New Era begins for the New Orleans Saints

The conclusion to the 2021 NFL season brought the end of an era for the New Orleans Saints, when Sean Payton announced his departure from the franchise after 16 years. Unfortunately, there was no final hurrah for Payton, as his team failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016, although they did finish the regular season campaign with a winning 9-8 record.

Beyond the 22 years Bill Belichick spent as head coach of the New England Patriots, the time Peyton spent with the Saints was the longest pairing of coach and team in the NFL. In the end, according to comments by NFL Insider Tom Pelissero at Sporstcasting, it was a trip to Cabo that brought Payton’s decision to step aside. “He played golf, he drank tequila, he thought about his future, and he came back, and he just thought, “I need a break.” Said Pelissero.

Given everything that has happened around the Big Easy over the last year or so, the stresses of another hurricane and a global pandemic were just part of the added pressure, as Payton also had professional tribulations to deal with at the Saints. Last season was the first without Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, clearly noted by the team posting one of the worst offensive records in the league.

In the mind of Payton, it was time to take a break and move on. But while there will have been the temptation for the Saints franchise to make a big coaching move, they decided to promote from within. After so much time under one head coach, it probably made sense to seek some kind of continuity, which ultimately led to the New Orleans Saints promoting Dennis Allen to the top job. In many respects, this guy has certainly served his time and earned the opportunity.

Allen began his coaching career at Texas A&M as graduate assistant from 1996 to 1999, before assuming the secondary coach role with Tulsa between 2000 and 2001. That experience in college football provided the platform to work in the NFL, appointed as defensive quality control coordinator at the Atlanta Falcons from 2002 to 2003, before being promoted to defensive assistant for the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

In 2006 when Payton took the helm as head coach of the Saints, he also shook up the entire coaching team, bringing in a variety of new staff including Allen as assistant defensive line coach until 2007. Allen then stepped into the role of becoming secondary coach to Payton, as part of a key structure that guided the Saints towards winning Super Bowl XLIV in 2009, before taking the defensive coordinator job at the Denver Broncos in 2011.

Oakland Raiders offered Allen their head coaching position in 2012, although he seemed to be doomed from the start at a hugely underperforming franchise. During his tenure at the Raiders, they went 4-12 during the 2012 campaign, then repeated that 4-12 losing record in 2013.

After losing the opening 4 games of the 2014 regular season, Allen was inevitably fired by the Raiders. After that solitary and unsuccessful head coaching experience, Allen opted for a return to familiar territory, rejoining the Saints once again and working alongside Payton initially as the senior defensive assistant, then acting as defensive coordinator from 2015 until the end of the 2021 campaign. Given his lengthy experience over two stints in various roles at the franchise, along with retaining the same backroom staff, the Saints appear to be seeking a steady hand and stability.

Fans will inevitably be hoping for more than just continuity heading into the 2022 NFL season, especially after missing out on the playoffs last year. That will always be the minimum objective, although the appointment of Allen also hints at what might could be a transition period, as the franchise looks to rebuild. This could make for an interesting 2022 NFL Draft and period of trading for the Saints.

Ahead of the new season starting next September, the earliest odds for the 2022 campaign are hardly favorable for the New Orleans Saints. Many of the leading sportsbooks are pricing the team as middle-of-the-road at best, outside those they consider to be the top twenty teams. But if you’re thinking of backing the Saints, it obviously makes good sense to compare those odds, checking the latest sports betting online reviews and site ratings at SBO.

The betting experts at SBO cover everything that NFL fans need to know, when seeking out the best wagering options available, such as which sites offer the broadest range of markets, along with locating where the most appealing promotions can be found. But while pondering over whether to back the Saints for success this year, don’t forget to bet responsibly and keep it fun, hopeful that our football team will also keep us entertained in 2022.

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