After the Buccaneers beat the Saints in Week 17 of the regular season, their coach Dirk Koetter and Saints coach Sean Payton met for a handshake and more at midfield.
While the two men were shaking hands, they were also exchanging chest slaps while having a conversation that seemed to center on Payton taking issue with Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans‘ blindside charge at Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore during a Week Nine game between the teams. Payton noted he “got pissed” in that game, Koetter said he didn’t see it and the two men parted ways looking nothing like the closest of friends.
On Wednesday, Payton, who is coaching a couple of Koetter’s players in the Pro Bowl, downplayed any tension.
“Not at all,” Payton said, via ESPN.com. “Listen, he’s a great coach and a good friend and when you get into these games, you just get going 100 miles an hour. I know he’s building his team, and I like just meeting some of [Koetter’s] guys who are out here. But it’s all good.”
The Saints and Buccaneers will play twice next season, which will offer ample opportunity for the two men to have a calmer exchange at midfield or for bad feelings between division rivals to get stoked all over again.