NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - I liked a lot of things about the Saints' big win against the Lions on Sunday.
Drew Brees and the offense finally looked like themselves again. The defense, meanwhile, overcame a shaky start to dominate during the decisive middle quarters. And the game plans were creative on both sides of the ball.
This was easily the Saints' best all-around performance of the season.
But the thing that impressed me most … was the mindset that Sean Payton instilled in his team. He refused to play the victim card or allow his troops to feel sorry for themselves in any way. And with six starters out … and a restless night spent dealing with a Covid-19 scare, it would have been easy to do both.
But Payton didn’t make excuses. And he didn’t allow any of his players or coaches to do so, either. Instead, he steeled them for the challenge ahead and prepared them mentally to handle the adversity.
When the Lions roared to a 14-0 early lead, the Saints didn’t blink. And they never panicked.
This tough love mentality is something Payton learned from his coaching mentor Bill Parcells. No one wants to hear about the labor pains, Parcells once told him. Just show me the baby.
It was sage advice, a lesson that has served Payton well over the years. The NFL is a results-oriented business. Every team in the league is dealing with its own injuries and adversity.
To succeed in this extraordinary NFL season, teams are going to have to be as tough mentally as they are physically. And on Sunday, the Saints were both -- thanks to Payton’s shrewd leadership.
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