NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -
Given Saints owner Gayle Benson's connection to horse racing and her stable GMB Racing's success in reaching the sport's biggest race, it's only fitting that head coach Sean Payton compared holding the number one seed in the NFC to the Kentucky Derby.
"There are certain spots you want to start at the Derby," says Payton. "There are some spots that no one's ever won from at the Derby. But then there are some spots that are more favorable, and I think seeding is probably similar."
The last five Super Bowl champions have been number one seeds in either the NFC or AFC. So indeed, it's a significant advantage when reaching the big game. While the Saints would be confident playing anywhere and are a proven road team as well, 7-1 away from the dome this year in the regular season, playing in the Superdome plays a big factor.
"It's not the absolute, and certainly, we've seen teams win from a lot of different spots, fifth seed, four seed," says Payton. "For us, our focus is taking advantage of playing another game at home, taking advantage of crowd noise, and trying to put our best foot forward and trying to play better than yesterday and clean up some of the mistakes."
That will be key against a Rams team with a much more potent offense than Philadelphia. A faster start in Sunday’s NFC Championship game would go a long way for the Saints.