Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/24/13

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints celebrates after his team defeated the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Sean Payton is mad. And this makes the Saints dangerous. Whether they are 10-6-with-a-playoff-win dangerous or Super Bowl dangerous is TBD dependent on variables not yet in evidence — such as how far away from a hot mess this Saints defense travels in a year and Drew Brees' ability to be Drew Brees-ish yet again. New Orleans definitely is dangerous though in the way teams players and coaches with burning bile in their guts from setbacks disappointments and failures usually are. Smart and talented with a little anger rarely fails. I knew Sean Payton was two of the three long before I arrived in New Orleans for our sit-down interview that aired Friday night on Fox Sports Live (click above to see the whole interview). I had covered the Cowboys while he was their offensive coordinator a hungry and willing pushback against Bill Parcells' aversion to any kind of risk. What happened from here is well chronicled. Go to New Orleans. Help save football there post-Katrina. Win Super Bowl. Become hero. Be implicated in Bountygate. Go away for a year. Become villain. What I wanted to know is how angry Payton was and if that was driving him at all. I know you are two of the three I said. “Which two?” "Smart and talented.” “Then I am all three.” This felt like truth. I mean of course he is mad. Who would not be mad? This is not to be confused with him thinking he did nothing wrong. He fully accepts his share of blame and not in the cheap way we have become accustomed where some version of “It’s all my fault” is blanketed upon every criticism to stop any further talk. He was the coach. It is on him even the things that were not. He disappointed himself and there are few worse things. The thing that seems to linger is how his mistakes led to him being pilloried with neither defense nor context. It is prevalent in society at the moment taking a mistake or failure or outright disastrous screwup and extrapolating it out to mean 457 things that are neither applicable nor fair. To apologize is to say “I agree with what I have been called and with what I have been accused” — namely in Payton’s case of being a guy who tacitly greenlighted the targeting of the brains and the ACLs and the livelihoods of opposing players. This most certainly is not the case. To say nothing though is to fail to acknowledge that in the light of day what happened on Payton’s team failed to measure up to his own standards.
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