And he showed his feelings for Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization again today. Payton was asked about the difference in New Orleans, after coming from storied franchises in Philadelphia, New York and Dallas. His response included a shout-out for his pal Bill.
“You’ve heard me talk about the Patriots and paying attention in our industry to the organizations or teams like New England and really study closely the reason they were successful,” Payton said. “I think it’s pretty good business practice to do that. You start with the team aspect of trying to get players that put the team ahead of their own accomplishments, their own itineraries. That’s easier said than done.”
Later on, at Drew Brees press conference, I asked about the significance bludgeoning the Patriots in November has now. And his feeling was similar to his coach’s.
“I’d draw the similarity in the type of organization we were playing then, and the type of organization we’re playing now, one that is really a model organization,” Brees said. “The Colts have won 12 or more games the last seven seasons, they won a Super Bowl just a few years ago, they’re a perennial playoff contender, championship contender that has a great quarterback, great head coach, management, a bunch of very talented players, guys know how to win, know what it takes to win and they play very disciplined football.
“Anytime you go up an organization like that, a team like that, you
understand your mistakes get magnified and you need to be that much
more disciplined with what you’re doing, and execution becomes critical.”
Not everyone took the bait on the idea the way that Brees and Payton did, though.
Jonathan Vilma, coincidentally an ex-Jet, actually took a Patriot-type of approach to answering the question. Yes, it was a big win. But, he said, they all are.
“The only significance would be that we won the game and that helped us to get the 1 seed,” Vilma said. “That 1 seed went down to the wire with Minnesota. We could’ve easily been kicking that field goal to win the game in Minnesota, instead of in New Orleans. Looking back at the season, it was a big win for us, we were excited about the win, but all it really did was position us to get to this point.”
The 1 seed didn’t actually go to the wire … The Saints sat a lot of guys after locking up the 1 seed in Week 16. But you get the point.