IRVING, Texas -- Sean Payton is in the same sentence as Jimmy Johnson when Jason Garrett discusses his coaching influences.
They spent three seasons together with the New York Giants, when Payton was the offensive coordinator and Garrett was essentially an extension of the coaching staff as the backup quarterback.
“I consider him a mentor, someone who I had a great time playing for in New York,” Garrett said. “I played for him for three years. I learned a tremendous amount from him about playing quarterback and also about offensive football, and really about style of coaching as well.
“He was always a guy who was very demanding about people but he also made the game fun for you. You wanted to come to work, you wanted to go out to practice, you wanted to listen to him in meetings. He's just an awfully good football coach. I cherish that time we had together because I learned so much from him.”
Payton knew then that Garrett had the potential to become an excellent coach. Payton said he’d often bounce ideas off of Garrett – about personnel, about relating to players, about Xs and Os – after meetings.
But Payton wasn’t sure whether coaching was the best option for Garrett’s post-quarterbacking future.
“Sometimes the people on the outside would advise a Princeton grad not to go into coaching,” Payton said. “I think it’s in his blood.”