Monday’s revelation that Saints coach Sean Payton has asked one of his mentors, Bill Parcells, to take the wheel for roughly 10 months (or maybe only nine months), seemed surprising at first. One further review, it makes plenty of sense.
Payton’s smart enough to know that, if an in-house assistant coach thrives as the interim head coach, owner Tom Benson could decide at the end of the 2012 season to give the whistle permanently to whoever leads the team through the coming minefield.
So what better way to keep Benson from deciding to promote Pete Carmichael Jr., Steve Spagnuolo, or Aaron Kromer (and in turn to let Payton go) than to have the job go to a guy who’d want it for only one year?
Equally intriguing (for us, at least) is the fact that this information was even leaked. Since it came from Chris Mortensen, who works with Parcells at ESPN, it’s safe to assume that Parcells blabbed. And why wouldn’t he? Plenty of teams quietly rely on paid outside consultants, and this development reconfirms that Parcells remains highly relevant, even though he’s no longer affiliated with an NFL team on a full-time basis.
The fact that the news didn’t come from someone close to Payton, such as FOX’s Jay Glazer, makes us wonder whether Payton didn’t want word of his interest in Parcells getting out. And Payton should have wanted to keep this one secret. If, after all, the interim coach comes from within and believes that he wasn’t Payton’s first choice, the interim coach may be more motivated to position himself to be Benson’s first choice for 2013 and beyond.