Driven to Succeed: Sean Payton

An Inspiring Journey

Sean Payton, head coach of the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints and author of the new book Home Team: Coaching the Saints and New Orleans Back to Life, joins Dr. Phil onstage. He explains his motivation behind writing the book. "I think the biggest thing for us was taking it post-Katrina, like you mentioned, and really where we were as a team, as an organization, all of us, and the sacrifices that so many people in this journey have made," he says. "Then taking it from 2006 all the way through what you just saw happen this past winter, it's something that helps us for our fans, and it helps us for those who work for the Saints, remind us of the journey and how much work still needs to be done. I think anything that we can do to bring light or attention to that region still is important."


"It did give such hope and put that city back on the map for something besides the disaster, because New Orleans had been known for so long for its wonderful people, its music, its food, the whole culture there," Dr. Phil says. "You say you've got three things that you expect from your players, and that's a key for you, value-wise. Talk about that a little bit."

"When we set out to really establish our mission statement and change a culture, there's a lot that goes into that, and the steps we're really trying to identify what we're looking for in individuals, be it players or people we were going to work with," Coach Payton says. "We valued the character, the toughness of the individual, mentally and physically, and the intelligence. I think you have to pay close attention, specifically to your own competition, and we do that all the time."


[AD]Dr. Phil points out that when Coach Payton joined the Saints, it was almost as if the team gave him permission not to succeed because of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, but he pushed forward.


"It became kind of like our little charge as a group, coaches, Mickey, all of us, that we weren't going to allow that to be the excuse," Coach Payton says.  

"You and I have worked together in New Orleans and the parishes around there with some of the kids programs, and I have really started to see, over the last couple years, the fight come back, the hope come back," Dr. Phil says. "You said in the first game, when the Saints beat the Falcons, that people walked out of there with a glimmer of, 'Hey, wait a minute. This could happen. We could have something here.' It meant something more than football to them."


"I think all of our players do such a good job in the community, the whole organization," Coach Payton says. "This became bigger than just winning the Super Bowl. The ties that our team has with this city, which is really the essence of the book Home Team, it's hard to describe. It became something that moved us all, motivated us all much more than just winning and losing, and that unique bond is amazing."


[AD]Coach Payton continues, "If there's one thing that all of us are most proud of, that started this four years ago, is who we have now in the locker room, and our representatives who are amongst the people. New Orleans and that surrounding area is a very small region where the players are really out amongst everyone, and from Drew Brees to Will Smith, Jon Vilma, Jeremy Shockey, I could go through them all. They're all actively involved on a daily basis, and they're our greatest ambassadors."


"No doubt about it," Dr. Phil says. "We clearly have a winner here. I mean, talk about overcoming adversity. It's hard enough to win the Super Bowl if everything's working, but to overcome the adversity that you guys had to overcome is amazing."