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Mike Freeman tees off on Sean Payton

The football-watching world got its first real glimpse of Sean Payton in 2002, when he was working as the Giants’ offensive coordinator.

Just before halftime of a game against the Cardinals, Payton wanted quarterback Kerry Collins to take a knee.  Head coach Jim Fassel overruled Payton, calling for a pass.

And the pass was picked off and returned for a touchdown.

Before too long, Fassel was calling the plays.

So it was with a surge of sympathy that we were introduced to Payton, who at the time looked a lot like Frankie Muniz, star of Malcolm in the Middle.

And that’s the kind of first impression that can stick to a guy, especially since his next job entailed taking orders from the Tuna in Dallas. 

Making Payton even more sympathetic was his role in the rebirth of the Saints — and, in turn, the city of New Orleans — with the first post-Katrina campaign ending in an NFC title game appearance.

As it turns out, however, Payton possibly has become another protuberance in the pain-in-the-ass Parcells tree, jutting not far from the Belichick branch.

Mike Freeman of lays out the evidence of mainly overlooked heavy-handedness by Payton.  For example, Freeman writes that Payton took time this week to lecture the media regarding the perception that the Saints are a “finesse team.”

Freeman also points out that, in 2007, a beat writer reported that an injured player said he wouldn’t play after Payton said he would.  In response, Payton called the writer and called him a “negative f–k” multiple times. 

Freeman claims that it’s not unusual for Payton to berate writers by phone.

Freeman also shares the story of a writer for who made the mistake of criticizing Reggie Bush, which ultimately resulted in a ban of all dot-com scribes from Saints practice.

We had no idea that Payton behaved that way, and we’ll now have to reassess those “aw, man” feelings we developed for Payton as he was bullied by Fassel and later, presumably, Parcells.

Indeed, it appears that Payton has morphed into more than a bit of a bully, and it gives folks desperately looking for a reason not to like the ever-lovable Saints a basis for fomenting some genuine disdain.

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62 Responses to “Mike Freeman tees off on Sean Payton”
  1. Diggs says: Jan 22, 2010 4:53 PM

    Mike Freeman’s articles are poorly written and he seems like kind of a douche.

  2. halen11 says: Jan 22, 2010 4:54 PM

    Sounds like somebody got their feelings hurt.

  3. Allied Biscuit says: Jan 22, 2010 4:57 PM

    who really cares? if the guy is mean. fine. it’s working.

  4. teke184 says: Jan 22, 2010 4:58 PM

    Payton still looks normal compared to the team’s second most-successful coach in its history, Jim Mora Sr., who is remembered to this day for his responses to stupid media questions.

  5. tango says: Jan 22, 2010 4:59 PM

    Freeman is a flat out jerk ! Payton is his own man and most scribes are leeches so I can see why he lashed out ! I would too. Freeman needs to latch on to a story that has substance and credibility

  6. scomibord says: Jan 22, 2010 5:00 PM

    I want my coach to have some balls to put hacks in their place. You could probably put 32 head coaches’ names into this post. So what message are you trying to convey? That Payton is not this sweet & lovable guy that you hacks have made him out to be. Good!!!!
    Hey Mike, I guess you won’t get that exclusive winner’s interview with Payton & Bush.

  7. Buschman says: Jan 22, 2010 5:00 PM

    Get off Payton’s back, Mike. How would you feel if people were always second guessing you, writing about it, and calling you out on the stupid sh*t you say? Oh, wait, I guess you do know how it feels.

  8. Bill says: Jan 22, 2010 5:00 PM

    Unlike the media who ask the same question 15 times to try to get a gotcha, or who always ask the most asinine ones like “how do you feel”.

  9. svn says: Jan 22, 2010 5:00 PM

    when parcells berates people he is great theater but payton is bully

  10. Mike Z says: Jan 22, 2010 5:00 PM

    Does this story have a point?

  11. oldsaintfan says: Jan 22, 2010 5:00 PM

    I think I would trust Payton to do what is right for his team and tend less to believe some Sports Reporter who seems to have an axe to grind with the Coach.

  12. oldsaintfan says: Jan 22, 2010 5:01 PM

    I think I would trust Payton to do what is right for his team and tend less to believe some Sports Reporter who seems to have an axe to grind with the Coach.

  13. Bruce A says: Jan 22, 2010 5:01 PM

    Mike Freeman is a hack and sh*tstirrer of the highest order.
    He’s the Skip Bayless of online columnists. Everything he writes is to be a contrarian and to bring attention to himself.
    Freeman is just taking the “Everyone thinks Sean Payton is a good guy, so I’m going to write the opposite” route.
    The guy had to resign from the Indy Star for lying on his resume.
    I think every coach in the NFL has a bit of a bully in him, or has lashed out at some idiot writer for some reason or another.

  14. Panu says: Jan 22, 2010 5:01 PM

    Sean Payton is awesome. Mike Freeman, not so much.

  15. paul says: Jan 22, 2010 5:02 PM

    Freeman is a tool. So glad he and Bianchi don’t write for the Times Union anymore.

  16. efangule says: Jan 22, 2010 5:03 PM

    Go PAYTON!
    Give him a gold star for knocking the media in their place.

  17. ☻☼CBS, FOX, ESPN, NFLN nbc says: Jan 22, 2010 5:04 PM

    I’m down with Sean Payton.

  18. eballa1 says: Jan 22, 2010 5:06 PM

    Give me a break. The media love to criticize but hate to be criticized. Sounds like sour grapes.

  19. Mike Quick says: Jan 22, 2010 5:07 PM

    Who cares, its only the media. I cant say that I could blame any of these coaches or players for feeling or acting that way, with the way the media treats them with one sided stories, things taken out of context, over exaggerated, and flat out fabricate stories. In a nutshell the media sucks.

  20. oldsaintfan says: Jan 22, 2010 5:07 PM

    I think this is more a Reporter with an Agenda just prior to the Playoff game. Funny, that this would come out now. Of course, Florio, you probably tend to believe anything that this Reporter says. Get the Coaches explanation on this before you report on it.

  21. JCD says: Jan 22, 2010 5:07 PM

    If any commentator or journalist paid attention to Payton’s behavior on the sideline this wouldn’t come as a surprise. I’ve seen him punch players and generally behave like a madman on numerous occasions. That is the one thing that I think could be a detriment to this team-Payton’s temper.

  22. Desides says: Jan 22, 2010 5:07 PM

    Note to Florio: when a head coach displays a lack of respect for the media, he’s only reciprocating the feelings.
    You’ll get no sympathy from we the reader.

  23. Postman says: Jan 22, 2010 5:07 PM

    You last paragraph is predictable. You just can’t hide that Purple & Yellow pride.

  24. .VoxVeritas says: Jan 22, 2010 5:09 PM

    What a meanie! I like him more now that I know that he’s giving you bloodsuckers some crap.

  25. stadanko says: Jan 22, 2010 5:12 PM

    Forget about the thousands of dollars he has helped raise for a reeling New Orleans community since he became head coach. He’s a real jerk because he yelled at your sports writer friends.

  26. Poo Flinging Monkey says: Jan 22, 2010 5:15 PM

    I don’t think Payton owes a great deal of consideration to the media, who of late does less news reporting and more sh1t stirring.

  27. The Wishbone says: Jan 22, 2010 5:16 PM

    Sean Payton has 14 year-old-girl taste in music (Kenny Chesney) and he wears sun visors, which are only acceptable for women golfers. But this post makes me think better of him as a coach. Apparently he does have a set of balls. Who knew? Good for him.
    Nice coaches suck. Stop being such a p.r.-minded p—-, Florio.

  28. bigbolt says: Jan 22, 2010 5:17 PM

    Norv Tuner gets blasted for being soft.
    Sean Payton gets blasted for being a bully.
    Which one is it?!?!? The media can’t have it both ways!

  29. swede700 says: Jan 22, 2010 5:22 PM

    I’ve never thought Payton was a good guy. I’ve always thought he had an inappropriate arrogance to him. Whatever you may think of Mr. Freeman or his writing, if it’s true, do you believe it’s justified behavior by Payton? I don’t. There’s this thing called the golden rule.

  30. buckdw says: Jan 22, 2010 5:22 PM

    Desides says:
    January 22, 2010 5:07 PM
    Note to Florio: when a head coach displays a lack of respect for the media, he’s only reciprocating the feelings.
    You’ll get no sympathy from we the reader.
    Amen brother

  31. BigEasy33 says: Jan 22, 2010 5:25 PM

    Payton is who he thought he was…..

  32. zilla1126 says: Jan 22, 2010 5:31 PM

    Wow, the idea of mistreating someone who will exploit any verbal mis-step you make and publish it for the world to see no matter how much damage it does to your team is just not OK.
    Anyone who knows anything at all knows how important it is for the news guy to have something to write about that day; and if getting that involves sociopathic behavior that destroys lives; thats just fine.
    Coaches should give such people full and total access to all parts of their organization and homes. Just so they don’t miss anything.

  33. BenRapistberger says: Jan 22, 2010 5:32 PM

    Go Vikings!!!

  34. prmpft says: Jan 22, 2010 5:35 PM

    slow news day – GEAUX SAINTS!!!!

  35. idio says: Jan 22, 2010 5:36 PM

    Wow who gives a crap??? “Sean Payton, head coach of a football team. All-around nice guy…. OR IS HE!?!?!” *Cue dramatic music*. Just because he told some writers, who have never played the game, that his team of men who slam into each other at high-speed day in and day out are “finesse” players? Because he used, *gasp*, a swear word when referring to a reporter?! Golly jeepers! Hey guess what, not everybody thinks the media are awesome. I say fire away. I swear at the media all-day long when they misrepresent situations, or just do a crappy job. I do it to you guys when you write crappy stories like this.

  36. bills9951 says: Jan 22, 2010 5:36 PM

    mike freeman? he is useless. This is the dumbest story posted on PFT EVER.

  37. ladybucs&steelersnut says: Jan 22, 2010 5:37 PM

    Florio, if Payton really is “more than a bit of a bully”, shouldn’t you be worried that now he’ll come after your a$$ for helping expose him for it?
    Also, at this point of the season who cares; his Saints are in the NFC title game. That shows he’s a helluva coach! Unless the dude has commited a crime, what else matters?

  38. idio says: Jan 22, 2010 5:38 PM

    This is, to use a phrase from your industry, a total dog bites man story: Wait, you mean head football coaches aren’t totally cute and cuddely?!?!?!?! WTFOMGBBQ! Somebody call CNN, grab the head banner on DrudgeReport, football players and coaches can be salty people!!! NEWSFLASH: “Sports writer writes article critical of coach who yells at sports writers!!!!”

  39. urabozoo says: Jan 22, 2010 5:42 PM

    You’re relying on a Mike Freeman column for this? Freeman? Really? That’s like relying on Carrot Top to be funny.

  40. Rdowb says: Jan 22, 2010 5:42 PM

    It’s shocking to see how many people have a skewed view of the media. The media is doing the public a service by reporting stories that have to do with our favorite teams. Sure, there are hacks and bloodsuckers, but oftentimes there is a legit story being reported. Without the media, how would we hear about coaches like Mike Leach and Jim Leavitt abusing players? Or incidents in which pro athletes set bad examples for children? I’m not saying Mike Freeman is right for attacking Payton, but I’m not forgiving Payton for his actions. The media has its place, but they are doing their job the same as you and I. And don’t lie, as sports fans, they have a job most of you would want.

  41. cobrala2 says: Jan 22, 2010 5:44 PM

    I could care less and I’m quite sure many writers deserve worse treatment, if this even qualifies as poor treatment in the first place.
    BOO F’ING HOO Florio.

  42. azure says: Jan 22, 2010 5:48 PM

    GOOD! Good for Payton. People in the spotlight should be able to be rude to reporters and writers for constantly invading their privacy. I know “Freedom of the Press.”……..that’s fine and dandy…but that doesn’t mean they have to be nice to you so *baby talk coming* “You pus!@#$ don’t get your wittle feewings hurt.” I love it when people are jerks to the media…the media deserves it 99.9999% of the time for invading their privacy and writing ridiculously lame stories like this because this is really the only dirt they can dig up on a guy….this story is quite laughable and so is the reporter…..a joke of a writer.

  43. dead money says: Jan 22, 2010 5:49 PM

    You know a great deal of us are here because of our common dislike of the media, right?
    Florio, every time you promote a talking head or beat writer who’s a self-appointed know-it-all, I can almost here a collective….
    The proof is in the pudding, and they’re winning, dammit. If you want a bully egomaniac you should ask around about Greg(double-G) Williams.. Him and Payton prolly make quite a couple!!!

  44. luke1982 says: Jan 22, 2010 5:49 PM

    Payton should have bean the Dallas coach after Parcels quit. Dallas would have already won another Super Bowl if he would have stuck around for the job.

  45. Florio-is-a-tool says: Jan 22, 2010 5:51 PM

    Yeah Mike, not long ago you had an article about how head coaches has undeserved reputations as hard workers. Still waiting for that blurb about how the perception sportswriters are good people when most of them are really just a$$holes.

  46. MSSeattle says: Jan 22, 2010 5:57 PM

    Is this the same Mike Freeman that resigned from the Indianapolis Star after admitting that he falsified his résumé? If so, I think even less of the article.

  47. RWFV says: Jan 22, 2010 5:59 PM

    # BigEasy33 says: January 22, 2010 5:25 PM
    Payton is who he thought he was…..
    A whiny bitch who can’t take criticism. Maybe he should be more worried about his team then what the media thinks.

  48. HughJassPhD says: Jan 22, 2010 6:00 PM

    So the media is all butt-hurt because Sean is a big meanie to them?
    Boo F’ning Hoo!
    Reporters are some of the most annoying a-holes out there. They deserve everyones contempt.

  49. Rev. Dr. HollywoodWags says: Jan 22, 2010 6:01 PM

    He’s no more a bully then your friend Olbermann is, who is a real douchebag to underlings.

  50. tatum32 says: Jan 22, 2010 6:05 PM

    No worries, especially if he drops a 50 spot on the Vikings – who may have asked for it when they ran that late TD vs Dallas – Brooking wanted a peace of Favre…

  51. artieblanksucsbigD says: Jan 22, 2010 6:15 PM

    thanks Mike for taking some time out of your busy man love for Farve to write something about the Saints

  52. paranoidandroid says: Jan 22, 2010 6:19 PM

    I especially love the reporters for the NFL:
    reporter: “how does winning the game make you feel?”
    player: “Great”
    Wow. I can’t believe someone gets paid to do that. They seriously ask some of the most retarded questions in the history of retarded questions.

  53. DoomsDayD75 says: Jan 22, 2010 6:39 PM

    Cool story, bro.

  54. tombrookshire says: Jan 22, 2010 6:44 PM

    Nothing pisses people off more, especially members of the press, than when someone else is successful. No one cares about losers, lovable or otherwise. But winners are always in the sites of writers who love nothing more than to see a successful person get knocked off of their pedestal. Who could blame Payton for being cynical and jaded about sports writers. After all, he worked for the Gints where the world’s most negative and vitriolic sports press lives.

  55. Doc Fluty says: Jan 22, 2010 6:48 PM

    awww… the media talked bad about him so he doesnt like them.. big deal.
    i hate most of the media hacks too… guess im a bully

  56. art vandelay-rau says: Jan 22, 2010 6:48 PM

    The more a coach offends/berates/criticizes/demeans a member of the media,,the more I find myself liking the guy

  57. Peoples Champ says: Jan 22, 2010 7:23 PM

    Boo-frickety-hoo! Freeman is such a little bitch. Sounds like he got his little feelings hurt…

  58. Quagmire says: Jan 22, 2010 8:06 PM

    Jerry should have kept him, instead of hiring Bum Jr.
    Bum Jr. is a good defensive coach…not so much as a head coach.

  59. CKL says: Jan 23, 2010 9:51 AM

    urabozoo says:
    January 22, 2010 5:42 PM
    You’re relying on a Mike Freeman column for this? Freeman? Really? That’s like relying on Carrot Top to be funny.
    HAHAH…nice one!
    IF Payton banned a guy MERELY for criticizing Bush in an article, that’s over the top. But I like the fact that he sticks up for his guys. That’s basically what most of these examples show. Yeah Payton’s a little cocky at times I think, maybe a milder form of Parcells, but I like Payton. As a Pats fan, I don’t mind a guy who gets a little salty with the media. 🙂
    Also, to the poster who says he saw Payton punch someone on the sides..really? Details please.

  60. sugarlips says: Jan 23, 2010 12:12 PM

    Hey Florio, next time you and Freeman are getting your nails done….tell him Saints fans have a message for him. It starts with F and ends in U.
    And please remind him that green isn’t his color.

  61. sugarlips says: Jan 23, 2010 12:16 PM

    The poster who said they saw him punch someone on the sideline is FULL OF S*#T!! You didn’t see anything son, stop trying to act like the Adam Schefter of PFT commenters. You never saw ANYTHING!! STFU

  62. Asswipe Johnson (Pronounced Az-Wee-Pay) says: Jan 23, 2010 8:31 PM

    svn says:
    “when parcells berates people he is great theater”
    Anything Parcells does is great theater…when Parcells farts, there’s a guy down there who rates it.

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