Over the weekend, New Orleans head coach Sean Payton was interviewed by NFL Network about the Saints‘ offseason moves and prospects going into the 2018 season. It should have been an easy interview ⏤ nobody’s grilling coaches weeks before training camp even starts. But when the show’s host invited Payton’s daughter Meghan, an intern at the network, out to talk about her old man and ask a question, things got decidedly tougher. Instead of lobbing him a softball, she posed a hard-hitting question about the Saints’ loss to the Vikings in last year’s playoffs.
“I want to go back to Minnesota,” Meghan said before launching into the question, “there’s way more than one play that changes the game, but if you could, what would you do differently in that game?”
For those that don’t remember, the Saints held a 24-23 lead over the Minnesota Vikings with 10 seconds to go. The game seemed all but over yet the Vikings pulled off a miracle when wide receiver Stefon Diggs scored the go-ahead touchdown with a long reception down the sideline as time expired, devastating the Saints.
Payton seemed a bit thrown off to hear such a difficult question come from his own flesh and blood, as he noted that he was enjoying his vacation in Lake Tahoe before being reminded him of the worst loss of his career. To Payton’s credit, he gave a completely honest answer, noting that he believes that Diggs’ miracle touchdown would never have happened if they had been able to convert a crucial third down that would have let the Saints kick the go-ahead field goal as time expired.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) July 15, 2018
“We weren’t able to convert that third-and-1,” Payton added. “We kicked a field goal with 20-some seconds left in the game. Had we been able to just get the one yard, we would have easily been able to run the clock down to 3 seconds and hopefully kick the field goal and not give the Vikings another possession. So I would say that would be a play I beat myself up over, or we think about a lot and that mattered in that game a lot.”