Saints coach Payton to step down

Stats Perform
25/01/202220:31
Sean Payton has been a Saints mainstay
Sean Payton has been a Saints mainstay

Sean Payton is stepping down as head coach of the New Orleans Saints after 15 seasons in charge, reports said on Tuesday.

The franchise called a news conference for 15:00 local time (21:00 BST) at which Payton's departure was expected to be confirmed.

Payton will be moving on after a 2021 campaign in which the Saints failed to reach the postseason, finishing with a 9-8 record.

The 58-year-old Payton joined the Saints in 2006 and, in tandem with newly acquired quarterback Drew Brees, began to turn the team into a formidable force, peaking with a Super Bowl XLIV triumph in the 2009 season. Payton's team beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in the NFL showpiece game.

Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season after the Saints' 'Bountygate' scandal blew up, with players said to have been rewarded by fellow team members for injuring and knocking opponents out of games.

He returned to lead the team with distinction again, albeit unable to secure a return to the Super Bowl.

From 2017 to 2020, New Orleans achieved regular-season performances of 11-5, 13-3, 13-3 and 12-4, finishing top of the NFC South on each occasion.

Payton, who was under contract through 2024, has a 152-89 regular-season record – the 13th-best of all time (minimum 100 games) – while he is 9-8 in the playoffs.

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