Sean Payton carried a little extra motivation with him into Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams. If you didn’t know that at kickoff, you realized it when the New Orleans Saints coach ran a trick play for a touchdown that opened up a 49-21 lead in the fourth quarter.
Still not enough to convince you? Perhaps the cryptic tweet Payton sent following the game that featured the song “Circle of Life” will seal the deal.
— Sean Payton (@SeanPayton) November 28, 2016
As you may know, Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams held the same job title under Payton from 2009 through 2011. Williams was found to be the man in charge of putting bounties on opposing players, and the scandal that became known as “BountyGate” resulted in Payton being suspended for the entire 2012 season.
Saints players knew Sunday’s game meant a little more to their coach.
“It does, it means something. There’s more there. So, good for Coach,” offensive lineman Zack Strief said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. “I didn’t see anything out of him, necessarily. I just know better. The message all week was, ‘Our back’s against the wall. … There’s no room for error.’ At no point did he ever say or act differently that I could see. But I’ll be honest for him and say there’s no way [it didn’t matter].”
“[Payton] was fired up,” safety Kenny Vaccaro added. “We all know why.”
Payton was never really caught red-handed with BountyGate, whereas disturbing audio clips like this one clearly implicated Williams. If Payton had as little knowledge of the bounty system as he claims he did, you can understand why he was out for revenge.