Will Payton be worth the price for Broncos?

by Gary Shelton on February 1, 2023

in general

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

For all the money, for all the draft picks, maybe the Denver Broncos got a bargain.

Maybe this ends in confetti. Maybe he turns around Russell Wilson's slide, and the franchise along with it, and chases down Kansas City and Cincinnati and Buffalo and the rest.

This is the NFL, after all, where turnarounds come around all the time. So maybe Sean Payton turns out to be a high value. If he gets the Broncos to the Super Bowl game, this will be worth it.

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If not, hey, the Broncos gave it a shot.

Certainly, Payton seems worth a flyer for the 29th pick and a second-round pick (for Payton and a third-rounder). He's won a Super Bowl -- a designation that fans adore, as if any other coach lacks the mental faculties to win it. He's been to the playoffs nine times (although critics would point out he's failed eight times).

But Payton is a solid catch, and his New Orleans teams were always strong.

So what could go wrong? Aside form history, that is.

Know this: It is usually doesn't work out. Oh, Don Shula won in two places, and Dan Reeves, and Mike Holgren. Andy Reid is proving he can coach anywhere.

But Jimmy Johnson was a genius in Dallas. In Miami, not so much.

Vince Lombardi, of all people won the Super Bowl twice before the trophy was named after him when he was with the Packers. With Washington, he was 7-5-2.

Tom Flores won two Super Bowls with the Raiders. in three seasons in Seattle, he was 20 games under .500.

Joe Gibbs was a Hall of Fame coach in Washington. But his return wasn't anything to talk about.

George Seifert won two Super Bowls in San Francisco. He had a 1-15 season in Carolina.

Bill Parcells was a Hall of Fame coach in New York and New England. In Dallas? Not so much.

Hank Stram won a huge Super Bowl upset. But he was terrible in two seasons with New Orleans.

Need some local reference?

Lovie Smith reached the Super Bowl in Chicago. In Tampa Bay and Houston, he was awful.

Sam Wyche was on the verge of winning a Super Bowl in Cincinnati. Here, he was Wickey-Wacky.

Jon Gruden won a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay. He wasn't worth the cost of a ticket in Las Vegas.

The reasons are simple. Winning the Super Bowl is hard. It usually includes the right coach at the right time with the right quarterback. It takes skill, luck and good timing.

On the other hand, Denver had no chance yesterday. Today, they are a long shot.

All in all, that's the good thing.

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