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OTL taking a closer look at Sean Payton

Saints Payton Glare Football AP

In April, ESPN’s Outside the Lines strayed across the center line by sending John Barr to New Orleans with the apparent directive of digging up more dirt on the Saints.  Eventually, Barr found a disgruntled former employee who claimed that G.M. Mickey Loomis had the ability to eavesdrop on opposing coaches in 2002.

The report wasn’t that Loomis ever used the system.  But that Loomis had the ability to do it.

It sparked some intriguing, real-time ESPN-on-ESPN crime, with ESPN analyst Bill Polian arguing that there would be no benefit to such skullduggery, right on the heels of Barr breathlessly promoting his carefully-parsed-by-legal report.

It felt at the time like a Bernie Fine-style effort to compensate for the fact that ESPN was asleep at the switch through not one but two phases of the Saints bounty investigation.  Though Bristol could take some solace in the fact that no one in the media knew about the bounty situation until the NFL pulled a 5:00 p.m. Friday bad-news dump in early March, no one else has enough reporters and analysts covering the league to rival a third-world infantry battalion (although the NFL itself is apparently trying to spark an arm’s race).

Now, OTL is back on the scene, with a profile of Saints coach Sean Payton due to debut on Sunday morning.

Since Payton has been suspended for a year and currently isn’t embroiled in any litigation with the league, a Payton profile doesn’t seem particularly newsworthy.  Frankly, I’d rather hear more about interim coach Joe Vitt or linebacker Jonathan Vilma or Judge Helen G. Berrigan or the process for picking an interim interim coach.

Given the eavesdropping story, it’s hard not to wonder whether and to what extent the Payton profile will consist of kicking a dog while he’s down by dredging up outdated or marginally relevant claims.  To the extent that the item delves into Payton’s notoriously contentious relationship with the media (especially in New Orleans), it’ll be interesting to see whether there’s anything in there that would be any different than if the profile were about Bill Belichick or Bill Parcells or Nick Saban or any other branch of the Tuna Tree.

Still, it’ll be worth checking it out, if only to see whether there’s another nugget of decade-old “news” aimed at making up for the fact that the bounty investigation was occurring right under the noses of ESPN’s NFL reporters and their network of sources.

Hopefully, Payton never gave anyone a wedgie in high school.

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19 Responses to “OTL taking a closer look at Sean Payton”
  1. cash804 says: Aug 17, 2012 3:55 PM

    New Orleans…where there IS crying in football.

  2. labratre says: Aug 17, 2012 4:02 PM

    Yaaaaaaawn!!!

  3. cometkazie says: Aug 17, 2012 4:15 PM

    Consider the source . . .

  4. wordlysmith says: Aug 17, 2012 4:29 PM

    LA Saints here were go.

  5. rajbais says: Aug 17, 2012 5:06 PM

    And there’s discussion on why Sean Payton has a contentious relationship with the media???

    Why is this a shock?

    The relationship with the media is only good when you’re winning. It’s bad when coaches are losing, dull, quiet, and have to meet reporters daily.

    This is why the majority of coaches say nothing by sounding like they’re saying a lot.

    It’s also why press conferences should only be 2-3 times per week, after a game and 1-2 practices.

    Journalists do not advance the careers by attending press conferences. They do so by forming relationships inside the organizations to get better stories. Plus, coaches already have arguably the second hardest job in the country (first is the President of the United States); why do they need anymore stress?

    Injuries can be listed on the team website and so much time and money can be saved for news publications.

  6. 49erstim says: Aug 17, 2012 5:11 PM

    It’s all in the way you sell it right Mr Florio. With Payton you play it like the 4-letter is picking on him, but if this were Jim Harbaugh or Rex Ryan you’d bring the rope for the lynching. I know you don’t care for the criticism, but come off it already Mikey. I know this won’t get posted, but at least i know you’ll read it. Just move back a little toward the middle bro. The Saints were NOT victimized and Sean Payton is NO martyr.

  7. daveman8403 says: Aug 17, 2012 5:15 PM

    If you mean the Louisiana Saints (which LA is the abbreviation for) you are correct. The saints aren’t moving anywhere. t

  8. darkflynt says: Aug 17, 2012 5:24 PM

    wasn’t there also a “drug inventory” issue just a few years ago there…………

  9. loldeepball says: Aug 17, 2012 5:35 PM

    Payton is rocking the blue steel in that photo.

  10. letmesetyoustraight says: Aug 17, 2012 5:41 PM

    Don’t be surprised if the name Kenny Wilkerson comes up during this show. He is a disgruntled former WWL radio Saints beat reporter who met with Barr on his first dirt-digging trip down to N.O.

  11. uglynora says: Aug 17, 2012 6:04 PM

    Really, ESPN? Again? Word on the street was SP recently got divorced because of infidelity. Now we know it must have been with the the head of ESPN’s wife.

  12. flannlv says: Aug 17, 2012 6:22 PM

    ESPN gets owned on the wiretapping and now they come out with this. What a surprise. Is Barr doing this story? Let me guess, Freeman will be interviewed also.

  13. floriosfuglykid says: Aug 17, 2012 6:22 PM

    Unfortunately this sort of spurious “news” story only helps reinforce the New Orleans delusion that the Saints didn’t do anything wrong. They can point to this … feel all warm and ‘victimy’ … and kid themselves that their team didn’t pay players to injure opponents … and then lie about it.

  14. goodolebaghead says: Aug 17, 2012 6:46 PM

    Saints fan here. I think I speak for every fan of every team here when I respectfully request the media to STOP all reporting on the Saints for the rest of the season. If it isn’t about something on the field, than JUST DON’T REPORT IT. Please ESPN, stay away. Don’t mention it, announcers during the games. Don’t bring it up pre-game or post-game. JUST STOP! I’m sick of it, and I know you all are, and it is only making you all hate the Saints more, even though we’re not the ones asking for the exposure.

  15. larryjames836 says: Aug 17, 2012 6:50 PM

    ESPN is walking on thin ice already they need to set down before ESPN headquarters will be in New Orleans, Louisiana you guys not out of the woods as yet. You need to stop talking about the Saints before you guys be facing this billionaire in someone court room with a lawsuit hanging over you guys head and a rope around your neck you guys done told enough lies already.

  16. 49erstim says: Aug 17, 2012 8:12 PM

    @goodolebaghead…. Agreed. We’re all tired of the constant reporting of nothing new.

  17. nolaqb says: Aug 18, 2012 1:18 AM

    First stay out of Payton’s personal life! You do not belong there. You do not know the truth behind his divorce! Yes, the media needs to leave the Saints and Payton alone! Enough already!

  18. chuckybadger says: Aug 18, 2012 9:35 PM

    Maybe we just need Tebow.

  19. saints25 says: Aug 19, 2012 9:15 AM

    With the regular season starting why a report on a coach who’s not even going to be on the sidelines?How many times will we hear Sean Payton is arragant?My guess is

    #49

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