Saints coach Sean Payton did not lead his team back to the Super Bowl this year (much to my chagrin), but he will have a presence during Super Bowl Week – as an ESPN analyst. The Saints coach will join coaching pal Jon Gruden and a cast of thousands on set during SportsCenter, NFL Countdown, and Lord knows how many other shows that will originate from JerryWorld during Super Bowl week. On Super Bowl Sunday, he’ll be paired with the MNF crew of Tirico, Jaws, and Gruden from a studio at Cowboys Stadium. Here’s what Payton had to say about it:
“I’ve never done it. I’ve never really been on the set before,” said Payton, adding that he hasn’t given a whole lot of thought to what to expect. “I’m familiar with Gruden and (Mike) Tirico and those guys. It will be kind of like what Nick Saban and Urban Meyer did (before the BCS national championship game).”
It’s ironic for Payton, a coach that has a notoriously sour relationship with the media, to go this route and turn into a pundit for a week, but obviously having the reigning Super Bowl winning coach is a great move for ESPN. In addition to providing analysis, Payton will also take part in a show during Super Bowl week featuring all the winners of the big game that are ESPN analysts (unfortunately including Trent Dilfer, ick). While Payton usually plays his cards ridiculously close to the vest as a coach, he should be a very good studio analyst because of his coaching smarts and ability to communicate. He wrote a best-selling book this summer and did an excellent job writing MMQB for Peter King a while back. Payton will bring the additional perspective of having won the game last year and making one of the gutsiest calls of all-time in last year’s Super Bowl. At least it should freshen up hours upon hours of ESPN’s week-long coverage… plus he’s got to be more entertaining than Nick Saban. What do you think, will SP make a good TV pundit? Leave us a comment below.