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Payton and Brees

The Men Who Built the Greatest Offense in NFL History

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In 2006, Sean Payton arrived in New Orleans as a relatively unknown first time NFL head coach. His task was daunting: resurrect a Saints team that had just finished 3–13 and had won only one playoff game in the previous four decades.

Meanwhile, the city was undergoing its own staggering rebuild following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina five months earlier. Payton knew that to turn around the Saints’ fortunes, he needed to turn around their dreadful quarterback legacy. The Saints targeted a San Diego Chargers castoff they hoped would become the new face of their franchise: Drew Brees.

Every team in the NFL had passed on Brees at least once because of his surgically repaired right shoulder or his lack of prototypical size. But for the Saints, Brees was worth the risk. Together, these two underdogs rolled up their sleeves and got to work, helping rebuild the city as they transformed the franchise from laughingstock to Super Bowl Champions.

What they have done since, including building the most productive offense the NFL has ever seen and setting multiple passing and scoring records, has only deepened their legacy in New Orleans and throughout the league.

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