When New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season by commissioner Goodell for his part in the bounty scandal that rocked the organization and reverberated around the league, many thought that owner Tom Benson would hire from within to keep the seat warm for Payton’s eventual return in 2013. After all, much of Payton’s staff has pretty much been with the organization since 2006, when he took over as head coach, with exception of new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who lost his job as the Rams head coach after the 2011. But shortly after being punished, word leaked that Payton was pitching the idea of his former mentor, Bill Parcells, to take over. He went as far as talking to Parcells about the open slot. However, what Payton didn’t expect was that his assistants, that seemed to be potential candidates, would become upset with the move.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com is reporting that a source within the league has informed him that Saints assistants, Spagnuolo, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., and offensive line coach Aaron Kromer don’t see a need for Parcells to take the job that they all could handle. It is thought that Parcells would be more of a figure-head on the sidelines, and not be involved with much actually happening on the field. The coaches see no reason for him to be there if that is the case
But here’s the thing, there is no way that Parcells would take any job unless he was heavily involved in what happens while he is there. This is the guy that essentially left the Giants and Patriots because he wasn’t allowed to make decisions on personnel. Remember, he once famously said “They want you to cook the dinner; at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries. Okay?” The reason he left Dallas when he did is because Jerry Jones was infiltrating his locker room too much. Parcells is way too much of a control freak to let others just go about their business. The Saints are talented, and Parcells knows that he can win a Super Bowl with them with a few tweaks.
These coaches also don’t want him there because it is an open audition for whoever was to get the spot. Carmichael and Kromer want a shot at a head coaching job, and this situation would have been perfect for them. To see if they could handle the same team, but with the responsibilities that come with being the head coach. It could be a launching pad for their career. In regards to Spagnuolo, he was a hot commodity after only being a defensive coordinator with the Giants, including winning a Super Bowl. But he struggled in St. Louis being unable to develop the defense from the head coaching gig, and his offense never maturing into much, though personnel moves might have stunted any chance he got, as the ownership has had their eyes on moving more than winning as of late. Spags could let Drew Brees do his thing, and help turn around the defense, and earn himself another shot at a head coaching job much sooner.
Regardless of what happens, the seeds seem to have been sown for there to be some envy no matter who is awarded the gig. Tom Benson may need to make his decision soon, as to give confidence to whoever has the job, and for there to be buy-in from all parties involved. There is no reason that the talent level on this team should see too much of a drop off with Payton gone, but it could be much worse if dissension exists going into the season.