Considering that Saints coach Sean Payton was fined $100,000 for not wearing a mask in the opener, it makes sense that he’s looking to save a little money where he can.
So after some experimentation, he found an economical alternative.
“The simple, $1.75 surgical mask, just felt lighter, cleaner and also I think a little bit easier to talk through without any muffled sound than the material one,” Payton said, via Amie Just of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The fact he could buy more than 57,000 of them if he still had his fine money notwithstanding, it became a functional decision. Payton started wearing a neck gaiter pulled up over his face during warmups, but said it got warm and kept sliding down, so he made the switch to the simple surgical mask.
Coaches are creatures of habit, so anything that complicates their play-calling routine is going to be met with resistance. But the importance of mask-wearing as a health issue supersedes football concerns, a lesson Payton and four other coaches found out the hard way.