Hands up, everyone: who out there was asking for a Sean Payton biopic?
Fortunately, that’s not what this movie is. Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions’ latest Netflix creation is the movie HOME TEAM, a comedy about Payton’s yearlong Bountygate suspension from the NFL in 2012 that he spent part of being the offensive coordinator for his son’s sixth grade football team. I wonder if the audio from former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in which he encourages the defense before a playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers to “affect the head, early, continue, touch and hit the head,” will be included in the film. The writer’s room for this movie deserves an immediate bonus if they can make that whimsical.
Kevin James will play Payton and the trailer has many of the comedic devices expected from a movie made by Sandler’s company. There’s James telling the actor playing Payton’s son that his teammates are horrible without noticing some of the teammates to his left, a kid ordering pizza during practice, and Rob Schneider giving the whole team food poisoning with an experimental energy bar. Clearly, HOME TEAM won’t be as beholden to the exact timeline and details of the real story as, say, Spike Lee was with Malcolm X.
During Payton’s 2012 suspension, he took a coaching position on his son’s team in a suburban Dallas league, printed up a playbook for them at Kinkos, they went on to beat most of their competition so badly that in many games the scoreboard was turned off. There was one team, however, that Payton’s kids couldn’t overcome, even with some notes from Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, and they finished the season in second place after a championship loss. I am a bit curious as to if the movie will end with a postseason loss like in Coach Carter, or if the staff will take some creative license and give the movie more of an Angels in the Outfield type of ending.
It’s a bit unnerving that what the trailer appears to show is a hagiography of a person who was the leader of a team that circumvented the salary cap by providing compensation to players for attempting to hurt their opposition. The trailer begins with James at his desk as Payton and his assistant lets him know that Roger Goodell is on the phone, but she comically fails at pronouncing his name and has no idea who that man is — sorry to this man.
As long as the HOME TEAM doesn’t minimize brain injury then hey, go for it Happy Madison. Let’s see the warm side of Payton that isn’t demanding Juicy Fruit gum, or helping convince the competition committee to implement that ridiculous pass interference challenge rule for one season after being on the losing end of the worst referee mistake in NFL history.
A Sean Payton comedy! Maybe we’ll get another one about Nick Saban and his deez nuts jokes.