Saints Gamesmanship created the Taysom Hill Buzz

Kyle T. Mosley

The New Orleans Saints are masterful for creating exciting plays and dramatic finishes over the years. Through all of the dramatic flare, the Saints fans are clamoring for another Super Bowl Championship. They want another “Party with the Lombardi.” However, the latest developments with the Saints quarterback situation have the Who Dat Nation very concerned. 

Drew Brees is pondering retirement. Teddy Bridgewater is an unrestricted free agent. Now, Taysom Hill (restricted free agent) believes he is worth franchise quarterback consideration. The team has 27 free agents and may battle a holdout from a star player requesting a well-deserved contract extension. There are many personnel moves Mickey Loomis, and the Saints will juggle the next few months. The major goal for New Orleans is to decide on the leadership at quarterback. 

The direction of the team is in question. Drew Brees has had 14 seasons as the leader in New Orleans. Aside from his many historical performances as the Saints’ unquestioned leader, the team has captured only one Super Bowl title. Brees is a beloved figure in the Crescent City.  The last decade has been a study on lost opportunities for the Saints. 

We cannot blame Brees for the team’s recent playoff failures. Although his heroics in New Orleans are legendary, can it be time for new leadership? Will we have a new hero and a new era of Saints football? Will Saints fans continue their vigil? Will they wait another season supporting Brees as he and the team battle the other 31 NFL franchises for the Super Bowl 55 title? 

At the moment, Drew Brees is the best option for the Saints at quarterback. Yet, Taysom Hill and Teddy Bridgewater are the two well-suited candidates for the job. Due to well-orchestrated interviews, the buzz centers on Taysom Hill. 

Hill believes and wants to become a franchise quarterback in the NFL. Hill has confidence and believes he can lead the Saints. 

How did all of the Taysom frenzy come about?  You can thank Sean Payton.


Coach Payton set up the quarterback drama during training camp in August 2019.  The Advocate reported that a CBS broadcasting team had Sean Payton comparing Hill to Hall of Fame QB Steve Young.

“If you look back at Steve’s career, people don’t remember the time before he came to the NFL, you have a very athletic player that, I think, advanced when he got to San Francisco,” Payton said. “He always had great ability with his legs, so you’re trying to create visions for players, and that’s no different than how you’d evaluate how he see Teddy Bridgewater progressing and what we think he can be. That’s the business we’re in.”  Sean Payton


Sean Payton knows that elevating Hill to the starting role in New Orleans would be difficult if Drew Brees re-signs with the Saints. Brees was first with the media. Brees took advantage of his time during the Pro Bowl and on Super Bowl’s Radio Row. Listen to Brees’ on the Pat McAfee Show: 

The next day, Sean Payton did a “play-action fake” on the media. He became approachable on many topics and openly discussed Brees, Hill, and the future at quarterback position for his team. Payton gave us insight on Drew’s retirement talk, and this reconfirmed his belief in Hill’s ability to become a franchise quarterback.   

Gamesmanship: games·​man·​ship | \ ˈgāmz-mən-ˌship \ (noun) - the art or practice of winning games by questionable expedients without actually violating the rules. Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I admired Payton’s strategy.  Sean Payton has mastered the ‘Art of Gamesmanship’. He learned from one of the best at controlling the narrative with his players, coaches, and media from his mentor Bill Parcells. Sean Payton and Bill Belichick (both Parcells' disciples) are Master Gamesmen.   Payton has a history of playing the media to his advantage as Gregg Rosenthal tweeted last week.


The final press day featured Taysom Hill.   Hill was definitive and made his point clear.  He believes that he is a franchise quarterback.   Hill’s next comments completed Sean Payton’s setup strategy from August 2019.   

Taysom made this definitive statement, “I definitely view myself as a franchise QB,… If New Orleans don’t view me that way, then I have to leave.”  

Here is why this statement was important for the Saints and Taysom Hill.

  1. It immediately increased his NFL market value.
  2. Possible market capital for the Saints.  New Orleans could raise the stakes in the Taysom Hill sweepstakes to a first-round or at minimum a second-round draft choice.  Provided if New Orleans decides not to match another team’s offer to Hill.
  3. It could force an easy transition to either Hill or Bridgewater.  Just in case Brees retires in 2020.
  4. The statement could force the Saints to ask Drew to make a decision before the free agency period begins in March.

The interviews of Brees, Payton, and Hill tremendously helped the Saints organization.   They bring the clarity to their quarterback situation earlier than originally expected. Also, New Orleans will implement their plans for Drew’s heir. If Hill gets an offer in the first or second round, it would be difficult for Loomis to match the offer and pass on a high draft choice. 

Teddy Bridgewater has remained silent. No interviews, tweets, or sound nuggets for anyone to believe Bridgewater wants. .   This is a smart play by Bridgewater.

The New Orleans Saints win in the long scheme of things.  The concern for Saints fans is if this strategy will produce Super Bowl championships in the Big Easy.   This is not only why they play the game, but it's also why Saints fans keep faith and support the game.

Comments (2)

Brees would have made his decision before the start of free agency out of professional courtesy alone.

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Mental Floss
Mental Floss

I must be real dense because I have no clue what your point was. Is payton hoping to lose Tayson for a draft pick? I Payton trying to tamp down Brees asking price? If you have a prediction it sure was not evident from the article.

Editorial / Opinion