In January of 2009, Sean Payton coughed up a quarter of a million dollars so that the Saints could afford to hire his preferred choice of defensive coordinators, Gregg Williams.
After winning Super Bowl XLIV, Payton joked in an appearance on NFL Network that he gave up the money under the influence, and woke up having second thoughts.
“I had a few beers in me,” Payton said. “Woke up the next morning, and my wife said, ‘What?’”
But on a serious note, Payton said that what it all boiled down to was, “It’d be a shame to lose a good coach over $250,000.”
Payton added, “I just wanted to make sure ownership, and the General Manager Mickey Loomis knew that this is who we needed.”
As it turned out, ownership became so convinced that Williams was who the Saints needed that they repaid Payton the $250,000 he gave up.
And Payton said after the Super Bowl that the way his defense played against the Colts’ offense reminded him that Williams is a coach who’s worth the money.
“Gregg did a great job with his players,” Payton said. “That was big time.”