Sean Payton gave his first interview as the head coach of the Denver Broncos on Friday, with a clear focus on building a winning culture.
The Broncos are coming off a disappointing 5-12 season after a tumultuous campaign under first-time head coach Nathaniel Hackett.
They’re hopeful Payton can turn things around quickly, as he’s never been worse than 7-9 during his 15 years as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, with an overall record of 152-89.
He finished his tenure in New Orleans with five straight winning seasons, and after a year off, Payton said he feels “recharged and challenged again.”
“It’s certainly exciting,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge, the tradition here is incredible.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but our plan is to win, and that really started today. We’re in the middle of hiring – the process was outstanding…it’s exciting, it’s what I love to do.”
“I think we were lucky enough for a long period of time to [have a winning culture] in New Orleans, and I think it starts with the details, it really starts with the people.
“It is about finding not only the coaches, but all the people involved in this process so that they are successful. It’s really an organizational goal.
“We’re planning to win, but then ‘this is how’. That involves a lot of details, and it involves a lot of hard work, and that’s the exciting part.”
“When you do this long enough, and suddenly you’re gone for a year, it’s not like you start all over again, you actually start all over again.
“I’m on the fat board with the names of the coaches, and you’re setting up interviews, it can be overwhelming, but I certainly feel recharged and challenged again.”
In a statement, Broncos owner and CEO Greg Penner said he appreciates the rare opportunity to hire such a highly decorated head coach.
The statement read: “Sean Payton is an outstanding leader and Super Bowl champion with a brilliant offensive mind. He shares our commitment to winning championships for Broncos Country and we are excited to welcome him as our new head coach.”
“It is rare in any sport to hire a head coach with Sean’s credentials and we appreciate the first-class manner in which the Saints approached this process. We also appreciate the opportunity to meet and learn from other highly-qualified, outstanding coaches we interviewed.
“Our goal was to identify a strong leader for the Denver Broncos who is focused on winning, and we found him in Coach Payton.”
Payton will be tasked with getting production out of franchise quarterback Russell Wilson, who struggled through the worst season of his career after being acquired in a successful trade from the Seattle Seahawks.