Monday, 07 February 2011 23:08

New Orleans Saints: Payton, Super Bowl, Reggie Bush, Rothlisberger, Aaron Rodgers

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After an earlier ESPN report that indicated Saints coach Sean Payton is moving to Dallas, a source close to the team told WWL News that Payton will maintain a New Orleans area residence, while also purchasing a  new home in the Dallas area for his family.

Payton, according to the source, and according to a Saints statement on Sunday, will remain head coach of the Saints.

"A source close to Payton confirmed he is purchasing a home in the Dallas area and plans to commute between the two cities as the Saints head coach.

Ed Werder reported on "Payton, wife Beth and their children will live in a home the family is purchasing in the exclusive Vaquero Club, an upscale golf community in Westlake that is home to numerous PGA Tour professionals.

Payton was quarterbacks coach of the Cowboys before he took the Saints job.

The Saints must address their poor special teams in the offseason once again. They won the Super Bowl in 2009 despite subpar production from special teams and made it a focus for 2010, but they came up short again. The Saints were 28th in defending punt returns and 24th in defending kickoff returns.

Saints kickoff return men, Courtney Roby and Pierre Thomas suffered injuries this season that hurt production.

The punt return team suffered with Reggie Bush's broken leg in Week 2. The Saints were 23rd in punt return average.

The Saints kicking game is in good shape shape. Kicker Garrett Hartley lost his job early in the reason but regained it and made his last 13 field goal attempts of the season.

Punter Thomas Morstead didn't miss any games even though he suffered a significant shoulder injury against the Patriots in the preseason.  He averaged 45.9 yards per punt. He underwent shoulder surgery after the season.

Bush has a huge chunk of money coming to him this season ($11.8 million) and it remains to be seen how much the Saints will pay him. He's worth about $4 million per year. He said he is willing to renegotiate his contract, but will he accept $4 million?

Stay tuned.

Super Bowl observations:

The first fumble of the game belongs to Christina Aguliera for messing up the national anthem.

You admire the spare call Joe Buck uses after dramatic scores. For example, after Greg Jennings caught a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers at the beginning of the fourth quarter, "Rodgers looking goes to the right! Jennings! Touchdown !". That's the way Ray Scott called the Packers games during the Lombardi days. One of the calls Buck made at the end of the game: "The Lombardi Trophy is coming home."

Steelers receiver Hines Ward, who said he was not retiring, defended quarterback Ben Rothlisberger, who passed for 263 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. "He's a warrior, he stayed in there," said Hines. "I think somebody went at his knees and twisted his knee. His ankle was already bum, but he's always going to be a competitor to the end."

A week plagued by poor weather took an embarrassing turn Sunday when the NFL had to find replacement seats inside Cowboys Stadium for 850 fans. The league also scrambled to find a place for another 400 persons to sit in Jerry Jones' $1.2 billion palace and couldn't find any with a view of the field.

Actually, the seats had been installed in six temporary sections, but they went up so late the fire marshal didn't have time to inspect them. The winter storms that struck the area had set back work on the temporary seats. That didn't matter to the fans who thought they had been deceived by the NFL and Jones.

As for those 400 fans, not even a hefty refund offer from the NFL was enough to satisfy them for losing their seats. The league said it would pay triple the face value -- $2,400 for the $800 tickets.  Problem is some of those fans paid brokers up to 10 times the face value of the tickets.

Steve Young of ESPN had a strong comment when asked if winning Super Bowl XLV would remove Rodgers from Favre's shadow, "You can win MVPs, you can win passing titles and efficiency records and do all that that," said Young. "I did all that. I almost got run out of town until won a Super Bowl.  When you win the Super Bowl, you attach to the fans in a way that can't really replicate and something Brett Favre can't touch."

So what's wrong with the NFL again? Why is it the owners are dead set on locking out the players because the NFL so desperately needs to alter the financial landscape of the game?

Yep, the league is in shambles. Let's blow it up and start over.

Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 8:30 p.m. ESPN will also televise the Hornets' game at Cleveland on March 5...

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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