Could the Big Tuna be heading to the Big Easy? Maybe.
With just days to go before he’s suspended for a year from coaching the Saints, Sean Payton has approached a coaching legend about filling in for him: Bill Parcells.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that Payton approached Parcells about being the interim head coach of the Saints for the 2012 season, in a move that would give the Saints a proven, Super Bowl-winning coach to lead them this year — but also a move that would bring in an outsider, and a coach who has said he’s burned out and doesn’t want to return to the sidelines.
It’s also a move that would force the Saints to interview a minority coach to comply with the Rooney Rule: The Saints won’t be required to interview a minority if they stay within the organization, but they will be required to interview a minority if they go outside the organization.
Ultimately Saints owner Tom Benson would be the one with final say about who the coach is in New Orleans, but he may have asked Payton to help determine who will have the job during his absence. Prior to the report about Parcells coming out, the Saints were expected to stay in-house with offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr., offensive line coach Aaron Kromer or defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
But if the Saints believe they need a proven Super Bowl-winning head coach, the Big Tuna may be headed to the Big Easy.