I’ve been reading an advance copy of Sean Payton’s book “Home Team: Coaching The Saints And New Orleans Back To Life’’ periodically over the last few days.
The book comes out June 29, and I’m still promising a full book report once I finish. But I have to break in with a few items here. It took more than 20 chapters to spot anything I didn’t already know because the story of the Saints winning the Super Bowl and its significance to New Orleans played out very publicly.
I don’t think either of these items is earth shattering, but they did cause me to raise my eyebrows a bit.
First off, Payton reveals that the onside kick to start the second half of the Super Bowl wasn’t his initial idea. He’s talked many times previously about how he wanted to take a possession away from the Colts and that happened. But Payton says in the book that his first thought was to use a fake punt and he hatched that idea while talking to his mentor Bill Parcells in the week off between the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl.
Payton said that he began talking to his assistants about how to set up the fake punt and word began spreading to the players. Veteran long snapper Jason Kyle approached Payton and cautiously suggested a fake punt wasn’t a great idea.
Payton wrote that’s when he realized he needed to give up on the fake punt. Soon after, special teams coach Greg McMahon suggested the “ambush’’ kick and Payton bought it.
The other thing that jumped out at me -- and this may matter more to me because I’m in the media -- is that Payton gave a pretty lengthy explanation of why the Saints were late to media day on the Tuesday before the Super Bowl. Believe me, I was aware the Saints were late. League officials were freaking out because the Saints were at least 30 minutes late in showing up in the interview area.
In the book, Payton says five players -- and he names them -- missed the team bus that morning. According to the book, defensive backs Tracy Porter, Roman Harper and Usama Young, defensive end Bobby McCray and offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod did not make it to the bus.
Payton wrote that team officials began frantically trying to locate the players. Harper, Young, McCray and Bushrod made it to the stadium on their own. According to Payton, Porter was the last to show. Once he did, Payton said he shut the locker room door, let the media wait and proceeded to rip his team.
His theme was that the Saints were behaving like they were just happy to be at the Super Bowl. Payton let them know that wasn’t good enough.
Like I said, I’ll do a more complete review of the book once I’m finished. But I thought those two items were worth sharing quickly.