3. Sean Payton was Marshall Faulk's position coach at San Diego State
You may not have already known that Sean Payton got his first coaching gig at San Diego State as an offensive assistant in 1988. You also may not have known that after leaving SDSU in 1989, Payton returned to the Aztecs program in 1992 to be the team's running backs coach. His star student at the time?
None other than NFL Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk. Payton coached Faulk from 1992-93 and Faulk became the second overall pick of the 1994 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. I'm sure that's no coincidence. Of course, Faulk is a legendary talent, but the fact that his path crossed with Sean Payton's just before he jumped to the NFL is pretty incredible.
Faulk was a Heisman finalist in each of his two years with Sean Payton as his position coach, finishing as the runner-up in 1992. The work Payton did with Faulk certainly gained him recognition in the coaching community, and he was named offensive coordinator at Miami (OH) in 1994. That was his first-ever offensive coordinator gig.
The pairing of Faulk and Payton in each of their formative years of playing and coaching simply couldn't be a more perfect historical foundation. Faulk is known as being one of the smartest and most versatile backs in league history, and Payton is obviously known for maximizing offensive talent. Faulk is the definition of maximized offensive talent.
Before Alvin Kamara played an NFL down, Sean Payton compared him to Marshall Faulk. It's often considered the worst form of hyperbole to give players lofty comparisons like that, but I would say that comparison from Payton has really turned out to be quite appropriate in terms of Kamara's abilities as a runner and receiver.