NEW ORLEANS -- Sean Payton is moving his family to Dallas
and the Saints have no problem with it - however, many New Orleans
Payton confirmed Tuesday that he buying a house in Dallas and is
moving his wife and two children to Texas while he remains the
Saints' head coach.
"When my wife and I relocated our family from Dallas, we had
always dreamed of someday settling there," Payton said is a
statement released by the team. "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."'
The decision is not sitting will with numerous Saints fans
who've expressed consternation and confusion over the matter on
call-in shows and internet chat sites.
Saints owner Tom Benson and Mickey Loomis both issed statements
of support and sounded confident that Payton was committed to
sticking with the club that first made him a head coach in January
"Sean is our head coach," Benson said. "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."
Loomis pointed out that it is not uncommon for coaches to coach
in one city while their permanent home is in another.
Former Colts coach Tony Dungy did so with the Colts while his
family lived in Florida. In the NBA, current New Jersey Nets coach
Avery Johnson maintains his permanent home in Texas.
"This is a personal family matter for Sean and his family and
after discussing it with him, I support his decision," Loomis
said. "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."
Even if that is the case, New Orleans is unlike any other NFL
city because of the bond between fans and the team. The
relationship has transcended the action on the gridiron since
Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.
Payton has taken a public relations beating the last 24 hours as
rumors about his family's move began to circulate and fester for
more than a day before he finally issued a statement.
Readers of the Times-Picayune's web site, nola.com, posted
hundreds of messages on the subject, many expressing disenchantment
with a coach they had seen as a pillar of the community.
Because Payton had been an assistant coach in Dallas from
2003-05 and maintains a friendly relationship with Cowboys owner
Jerry Jones, numerous fans worried that Payton may have designs on
returning to his former employer.
Others were simply insulted and accused the coach of hypocrisy.
Not only had Payton played a leading role in helping the Saints
promote their mission to rebuild the city since Hurricane Katrina,
he had also published a book, after the 2010 Super Bowl triumph,
entitled: "Home Team - Coaching the Saints and New Orleans Back To
Now Payton is making a change that many interpret as the coach
essentially saying their town is no longer good enough for the
coach's wife, Beth, and their two children, Meghan and Connor.
The subject dominated call-in shows, where some wondered allowed
whether Payton was having trouble with his marriage, while others
urged angry fans to stay out of the coach's personal business and
give him the benefit of the doubt.
In his book, Payton recalled that when he was hired by the
Saints, he considered keeping his family in Dallas, but the Saints
refused, fearful it would send the wrong message. Payton wrote that
he realized then that, if one was going to join the Saints after
Katrina, they had to be "All in."
Payton moved into a suburban development in Mandeville, on the
north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. A couple years later, however,
Payton's family had to move out of the house because it had been
built with wallboard from China that was found to emit chemicals
under hot and humid conditions that ruined metals in everything
from jewelry to electrical wiring.
The home had to be gutted and the interior rebuilt before the
Paytons could get back in.
Now they're on the move again, to a place where his children
will attend a new school and make new friends - most of them