The New Orleans Saints just sent out what has to be the most anticipated real estate-related news release not involving a team sale or relocation in NFL history.
They included quotes from coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and owner Tom Benson on Payton’s decision to move his family to Dallas, while continuing to coach the Saints.
Here’s what Payton had to say:
“When my wife and I relocated our family from Dallas, we had always dreamed of someday settling there. We feel that now is the best time to do this. It’s a decision that I’m sure many families have to confront, and I don’t know if there is any one right or wrong decision -- just the best one you can make for your own family.”
Here’s what Benson had to say:
“Sean is our head coach. Like we do with everyone in our organization, we support them when they need to make tough personal decisions. Sean is making a decision in the best interest of his family and he needs our support and he will get it. What I do know is that Sean is completely focused on bringing our team back to a championship. We continue to move in that right direction and I look forward to 2011.”
Here’s what Loomis had to say:
"Sean and I have discussed his decision to move his family to Dallas and like with any personal decision, it is important that he does what is best for his family. This is a personal family matter for Sean and his family and after discussing it with him, I support his decision. We spoke of numerous other coaches that have done the same thing successfully. I am confident that Sean will continue to be an excellent head coach for the Saints for many years to come and he remains steadfast to get our team back to the Super Bowl and bring the Lombardi Trophy back to New Orleans."
My take on all this: Although it might not create the best appearance for a guy who is widely credited with helping the Saints and the entire New Orleans area recover from Hurricane Katrina to suddenly move to Dallas, I don’t think this is the slap that many fans see it as. Payton’s obviously given a lot of thought to the move and believes he can do some commuting and still succeed as a coach. Also, the thing that keeps coming up in the quotes is how this decision is what’s best for Payton’s family. That’s where I think people might want to back off a bit and give Payton some slack. Family is very important. We don’t know exactly what’s going on with Payton’s family -- and maybe we don’t need to know. But, if Payton thinks it’s best for his family to be in Dallas and Loomis and Benson are on board with it, then I don’t think it’s anybody’s business but Payton’s. But he also needs to be prepared for the future backlash. If the Saints struggle a little bit, the fact he's living in Dallas will be the first thing fans blame.