Larry Holder gets it at least half right.
I asked Payton if teams reached out to him to gauge his interest of leaving New Orleans. He mentioned semantics about how teams can't reach out to him specifically. But added, "I know there was one report and I don't know the gist of it all, but no. The protocol would have been via the Saints, but no. Not at all."Holder is correct to be suspicious. But that's sort of obvious. What he falls for in the meantime is Payton's weird "love letter to NOLA" spoken word essay. Holder says of Payton, "He sounded like a true New Orleanian."
Payton never acknowledged whether or not he pondered other opportunities despite being asked.
I found this hard to believe, considering Payton said this earlier in the press conference: "I know Mickey is too smart and I know no one's giving up the compensation that he was, I'm sure, looking and researching. That could only happen if I sign off on it and I think the cart kind of gets ahead of the horse a little bit and yet I understand how that could happen."
If Loomis is researching for possible compensation packages for a "trade" of a coach, you're going to tell me this scenario never actually existed with another team or teams?
As a lifelong New Orleanian, I have yet to discover an appropriate definition of what a "true" one of those is supposed to be. To me, Payton sounded like the drug addled rejected job applicant he obviously was. The Saints tried to move Payton this week. No one offered what he thought he was worth. So now he's stuck here for, "as long as they'll have me." That's not "loyalty to the community," whatever that means. That's coming to realize you're only a big fish when you swim in the small pond.
Admittedly, this is how a lot of transplants come to be "true New Orleanians." But it's important to understand that this is not a story about coming to love a city so much as it is about learning to rationalize failed ambition. Which is why most of the time a "Love Letter To NOLA" much like a "Break Up With NOLA" is really about a narcissistic author transferring a personal success or disappointment onto a romanticized idea of the city itself. When it isn't those things, then it's probably just cynical marketing copy.
When it's coming from a hyper-competitive millionaire celebrity like Sean Payton, it's probably a little bit of both.