Football coaches at the NFL level realize that it’s an all-consuming job. During the season, the grind consumes 18 hours per day. In the offseason, nearly as many hours are spent determining which current players to keep, which free agents from other teams to pursue, and which rookies to draft.
Then, after the draft, the offseason workouts accelerate, as the majority of the coming year’s offensive and defensive playbooks (devised during “free time” in February, March, and April) is installed.
So there’s not much down time for a head coach. And there’s definitely little or no time for coaches to pursue other interests.
And that’s why one league source has raised an intriguing question: Is Saints coach Sean Payton sufficiently focused on his job?
Two recent stories suggest that Payton possibly would like to get involved in the movie business. Most recently, word emerged that he invested (and apparently has lost) $144,000 in a Louisiana film company. Previously, Payton said that he has developed a screenplay based on a kid who controls the outcome of football games from an Xbox. (Wow. That’s nearly as far-fetched as a story about time-traveling quarterbacks.)
We admire folks who indulge their creative juices, but we agree with the notion that coaches generally don’t have the time for this kind of stuff while still coaching.
That said, plenty of successful coaches have written books in the offseason, but most of them have someone else doing the heavy lifting — and nearly every such coach has won (or at least appeared in) a Super Bowl.
Still, as Payton approaches what arguably will be the most critical season of his career, more than two years after last taking his team to the playoffs, he’s creating a perception that won’t work to his benefit if the Saints miss the postseason for a third straight time on his watch.