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Hall-of-Fame HC Makes Bold Claim on Sean Payton Reviving Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson's play in 2023 will be the axis upon which the Denver Broncos' world rotates moving forward.

If Sean Payton were to lead the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl victory, he would become the only head coach in NFL history to win it all with two different teams. There is a precedent in Denver for such lofty canonical goals, as Peyton Manning became the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different teams as the Broncos' quarterback in 2015. 

One legendary coach who came extremely close to winning two Super Bowls with tow teams is Hall-of-Famer Dick Vermeil. Unfortunately for Vermeil, his Philadelphia Eagles lost Super Bowl XV, but he bounced back to win SB XXXIV with the then-St. Louis Rams.

In the early 80s, Vermeil opted to take a sabbatical from the game to preserve his sanity. Similarly, Payton decided to step away from the New Orleans Saints in 2022 to recharge his batteries and re-evaluate his life in general.

Now that Payton is back and fully involved in the high-pressure world of NFL coaching, he appears to be adopting a more relaxed demeanor, as hanging out courtside with Tim Patrick and Russell Wilson on Tuesday night perhaps implies.

Vermeil is now 86 years old, but his sage-like musings on football still resonate loudly with those in the know. When it comes to Payton in particular, Vermeil ranks him as highly as any other offensive mind in the NFL today.

Furthermore, when Vermeil was asked about Payton's chances of turning around the flagging career path of Wilson, the venerated old-timer's outlook was absolute.

"If he can't do it, it can't be done," Vermeil said via Chris Tomasson of The Denver Gazette. "I have tremendous respect for him. To me, he and Andy Reid are the offensive coaches of the decade."

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Vermeil, somewhat inadvertently, also touched upon a point that might shed some light on why Payton ultimately decided that Denver was the best place to chase some NFL history. Seizing the opportunity to pit his wits against Reid affords Payton the rare opportunity to cement his place in NFL history, but to accomplish that, he must vanquish the Kansas City Chiefs.

Not to say that Payton has chosen the easiest of paths to coaching immortality, especially by opting to compete in the super-loaded AFC West, where the Chiefs are the undisputed alpha males. That being said, coaching greats like Payton are always looking for the next challenge to overcome or mountain to conquer.

No matter what Payton assembles by way of a supporting cast, Wilson's play in 2023 will be the axis upon which the Broncos' world rotates moving forward. Faced with Reid’s coaching wizardry and the Chiefs' superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Payton must figure out how to return Wilson to his previous Pro Bowl level, or he can kiss chasing NFL records goodbye — at least in the short term.

No matter how the chips fall, Broncos Country can go into the forthcoming Payton vs. Reid coaching battle royale secure in the knowledge that its guy has plenty in his locker to put up one heck of a fight — just ask coach Vermeil.

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