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Sean Payton is one of the NFL’s best head coaches and here is the data to prove it

Few NFL head coaches since 2009 have led their teams to more wins over their expected win rate than Sean Payton.

New Orleans Saints v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

With the Denver Broncos reportedly finalizing their trade agreement with the New Orleans Saints to acquire the rights to Sean Payton, they have finally gotten their head coach. Soon after the news broke, Tej Seth on Twitter shared an interesting chart from a story he wrote in 2020 about wins over expected coaching from 2009-2020. His findings show why Sean Payton was highly sought after by the Broncos this hiring cycle.

The expected wins analysis is adjusted for roster talent. Payton ranked third on that list behind Bill Belichick and Andy Reid and just ahead of the John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin. All five of these head coaches could arguably be considered for the Hall of Fame post-retirement.

However, Payton also had Drew Brees throughout that entire span and he’ll be entering a Broncos’ franchise in somewhat disarray. They are locked into a long contract with Russell Wilson who has much to prove heading into next season and you have a team culture that seems to expect to lose games. He’ll need to turn things around from top to bottom.

The worse record a Payton-led team has had is 7-9 and it seems like Payton went through cycles of roster building where they’d have a championship-caliber team for four years and then go through a roster rebuild over the next 2-3 years. If he can produce this kind of sustained success in Denver, then it was worth the compensation sent to the New Orleans Saints.