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Payton and Brees
Payton and Brees by Jeff Duncan
by Jeff Duncan


 
Hardback. Signed by Jeff Duncan.
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Chicago, IL: Triumph (October 13, 2020)

Hardback. Signed by Jeff Duncan.

New in dust jacket.

A rare, behind the scenes look at the Saints over more than 14 seasons

In 2006, Sean Payton arrived in New Orleans as a relatively unknown first time NFL head coach. His task was daunting: resurrect a Saints team that had just finished 3–13 and had won only one playoff game in the previous four decades.

Meanwhile, the city was undergoing its own staggering rebuild following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina five months earlier. Payton knew that to turn around the Saints’ fortunes, he needed to turn around their dreadful quarterback legacy. The Saints targeted a San Diego Chargers castoff they hoped would become the new face of their franchise: Drew Brees.

Between the draft and free agency, every team in the NFL had passed on Brees at least once because of his surgically repaired right shoulder or his lack of prototypical size. But for Payton and the Saints, Brees was worth the risk. And his signing would irrevocably change the franchise’s prospects and profile. Together, these two underdogs rolled up their sleeves and got to work, helping rebuild the city as they transformed the franchise from laughingstock to juggernaut.

Payton’s bold play-calling proved the perfect match for Brees, who threw a league-leading and franchise-record 4,418 passing yards in his first season in New Orleans. In their most successful campaign ever to that point, the Saints advanced to the NFC Championship Game, providing the city with a desperately needed beacon of hope and joy. Three seasons later, Payton and Brees cemented their foothold in New Orleans as they delivered the city the first Super Bowl win in franchise history.

Jeff Duncan is a columnist for The Athletic New Orleans and previously covered the Saints for the Times-Picayune. He is the author of Tales from the Saints Sideline and From Bags to Riches.

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