August 21, 2006: Sean Payton Makes Saints’ Home Coaching Debut
On this date, 11 years ago, Sean Payton made his first home appearance as head coach of the New Orleans Saints.
No, the game wasn't a regular season game, and now, it wasn't even played in the city of New Orleans, but it should still be remembered.
You see, the Saints were still without a home field, as the Superdome was still being rebuilt, after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Payton, who came to the Saints after three years as an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys from 2003-2005, guided the Saints to a 19-16 triumph over the Tennessee Titans in the 2006 preseason opener.
In the Saints' preseason home opener, Payton took on his former boss and mentor, Bill Parcells, and the Dallas Cowboys, at Independence Stadium in Shreveport.
The Saints, lost, 30-7, and went on to finish the preseason at 1-3, but little did anybody know it was the beginning of something truly special.
The Saints won their first two regular season games, both on the road, before defeating the Atlanta Falcons, 23-3, on Monday Night Football, in a memorable return to New Orleans, and the Superdome.
New Orleans went on to go 10-6 in 2006, and defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs, 27-24, appearing in the NFC Championship Game for the first time in team history, before losing to the Chicago Bears, 39-14.
Three years later, Payton guided the Saints to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance, and win, with a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
During his tenure with the Saints, Payton has compiled an overall record of 94-66, including a 6-4 postseason record.
Now 53-years old, Payton was the right man at the right time when he was named head coach of the Saints prior to the 2006 season.
Few may remember his first preseason home game as head coach of the Saints, but it was indeed the start of the best stretch in franchise history.