How the Saints Went Kicking In
The New Orleans Saints were already pro football’s longtime losers. And after Hurricane Katrina turned them into refugees without a home field, their wreckage seemed complete. A permanent relocation was rumored. Enter Sean Payton. Hired as head coach by the Saints in 2006, the rookie turned the hapless team around with a determined mix of inspired recruiting, motivation, discipline, flawless execution, and a willingness to take calculated and prepared risks. In Payton’s biggest gamble, the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV. Leaders on and off the field can learn from him.
On February 7, 2010, the once-forsaken New Orleans Saints shocked the football world by upsetting the seemingly invincible Indianapolis Colts. Their improbable and gutsy Super Bowl XLIV win capped perhaps the greatest turnaround ever recorded in professional sports. Sean Payton, just four years into his first job as a head coach, showed himself a model for leaders everywhere.
The Saints had long been ridiculed as one of the worst franchises in pro sports--and not without reason. It took them two decades to record their first winning season and 33 years to win a post-season playoff game. In the early years, fans wore paper bags over their heads and dubbed the team the “Ain’ts.”
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