Today, after our Kenny Vaccaro Edition
and our Jimmy Graham Edition
, let's take a look at just how good Sean Payton is at kicking the Falcons' ass.
When Sean Payton was hired in 2006, the Falcons led the all-time Saints/Falcons series by 13 games. During the 1990s, the Falcons put together a five year, ten game winning streak against the Saints.
Today, the Saints have won 13 of the last 16 games. They've closed their series gap with the Falcons to three regular seasons games and four overall. By winning Sunday, they will put themselves into a position to earn an overall winning record in the regular season series during 2015.
Let's talk about how Payton has done that, and why he will continue to do it, but first let's take a break to see Deuce McAllister run over a Falcons player in 2002.
That's just good for the soul.
Sean Payton's simply a better coach than Mike Smith, is the thing, and the system and personnel he has installed with the Saints have inspired the Falcons in every move they've made since Smith's arrival.
They found a good quarterback, but Sean Payton found a great one. The Saints acquired Jeremy Shockey to be a weapon at tight end, so the Falcons acquired Tony Gonzalez and called it a victory — except Sean Payton found Jimmy Graham and suddenly had the best tight end in the NFC South again. The Saints had Reggie Bush and then Darren Sproles, and the Falcons have had Jacquizz Rodgers...I guess...
The point is twofold: The Saints set the rules under which the Falcons operate these days, and the Falcons' attempt to mimic what the Saints do only results in a team that is a less good version of Payton's.
That won't change in 2014. The Saints rebuilt their defense; the Falcons have tried to do the same, only the Falcons don't have Jairus Byrd, the Falcons don't have Kenny Vaccaro, the Falcons don't have Cam Jordan, and the Falcons don't have Junior Galette. (They don't have Rob Ryan, either, but that goes without saying).
On Sunday, Sean Payton has a chance to extend his dominance over Atlanta for yet another year. I can't wait to see him do it.