POSTED: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 11:00pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 3:55pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — The most successful coach in the history of the Saints is back with the team after a season long suspension that banned him from contact with organization. Tuesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reinstated head coach Sean Payton. The Who Dat Nation welcomes him back with open arms.
Many fans and media personalities predicted the team to be okay without Payton in 2012. That certainly wasn’t the case.
“If we would have ran this play versus this other play we might have won the game, but he wasn't there and it affected us,” said Saints fan Channing Robertson.
“Drew Brees can only do so much,” added another fan, Anthony Charles.
The Saints finished with their worst record since the 2007 season. They went 7-9. Now that Payton is back he can get to his to-do list. Since his suspension two of his assistant coaches have left for other opportunities. The Black and Gold defense needs a quick repair after finishing the season as the worst in the NFL.
“He’s got nine months or eight months or whatever it has been. He’ll have a lot of notes,” general manager Mickey Loomis joked.
The list is long and will take some time to knock out. For now it’s positive momentum heading into the offseason. It will be an offseason that should be much more normal than the one before.
“The fact that it was early is great we can put 2012 behind us and look forward to 2013. This will be a good start,” said Loomis.
"It’s the way to start the 2013 season off, having our leader back and I can’t wait to be able to talk to him,” added Curtis Lofton.
Fans are already thinking positive for what the future may hold. “I know we are going to the playoffs and I know that we are going to the Super Bowl,” Robertson predicted with a smile.
Payton is expected to address the media Thursday in Mobile at the Senior Bowl practices.
The Saints will still be without their second round draft pick in the 2013 NFL draft. Goodell took it away as part of the punishment for the bounty investigation.