New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Jeff Duncan has some great historical perspective on where New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton ranks among the NFL’s all-time greats 100 games into his coaching career.
Payton’s 66-34 record is better than any other active Super Bowl-winning coach through their first 100 games (one victory ahead of fellow 2006 rookie coach Mike McCarthy). And Payton is even better through his first 100 games than his mentor Bill Parcells was.
There were still a handful of Hall of Fame coaches better than Payton over their first 100 games, though -- a list that’s topped by Paul Brown (84-13-3), Don Shula (74-24-2) and Vince Lombardi (73-24-3).
Worth a click:
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal ranked the early leaders for the NFL’s top awards after one quarter of the season. It’s no surprise to see both Payton and quarterback Drew Brees ranked No. 2 on the Coach of the Year and MVP lists (behind Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning). But it is somewhat surprising to see Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan all the way up at No. 2 on the Defensive Player of the Year watch list behind the Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt. That speaks to the type of growing national recognition Jordan has been receiving in his third NFL season.
ESPN.com’s NFL Nation writer Kevin Seifert put together a “star-studded panel” from ESPN Stats & Information to come up with the 10 greatest seasons by a quarterback in NFL history. Brees’ 2011 season ranks fourth.
For something only slightly-Saints related, here’s an update on how rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is developing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jones was arguably the most popular choice among Saints fans on draft day, but the Saints opted to go with safety Kenny Vaccaro instead (a choice no one is complaining about these days).
Odds and ends: The Saints are one of five NFL teams still perfect at 4-0 (along with the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks). That’s tied for the most 4-0 teams in NFL history (along with 1968, 2003 and 2009), according to ESPN Stats & Information. The only year that five times started 5-0 was 2009 -- the year the Saints started 13-0 and won a Super Bowl. Also 5-0 that year were the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants.
It doesn’t take a team of researchers to realize that a 5-0 start greatly increases a team’s playoff odds. But the exact numbers are interesting. Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, 90 percent of 5-0 teams made the playoffs (36 out of 40).
More absolute, though, is what happens to teams that start 0-5. None of them have made the playoffs since 1990 (a “perfect” 0 for 48).
Here's the complete chart from ESPN Stats & Information: