Good grief: Saints to leave empty chair in meetings, on flights to honor Sean Payton
To help the New Orleans Saints properly mourn and at the same time pay tribute and remember the cruel fate currently being suffered by their head coach at the hands of the NFL after the league suspended him for one year, the team will leave an unoccupied chair during all team meetings and on all team flights and bus rides throughout Sean Payton’s exile from the team. So while Payton is looking longingly at the Superdome from his new office in the nearby Benson Tower or is jamming away on the bongos at a Jimmy Buffett concert, the Saints team and staff will have a constant reminder of the void left behind due to the absence of their visored, fearless leader.
Said interim head coach Joey Vitt (via NFL.com):
“How would Pittsburgh react if Chuck Knoll was gone? Or how would Dallas react if Tom Landry wasn’t there? Or San Francisco without Bill Walsh?” interim head coach Joe Vitt said via Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Sean’s put those kinds of numbers up. He has that kind of recognition in the league. Nobody can take his place.”
Blatant hyperbole regarding Payton’s forced inclusion into the pantheon of those NFL coaching greats aside, there is no sense arguing that Payton will be missed by the team, but if you ask me, the Saints could most certainly come up with a better way to properly honor their coach’s absence than simply leaving an empty seat. How about a cardboard cutout of the coach? If a high school girl in Iowa can fashion a Tim Tebow cardboard cutout to serve as her escort to prom on the cheap, surely the Saints organization has the ingenuity to pull it off.
Better yet, given the vast resources of the team has at its disposal, why stop there? How about hiring a Sean Payton look-a-like to hang around the team complex and accompany the squad to games? Despite the confusion, I can’t see how the NFL would be able to prevent the team from doing that. But if the Saints were to go in that direction, might I suggest the Sean Payton Doppelganger lug around a cross at all times? You know, to adequately represent the aforementioned cruel fate suffered by their unjustly (at least in the team’s eyes) exiled coach.