New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton held a press conference Wednesday afternoon in which he more or less said he is not leaving the Saints. There is always wiggle room, but for now, he said he did not envision himself with any other club. Given how long it took to get to this point over the past few months, it is easy to be skeptical that things are particularly peachy right now in The Big Easy.
The news that Payton is sticking around for now followed word on Monday that Chuck Pagano received a contract extension from the Indianapolis Colts. Over the weekend, there were numerous rumors that Pagano was on the way out. He and general manager Ryan Grigson were rumored to have serious issues with each other, but it appears Jim Irsay got them on the same page for now.
I would bet good money that both situations come crumbling down before either coach finishes out his contract, but for now, all parties involved are attempting to make nice. This is something that did not happen in the close of Jim Harbaugh's career with the San Francisco 49ers. I bring this up because of this tweet from an MMQB writer earlier this afternoon:
What Colts, Saints have done this week is what 49ers should have done last year: If you feel you have difference-making coach, make it work.— Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas) January 6, 2016
In his press conference earlier this week, 49ers CEO Jed York was asked if it was a mistake to "part" with Jim Harbaugh and an additional mistake to promote Jim Tomsula into the head coach position. York had this to say:
Jim Harbaugh is a good football coach. His success at Michigan doesn't surprise me at all. We need to make sure that we look forward to the next head coach. In terms of Jimmy T, we took a chance on somebody that we believe strongly in, certainly his character, his leadership ability, what he was able to do. And ultimately that didn't work out. And I feel like watching what my uncle did, watching what my grandfather did, you have to learn from mistakes. You have to learn from failure. And we didn't get this one right and we need to make sure that we get the next one right and we need to make sure that we learn from this season.
Later in the press conference, York was asked if the team's 2015 issues were with the roster more than the coaching. The person asked why Trent Baalke would remain in charge if the roster was part of the issue. York replied that he had seen Trent Baalke build a championship-caliber roster, and he has confidence he can do it again.
People will make what they want of it, but socalisteph previously talked about the front office's notion of "good" head coach vs. a "great" head coach. Jim Harbaugh came up short in getting the team a Lombardi Trophy, and there are some who believe that means he is not a "great" head coach. I could be reading too much into York's Monday comments, but it feels like he is further emphasizing that point: Harbaugh is good, but he had a championship-caliber roster and couldn't get the job done.
And that's why they did not "make it work" and get through the headaches they brought upon each other. I see it as they viewed Harbaugh as a good coach, but not "great" enough to make it worth the headaches he caused. Of course, when things blow up in Indianapolis and New Orleans, as seems inevitable, I suppose they can laugh and point saying, "See!!!!"