Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011
The rumors of Sean Payton leaving the Saints and joining the Cowboys were untrue, according to a statement released Sunday evening. But Payton will be moving his family to Dallas and commuting to work in New Orleans.
"When my wife and I relocated our family from Dallas, we had always dreamed of someday settling there. We feel that now is the best time to do this. It's a decision that I'm sure many families have to confront, and I don't know if there is any one right or wrong decision — just the best one you can make for your own family," Payton said in a statement released by the Saints.
"Sean is our head coach. Like we do with everyone in our organization, we support them when they need to make tough personal decisions. Sean is making a decision in the best interest of his family and he needs our support and he will get it," Saints owner Tom Benson said. "What I do know is that Sean is completely focused on bringing our team back to a championship. We continue to move in that right direction and I look forward to 2011."
ESPN's Ed Werder first reported that the coach will be leaving his home in New Orleans, moving to Dallas and commuting to work daily via private plane. The setup will require approximately 90 minutes of travel time each way for Payton.
The way we see it
There are very few teams and cities as connected as the Saints are with New Orleans, something Payton and his team showed one year ago when they won Super Bowl XLIV. The team means so much to the people there, it is difficult to imagine that, even with the coach's popularity, this will go over well with locals. The decision to move also is going to be questioned heavily by fans and the media, especially if the Saints underperform with the coach traveling three hours on a daily basis.