How Sean Payton will fix the Denver Broncos

After the complete failure between head coach Nathaniel Hackett and the Denver Broncos, fans rejoiced when Super Bowl-winning head coach Sean Payton took his place. Sean Payton made his mark in the league by leading the New Orleans Saints to their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Does Sean Payton have what it takes to get the Broncos to the playoffs after an eight-year drought? Can his possible success in Denver solidify his HOF status?

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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The Mile "Highs"

Sean Payton became the New Orleans Saints head coach in 2006. His arrival in New Orleans was reminiscent of his arrival in Denver. The New Orleans Saints grappled with a challenging regular season record in 2005. They had won just three games, signifying that a change was desperately needed. Similarly, the Broncos were in a less than favorable position when Payton was hired, having only five wins and again placing fourth in the AFC West. Sean Payton managed to get straight to work in New Orleans, winning his first Super Bowl within his first four years as head coach. Luckily for Denver, Sean Payton's contract has him with the team for five years. 

Getting A Quarterback

In addition to the coaching rebuild, the Saints were looking for their franchise quarterback. Aaron Brooks had managed a great season with the Saints in 2000. Unfortunately, the success did not trickle into the following seasons. By 2005, New Orleans had suffered from Hurricane Katrina, and the Saints' record was the least of the city's concerns.

The Saints made a groundbreaking deal with free agent Drew Brees. The new quarterback seemed to fit perfectly with Sean Payton, as the Saints got to a winning record and finished at the top of the NFC South in their first season together. The next two seasons were questionable, but ultimately, the Saints beat the Colts in Superbowl XLIV (2010).

Drew Brees, Sean Payton
New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

While Sean Payton was in New Orleans, the Denver Broncos were comfortable in their division. From 2006 to 2009, the Broncos had gone second in the AFC West. With a rough season in 2010 followed by a close race that left them finishing on top of the AFC West in 2011. in 2012, the Broncos signed arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Payton Manning. Following the signing; the Broncos went on to make two Super Bowl appearances and win one. The legacy of the "no-fly zone" and Denver's incredible offense resonates in the hearts of fans. 

While the Manning era had several heartbreaks, it can undoubtedly go down as the Broncos' best era of football so far.

Peyton Manning
Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

The extreme Lows

Following Super Bowl 50, the Broncos went on a hiatus from the playoffs and couldn't find their new franchise quarterback. Even after the blockbuster trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver, success has been minimal.

Considering the abysmal Hackett season, Sean Payton's first season in Denver was fair. But, even with a new head coach, there are still components of the team that need modifications and rebuilds.The Broncos suffered the worst loss in franchise history, got swept by the Las Vegas Raiders, and started the season in a very undesirable spot. Thankfully, the five-game win streak put a small band-aid on the wounds from weeks one through six. The Broncos were also able to break their 16-game losing streak with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Sean Payton and a Culture of Winning

Sean Payton has made it his priority to fix the problems in Denver. Russell Wilson's departure from Denver leaves the quarterback position wide open. Sean Payton has expressed great interest in ensuring that the new quarterback progresses steadily and potentially gets Denver to a fourth Super Bowl. With the draft and free agency kicking off soon, the Broncos have to go all in and start piecing together a newer, stronger, and tougher team, and it all begins with Sean Payton.

Sean Payton made a remarkable turnaround in New Orleans despite the adversity. He must have great success in Denver to help mold his tainted legacy. While in New Orleans, Payton also struggled with the media tearing him down due to his role in Bounty Gate. Even though he was suspended and fined, the damage still has lasting effects. While it is easy to chalk it up to paranoia, the missed pass interference call in the 2018 NFC championship solidifies that the league might still hold bad blood against Payton.


Sean Payton's offensive style has fared well in his time with the Saints. He styles his play calling around his quarterback, which may be one of the reasons why his marriage with Wilson did not work out. Payton no doubt needs a quarterback that will fit his scheme. Sean Payton can turn the Broncos offense into a well-powered, passing-oriented team. The Saints were among the top 10 offenses in the league for years, and much of the credit should go to Sean Payton. While the Broncos do need some significant changes and need to cut dead weight- it all starts with who Sean Payton has throwing the football.

Sean Payton might have his share of controversy, but he has undoubtedly etched his name into NFL history. He has time to fix the Broncos and have them competing at the highest level again. With the AFC West getting more robust and a new generation of players entering the league, it is a do-or-die situation for the Broncos.

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All eyes are on Sean Payton as he continues his quest for success with the Denver Broncos.