Obviously he’s going to have a lot more to say about the 2021 New Orleans Saints season after taking some time to review the tape, but Saints coach Sean Payton shared his initial reaction to his team being eliminated from playoff contention following their win over the Atlanta Falcons.
“It is what it is, obviously you’re disappointed,” Payton said in his opening statement, continuing: “You play to get in the postseason and our players feel the same way.”
The Saints were so, so close. They needed the Los Angeles Rams to handle their business with the San Francisco 49ers to qualify; instead, the Rams choked on a 17-point lead and ended the game with a Matthew Stafford interception in overtime.
So, yeah, as Payton said — it’s disappointing. But his team fought hard, all the way through the end, and they’ve got a lot to be proud of. Their Hall of Fame-bound quarterback retired. They had to shed $101 million of talent and depth from their depth chart due to unprecedented salary cap upheaval. Injuries, COVID-19 outbreaks, and suspensions hit their depth chart as the year continued. It’s enough to make lesser teams fold. They didn’t.