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Description: Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and The Ringer’s Kevin Clark discuss Sean Payton’s legacy. Should Payton be criticized for only reaching and winning one Super Bowl with a future Hall of Fame quarterback? Or is he one of the greatest offensive play callers in the history of the league? Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.
CHARLES ROBINSON: For all the superlatives about him, all the things that are true, why do we undersell the fact that he has not been in a Super Bowl in quite a while? He did have a sizable career of a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback
KEVIN CLARK: Sure.
CHARLES ROBINSON: --which might not be something that he gets in the next destination, you know--
KEVIN CLARK: Sure.
CHARLES ROBINSON: --and yet was never able to punch through. And I get they got screwed by the refs and the Rams. OK, I'll give them that.
KEVIN CLARK: I was gonna say. My opening point here is gonna be that they had some real bad luck. The Minneapolis Miracle--
CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.
KEVIN CLARK: --totally like-- that's a black swan event, right? Getting the worst call probably in the history of the NFL playoffs, that's a low probability event as well. So those are the two things I would circle. And obviously the Minneapolis Miracle was not in the conference championship game. It's a little bit different. But to be that close, as they were in the Superdome against the Rams, and not get there because of it. I mean, that to me-- they should have been scoring touchdowns in that game. They should have not let Jared Goff be close.
I remember I was at that game. I don't know if you were. And I remember it being so loud, and Jared Goff literally putting his hands over his helmet. And I was like-- and this was the first quarter. I was like, this game is over. This game is over. And it wasn't. And you can actually put that on Sean Payton and Drew Brees. They should have won that game comfortably to the point that there was no cornerback who was intentionally taking a pass interference call that the referee didn't call.
Having said that, I think it's really hard getting to the final four. It's interesting to me. I was talking with a GM a couple of years ago, and he said that the way he views trends in the league is he just looks at the final four teams. And he does a whole report on them, height, weight, where they go to college, where they were drafted, how they were acquired, all that stuff just to see if they're missing anything.
The point he made was that there's so many good teams in this league, and the barrier for entry is so high, that getting to the final four is really like the best you can hope for. And then there's a couple of situational stuff, and then there's just gonna-- and some of it's luck or whatever. So I view it that if you're in the hunt every year, I think that's as good as you're gonna ask for. And I would say with the Brees thing, I understand that Drew Brees is a Hall of Fame quarterback, but I also understand that Drew Brees is a Hall of Fame quarterback because he had Sean Payton.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Oh yeah.
KEVIN CLARK: And those--
CHARLES ROBINSON: That's fair.
KEVIN CLARK: --guys rewrote the concept of offense. In 2006, when those guys entered New Orleans together-- and they said this about World War I. Technology advances in the war was that they rode in on horseback and left on tanks, right?
CHARLES ROBINSON: Right.
KEVIN CLARK: And when you think about what they were doing as innovation in 2006, it was nothing, man. It was nothing compared to 2020 and 2021. I looked it up today. There were 200 more passing touchdowns this year in the NFL than there were in 2006 league wide. I mean, this is a completely different league, and Sean Payton stayed on top of it every single step of the way.
So it's not just that he had Drew Brees. I think that's a little bit reductive. There's a reason Drew Brees was available. There's a reason Drew Brees was gonna go to Miami, and he ended up going to New Orleans. He was a good quarterback. He was not a great quarterback. He was not on track to be the most efficient passer in the history of football.
He was not on track to become this guy who rewrote not only record books, but just the way the game is played. He and Tom Brady changed the way we look at the quarterback position. And Sean Payton changed the way we looked at the offensive play caller position, frankly. I understand certain problems with his legacy as far as that goes, as far as the fact he only got one Super Bowl. But I still think that there's a case to be made that he's one of the best offensive coaches in the history of football.
CHARLES ROBINSON: I love the idea, too, that you bring up sort of technologically how things changed. And definitely from a passing volume standpoint--
KEVIN CLARK: Yeah.
CHARLES ROBINSON: --you went from these offenses where-- I mean, you talk about the World War 1 reference. You had offenses that were still in trench warfare, and they were like, hey, we can't just do this. We can't advance 10 yards a day to win this war. We have to completely revamp the way that we're approaching it.
KEVIN CLARK: There's still in 2021 when Sean Payton's in the league, there's still coaches who say we want to run the ball 30 times a game. Look at Matt Rhule. Matt Rhule's never even Googled Sean Payton.