New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton’s $200,000 trick seemed to pay off as his team defeated the reigning Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles 20-14 to book a place in the National Football Conference (NFC) championship game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.
The Saints coach walked into team meeting in the days leading up to their NFC division game against the Eagles with three armed guards, over $200,000 in cash, the Vince Lombardi trophy and a Super Bowl ring in order to give his players added motivation in their chase to reach the 2019 Super Bowl.
The cash, according to ESPN, represents how much the Saints players will make in bonuses should they make the summit clash and running back Mark Ingram admitted prior to the match that it was motivating to see what is on offer if they win their next three games.
“Guys make good money here. But not too often you see $250,000 cash right there. So that was very appealing,” Saints running back Mark Ingram said. “The Lombardi sitting right there in front of it, the ring sitting right in front of it, the armed guards. It was pretty dope. But we still gotta go out there and do what we do.”
“That’s definitely motivating,” he added. “Of course, everybody’s playing to be champions. But that trophy, that bread, all that’s on the line. It’s just another little way to get us going.”
“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,” Ingram said.
Payton used the similar tactic to motivate his team during their run to the Vince Lombardi trophy in 2009 – but only three players from that team are currently on the roster.
The coach’s motivation surely paid dividends as the team held on to beat the Eagles 20-14 on Sunday with veteran quarterback and MVP contender Drew Brees throwing two touchdown passes while completing 28 of his 38 passes for 301 yards, but it did include one interception.
The Saints quarterback reserved special praise for wide receiver Michael Thomas, who was the star of the show during their win over the Eagles. He received 12 passes and covered a total of 171 yards which included one touchdown.
“He has had a phenomenal year, he is the go to guy. He is the number one and he is a ‘Gimmie the ball and I’ll make the plays for you’,” Brees told Fox Sports after their win on Sunday. “I hear it every day in practice and I hear it every game day. It is great to have a guy like that. The ultimate competition and what you see on game day is the same as every day in practice.”