'Our plan is to win' – Broncos HC Sean Payton excited for new challenge
Sean Payton gave his first interview as head coach of the Denver Broncos on Friday, with the focus clearly on building a winning culture.
The Broncos are coming off a disappointing 5-12 season after a tumultuous campaign with first-time head coach Nathaniel Hackett.
They are hopeful Payton will be able to turn things around in a hurry, since he never went worse than 7-9 during his 15-year run as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, with an overall record of 152-89.
He finished his tenure in New Orleans with five consecutive 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 amazing.
"It's going to take a lot of hard work, but our plan is to win, and that's really begun today. We're in the midst of hiring staff – the process was outstanding… it's exciting, it's what I love to do.
"I think we were fortunate enough for a long period of time to [have a winning culture] in New Orleans, and I think it begins with the details – it really begins with the people.
"It's about finding not only the coaches, but all the people involved in this process to be successful. It's really an organisational goal.
"We're planning to win, but then 'here's how'. That involves a lot of details, and it involves a lot of hard work, and that's the exciting part about it.
"When you do this long enough, and all of a sudden you're away for a year, it's not like you jump straight back into it again, you actually start over again from the beginning.
"I'm on the grease board with coach's names up, and you're organising interviews, it can feel 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 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're 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 appreciated 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 with the worst season of his career after being acquired in a blockbuster trade from the Seattle Seahawks.