Today I have a new, old storyline. Several media outlets I follow spent time with the topic back in September but I decided to wait. Sure, the story may have had a short shelf life, or it could age like a fine wine – getting better and more interesting with the passage of time.
Fortunately it was the later, and now it is ready. The proper weight and balance have been achieved and the current context now better serves the value of the message.
Today is Friday. Two short days before the most amazing sporting spectacle we’ll ever witness, until next year at about this time. The Super Bowl is all things to all people. It is a social event across all strata and taste. It is pop culture. It is controversy and witness. It is an advertiser’s dream and ad seller’s nirvana. It is a party and it is an unofficial America holiday.
But sometimes lost amongst all the trappings is what the game really is… a championship game. Football is no easy task. For players and coaches alike, the effort and hours are grueling. The routine is numbing, and the pressure is crushing. Within this crucible some competitors burn bright while others burn up. To earn the right to compete on this stage is an honor and most claim they would do anything for the opportunity.
Saints head coach Sean Payton may have meant that more than most as he allowed his actions to deliver the message.
Following a disappointing 2008 season, coach Payton knew exactly what his team needed, namely DEFENSE. Under Payton, an offensive minded coach, the Saints assembled a talented collection of fire power and scored points in bunches. However, when your opponents are able to do the same thing, a string of high scoring losses will still keep you home when the playoffs roll around.
So last off season Sean Payton set out to find his defensive equal to lead his stop squad and found his man in former head coach and long time defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams. The trick would be to lure him to New Orleans, to make him an offer he could not refuse.
So – as the story goes – one afternoon while enjoying a beverage on his deck, Sean figures out how to sweeten the deal just enough to catch Gregg’s attention and sway his decision. He decides to cut his own salary by $250,000 to fund a higher salary for Gregg. Forget the size of Payton’s own contract, one fourth of one million dollars is never not an impressive total. A total that only a few would take for granted.
And so in making such a sacrifice, Sean Payton stands at the cusp or greatness. It its 40 plus year history, the Saints have never played in a Super Bowl. Some may argue that a new level of greatness has already been achieved. But while so many of us are ranking commercials, Sean Payton will be cashing in on his huge personal financial sacrifice, a sacrifice that promises to yield tremendous benefits.
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