In the New Orleans Saints’ indoor practice facility, plastered on the wall above the field is an enormous poster of coach Sean Payton, who has been suspended for the year for his role in alleged bounty program the Saints employed under his leadership.
The photo is an action shot of Payton, in headset, glaring out toward the field. Under the photo reads the caption: “DO YOUR JOB.”
“That was Dallas Clark’s third-quarter catch in the Super Bowl, and (Payton was) looking at me,” assistant head coach Joe Vitt said when asked to describe Payton’s look. “Every player on our team has gotten that look.”
Payton is not allowed to have any contact with the team as part of his punishment for what the league says was a three-year bounty program. The huge poster gives Payton at least a presence within the team and it delivers a message that is straightforward as it gets.
Additionally, Payton’s picture and biography remain near the front of the media guide, and the official training camp roster contains his name as head coach. So, while he might not be able to attend practices or games or participate in the game-planning, he at least serves as a constant reminder that, despite all the questions and suspension involving the bounty program case, Payton is still with the team in some way.
Vitt said putting the photo of Payton in the indoor practice facility was the idea of Saints owner Tom Benson.
“Do your job” Vitt said, are the words Payton left with him as he began his suspension.
Vitt said all the players noticed the photo and had a similar reaction. They all had seen that look on Payton’s face before — more than once.
“Every one of them (thought), same as me: ‘He’s looking at me and talking to me,’ ” Vitt said.