With the season opening Thursday, it’s an appropriate time to update our NFL bookshelf with thoughts on Saints head coach Sean Payton’s book Home Team: Coaching the Saints and New Orleans back to Life. The book tells the tale not just of the Saints’ 2009 Super Bowl season but also of Payton’s journey from college player to NFL coach. In fact, that journey may be more enlightening than Payton’s thoughts on building the Saints. Hearing Payton talk about moving his family and about failing in job interviews was a far more personal insight than I expected.
While most reviews concentrated on Payton’s blunt retelling of his celebration methods, we found his motivational tactics more compelling. Hearing the story about why the team resigned Deuce McAllister during last year’s playoffs or why he decided on a game-turning onside kick to open the second half during the Super Bowl. Coaches looking for ideas on inspiring their teams can learn from Payton’s tactics and his overall mindset.
Most coaching books are filled with cliches instead of insight, but Payton avoided that trap more than most. It’s not great literature, but Home Team is an interesting and quick read, and it’s worth having on your bookshelf, especially if you’re a Saints fan.