Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was the hottest head coaching candidate over the last few months, but recently it looked like it wasn’t a given he would return to the sidelines for the 2023 season.
The Denver Broncos showed interest in Payton, but things were quiet for a little while afterward, leading some to think that perhaps they had moved elsewhere in their coaching search.
Broncos reporter Benjamin Allbright revealed that the team had interest in two other big candidates before it went ahead and officially hired Payton on Tuesday.
They went after Harbaugh but he decided to stay at Michigan, Ryans let them know he was going to Houston so they circled back around to Sean Payton.
Basically how it went.
There was no mystery candidate, they did put feelers out for if they needed to expand the search. https://t.co/F2iPPLX6np
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) January 31, 2023
Jim Harbaugh would’ve been a solid hire as well, as he had spent four seasons at the helm of the San Francisco 49ers, and during that time, they made three consecutive trips to the NFC Championship Game and one Super Bowl appearance after missing the playoffs eight straight times right before he took over.
DeMeco Ryans, who has been the Niners’ defensive coordinator for the last two years, has also been a hot candidate across the NFL, but he ended up being hired by the Houston Texans, the team he started his playing career for in 2006.
However, many agree the Broncos got the best coach available.
While with the Saints, Payton helped maximize star quarterback Drew Brees while making them one of the league’s most potent offenses.
Together, Payton and Brees led New Orleans to a Super Bowl championship in 2009 over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.
The Broncos haven’t made the playoffs since 2015, when Manning led them to the world championship, despite having another elite signal-caller this season in Russell Wilson.NEXT: NFL Insider Clears Up Confusion About The Sean Payton Hire