(Editor’s notice: That is excerpted from Mike Sando’s Decide Six of Dec. 18, 2023.)

Sean Payton blasting quarterback Russell Wilson on the sideline, then suggesting he was merely upset about officiating, invited all kinds of hypothesis.

It’s laborious to fault Payton for dropping his cool when officers worn out a Broncos landing with an offensive offside name that appeared indefensible. As one former head coach put it, officers have “lost their minds” trying to find penalties related to Philadelphia’s tush-push performs.

It’s simply obscure why Payton would funnel any of that rage towards his quarterback.


Sean Payton downplays sideline flare up with Russell Wilson

The character of Payton’s relationship with Wilson pale into the background throughout a five-game successful streak fueled by opponent turnovers. With Denver dropping two of its previous three, together with 42-17 at Detroit on Saturday, tensions seem like flaring once more. The topic is fascinating as a result of the Broncos should resolve after the season whether or not to totally assure one other $37 million in Wilson’s contract.

A search by Payton’s in-season media periods turned up a few mildly constructive sentences relating to the quarterback he inherited, however not a lot. It doesn’t essentially imply coach and quarterback are headed for divorce, however Payton appears advantageous letting the general public surprise, a departure from how he handled Drew Brees throughout his New Orleans tenure.

A few of this might merely be an old-school strategy to motivation and management. However the disdain Payton confirmed for Wilson early in the season and once more on the sideline Saturday appeared pointed.

Whereas it’s attainable Wilson instructed Payton ought to have initiated a replay problem or ought to have gone for it on fourth down as an alternative of attempting a area purpose, inviting an indignant response from Payton, two coaches conversant in Wilson’s’ tenure in Seattle provided one other risk. They famous that Wilson modified performs in Seattle to get himself right into a rhythm, and that if he had modified Payton’s performs through the drive in query, the coach may have been delivering a forceful verdict.

“I don’t think Sean is beholden to anyone there,” one other coach mentioned, “so he is going to let everyone know when he’s pissed. He just wasn’t very pissed all the time in New Orleans. They were winning.”

(Picture: RJ Sangosti / MediaNews Group / The Denver Publish by way of Getty Pictures)

“The Football 100,” the definitive rating of the NFL’s finest 100 gamers of all time, is on sale now. Order it here.