By now we all know Sean Payton is gone, done, finished, toast.
The NFL won't let him coach this season, and everyone else is bailing on him. His mentor doesn't want the job. His assistant head coach, Joe Vitt, would be a great candidate if he weren't also suspended for the first six games of the year.
Pete Carmichael and Steve Spagnuolo could do it but seem more at ease simply calling the offensive and defensive schemes. And Aaron Cromer could be a great fit, if the offensive line weren't already the most difficult position in the entire sport to coach.
With that in mind, I nominate a candidate no one is talking about: myself.
Before you rip my head off and say this is some stupid satire or just plain dumb, let me explain.
I have four years of coaching experience. I've called offensive plays. I wrote Xs and Os columns for approximately three of my four years writing on this site. I know the Saints' offensive and defensive schemes inside and out.
Like Sean Payton, I went through and completed the communication major at San Diego State University (though his coursework was at the graduate level), one of the finest schools in the entire country for that particular discipline.
Heck, I even spent a spring filming SDSU football practices and have extensive experience in the video department. Finally, I completed the Sports Management Worldwide Football GM and Scouting Course in March 2008.
I need a job, the Saints have a job opening. We're a perfect fit.
Dear Mr. Tom Benson,
I plan on being in New Orleans this Saturday, April 14. If you want to keep the hiring process under wraps that's perfect since I am planning on spending the early morning somewhere I don't even know. I don't have a hotel room or a place to go. That would be a perfect time to conduct our interview.
I hope this works out. I'd really love the experience and believe I am the best option for the coveted position.
Back to reality
In case you didn't buy that, here's my real candidate for the position: Jon Gruden.
I know Gruden recently signed a lucrative extension to stay with ESPN and sling it along with Mike Tirico, but I'm sure he never thought for a moment the Saints' position would open up.
Additionally, Gruden knows the NFC South extremely well, having coached in it from 2002 to 2008 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He, of course, rode the coattails of Tony Dungy when he engineered them to a Super Bowl title in his first season on the job. It all went downhill from there.
As I said, though, Gruden has a similar football philosophy to Payton and a great relationship with the Saints' leader. In his Monday Night Football post, Gruden has been granted unheard-of access to the Saints football operations and would undoubtedly be comfortable with everything going on in New Orleans, football-wise.
He's proved he can ride the coattails and produce a Super Bowl victory. And he did that with Brad Johnson. Imagine what he could do with Drew Brees.
His personality fits well, if not outstandingly. Gruden's personality would inspire Drew Brees and the rest of this particular group of guys. The visor-wearing, profanity-laced motivator is just what the Saints need in this oddity of seasons. He's available, he fits well and ESPN can replace him quite easily.
Plus, the Saints wouldn't have to go through the post-Super Bowl struggles the Bucs did since Gruden would be gone after the year. He could go back to television if he so chooses or curtail his success in the Big Easy to a Mega Millions lottery-type salary for some desperate franchise in 2013 or later.
He'd forever be revered in New Orleans and Tampa Bay (since the Bucs will probably never going to win a Super Bowl again). And if he fails, he's no worse for trying. He'd get paid quite handsomely, one would imagine. And it's not his fault if he fails, since everyone thinks the Saints are screwed anyway.
It's a win-win for Gruden. Of course, Gruden ain't stupid. He knows life is better outside the coaching arena. Sean Payton will probably find that out over the next year. Saints fans have to hope he doesn't end up replacing Gruden full time on Monday Night Football.
That would be even more incomprehensible than Tom Benson giving me a call for an interview, wouldn't it?