallas react if Tom Landry wasn't there? Or San Francisco without Bill Walsh? Sean's put those kinds of numbers up. He has that kind of recognition in the league." -- Joe Vitt, interim head coach
Super Bowl victories
4 -- Chuck Noll
3 -- Bill Walsh
2 -- Tom Landry
1 -- Sean Payton
270 -- Tom Landry
209 -- Chuck Noll
102 -- Bill Walsh
67 -- Sean Payton
29 -- Tom Landry
23 -- Chuck Noll
10 -- Bill Walsh
6 -- Sean Payton
So, yeah, they're all pretty close.
"Sean had a quality in this building that you knew things were going to be all right." -- Greg Bensel, vice president of communications
Particularly if you knocked out opposing quarterbacks.
"He is as confident as anyone I have seen in the position." -- Bensel
Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Or something like that.
a) "[He has] some magic to him."
b) "[He has] pure nerve and outstanding courage."
One of those lines was said by offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. about Payton. The other was said by Albus Dumbledore about Harry Potter. That it would take you a few seconds to figure out that Carmichael's was the first one tells you all you need to know about the New Orleans Saints' reverence for the not-really-departed Mr. Payton.
Related Sean Payton video from Yahoo! Sports:
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