Football coaches have tried a lot of motivational techniques over the years. Tony Sparano dug a hole and buried a football. Jay Norvell wore a blue shirt. Jon Gruden sends players who play well to good teams. Jack Del Rio did whatever he did that resulted in his punter suffering an ax wound. Most of these are very dumb.
But I actually like what Saints head coach Sean Payton tried this week, because it really has something for everyone. As first reported by Jon DeTrinis, Payton set up a display in the locker room featuring a Lombardi Trophy (or at least the smaller replica that he personally received in 2010), a Super Bowl ring, and a whole bunch of cash. If the money isn’t a motivator, maybe the glory will be...or vice versa.
(It’s unclear how much cash there was. DeTrinis said it was $225,000, though RB Mark Ingram referred to it as $250,000. Either way, each Saints player will earn exactly $201,000 in bonuses if they win each of their remaining three games. As for why it was displayed in singles? It’s bigger, duh.)
“I told ‘em I want my presentation to look just like that. I want ‘em to come to my house. Lombardi, the glass box of cash, my ring, all that ... armed guards. I want that same presentation. I don’t want no direct deposits coming from the playoffs. I want all my cash coming to the crib looking just like they had it the other day. That was nice.”
Payton’s actually pulled this exact move before, and it worked that time—or at least it didn’t hurt. I have no idea if it actually works, or if any motivational tactic can really work, because presumably the Eagles and Rams and the eventual AFC champs also would like to win the Super Bowl this year.