Over the weekend, the folks at Canal Street Chronicles posted a brilliant item suggesting that the Saints would use Coachella-style Tupac technology to simulate the presence of coach Sean Payton on the sidelines during 2012 games.
It was obviously a joke, but Dave Cariello nailed the underlying sentiment.
According to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Saints will devote empty seats all season to Payton, in meeting rooms, on the team bus, and on the team plane.
On one hand, it’s an arguably fitting tribute. On the other hand, it could become a crutch for a team that may find itself struggling in Payton’s absence, possibly prompting the team at some point to fold the tents and start all over again when the seat isn’t empty.
Per Duncan, Payton won’t be that far away. He has obtained league approval to rent a Gruden-style office (the SFCA?) in Benson Tower, which is owned by Saints owner Tom Benson.
With Payton’s family now living in Dallas, what’s the point of even being in Louisiana for any portion of the season? It could be that Payton simply wants to be as close to his team as he possibly can be, even if he can have no interaction with them. Between the empty seats and the occupied office, they’ll know he’s there, that he’s paying attention, and that if they do fold the tents prematurely they’ll have to answer to him as of the day after Super Bowl XLVII.
(Photo illustration credit: CanalStreetChronicles.com)