If there is one thing you can count on after a game in the Sean Payton era, it is that win or lose, the head coach will not let anyone - not press nor players nor fans - get overly confident about winning the game.
And that’s a good thing.
He encourages the celebrations right after the win, even continued his famous “Club Dub” locker room dance party because “winning feels good.”
But man, if there’s a coach who is ready to nitpick following a victory, it’s Sean Payton.
Still a good thing.
Asked how to keep his team focused after the four-game win streak, Payton was unapologetically critical.
“If you watch this tape I’m watching, there’ll be plenty of time to get focused because it’s not really good,” he said. “Like I said, the turnovers put us in the game. They ran the ball better than us, they were better than us on third down, better than us in the red zone and in most areas. Better than us in the kicking game.”
He’s just new here. He might not really understand why 5-5 feels like 10-0 right now. Heck, we barely understand it. But multiple losing seasons in a row will create over-the-top giddyness for something considered not all that remarkable just a few years ago.
It’s been seven years since this team could have its dance party four weeks in a row, and more importantly, seven years since this team believed in their wins.
Until Sunday night.
Beating the Vikings marked three wins in a row against teams atop their conferences and all considered contenders for a deep postseason push.
Those were big wins and came from believing as individuals and as a team that they could be good enough to do it.
This comes from a coach who won’t let his players get too high - or too low - from their play.
Even more than getting the team back to .500, Payton deserves credit for keeping the locker room from derailing at 1-5.
It wasn’t even rocket science. It was just a relentless focus on working - which created a relentless belief in themselves.
Russell Wilson used that phrase Sunday night after the win, and from him it will always sound corny.
But man if he wasn’t spot on with “relentless belief” really being the catalyst for the turnaround.
Stacking wins builds confidence. And confidence stacks wins.
Payton was asked whether Russell Wilson’s history of comeback wins helped on Sunday night.
But so did beating the Bears, the Packers, the Chiefs and the Bills this season.
“There’s a clear belief that it can happen again,” Payton said. “I think it’s one of those things that can build confidence and momentum. Fortunately, for two weeks in a row now, it’s come up and been very important for us.”
This Broncos team is far from dominant, but it has finally divorced itself from a loser’s mentality.
Looking at the remaining games on the schedule, it’s not likely but also not impossible to win them all and have a lot more dance parties.
And that’s a really good thing.