Golden Football Magazine
December 8, 2014

"Bourbon Street is 50 minutes down the road, so I don't know what that could've done to me. Starkville is hours away from anything that's crazy or tempting or anything to do. I knew I could stay focused."

Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott on why he didn't go to LSU

Tiger Den

1959 Sugar Bowl

The LSU Tigers had to work hard to complete their undefeated season against the Clemson Tigers.

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Saints Saga

Season in Time: 1987 Saints - Games 8 and 9

New Orleans played back-to-back games on the West Coast, where they hadn't had much luck over the years.

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Seminole Sidelines

From the Archives

With the Seminoles having just played Georgia Tech for the ACC Championship, we recall the 1992 game between the schools that gave birth to the "Fast Break" offense.

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NFL Championship Game - 1954

Otto Graham finally had a good game against the Lions.

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Interesting Story

Blanda's Incredible String - III

George Blanda had a special score to settle with the Cleveland Browns.

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Football Profile: Jesse Harper III

It didn't take long for the 1913 Notre Dame team, to shock the Army team and their fans.

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Al Davis Goes After Sean Payton

Parcells: A Football Life, by Bill Parcells & Nunyo Demasio (2014)

After the 2003 season, Raiders' owner Al Davis needed to hire a new coach. He had his eye on Bill Parcells' QB coach with the Dallas Cowboys, Sean Payton.
Having played a key role in helping his mutual friends consummate an improb­able marriage in Dallas, Al Davis took special note of the team's turnaround. The Raiders boss was particularly impressed with Quincy Carter's progress in an offense lacking a top runner or a first-rate wideout. So on firing his head coach, Bill Callahan, after a 4-12 season, Al Davis gained permission from the Cowboys to interview their top two offensive coaches: Mo Carthon and Sean Payton. Despite preferring to keep thm, Parcells felt compelled to let his assis­tants pursue a head-coaching opportunity, and even recommended the duo to his longtime consigliere.

Bill Callahan happened to be Sean Payton's friend and ex-Eagles colleague, but only two years removed from being demoted as Giants offensive coordina­tor, Payton was thrilled by Davis's interest. One of five candi­dates discussing the head coach opening with the Raiders chief in early January, Payton arrived at the team's headquarters in Alameda, California, with a bad case of the jit­ters. A few moments before meeting pro football's eminence grise, the forty-year-old coach walked into the bathroom and took three deep breaths while saying to himself, "I belong here. I belong here. I belong here."

In mid-January Payton was the only candidate flown back to Oakland for a second round of interviews with Al Davis and personnel executive Mike Lom­bardi that spanned four days. By the end of Payton's trip, Davis all but offici­ally offered him the job. Despite his inclination to accept, Payton need­ed to fulfill his promise to discuss the matter with his wife.

Al Davis

Sean Payton and Bill Parcells
Heading to the airport for a flight to Dallas on Tuesday, January 20, Payton checked his voice mail, which included three messages from Parcells bent on finding out his quarterbacks coach's decision firsthand. As Payton walk­ed toward his flight gate a TV monitor airing ESPN showed his face next to the Raiders logo while reporting that he was set to sign a four year deal with Al Davis. Later that night Beth Payton expressed reluctance to her husband, but after sleeping on it, Sean Payton awoke early in the morning aching to be a head coach. After persuading his wife, Payton purchased a black suit and sil­ver tie - Raiders colors - in anticipation of his introductory press conference. He also contacted some coaches to gauge their interest in being part of his immi­nent new staff.

The switch to the Raiders seemed so inevitable that Dallas's equipment man­ager cleaned out Payton's locker, but when he arrived at his office the next day, Payton checked in with three head-coaching friends who had ties to Al Davis: Carolina's John Fox, Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden, and Bill Calla­han ... After Payton heard their takes, he received a phone call from Parcells.

"Listen, Sean, I want to talk to you for a minute like you were my son, not like I'm the head coach and you're my assistant. These other people that you're close to in the industry: what do they think you should do?"
Payton indicated that the three opinions he'd solilcited all tilted toward his remaining in Dallas.
Parcells wanted to hear each individual response. "What about Gruden?"
Payton replied, "He doesn't think I should take the job. Absolutely not."
"He doesn't think I should take the job."
"He doesn't think I should take the job either."
"Well, put my name behind those three. You're going to get your chance. This just isn't the right one, kid."

Bill Parcells had described Sean Payton to Al Davis as being energetic and driven with an unusually sharp offensive mind. But in attempting to dissuade his quarterbacks coach, Parcells told Payton that he needed more grooming. A few minutes after Payton hung up, he received a call from Jerry Jones re­questing his presence at the owner's mansion in High­land Park. When Payton arrived, the two went into Jones's library. During their conversation the owner focused on how much the organization values its quarterbacks coach. By the end of the get-together, Payton's desire to join the Raiders had evaporated.

Driving home, Payton called his wife about his change of heart, eliciting tears of delight. Then he telephoned Parcells about his final decision, fol­lowed by a call to Jerry Jones. The next morning, minutes after Payton arrived at his office, Stephen Jones walked in with a new contract; it in­cluded a $500,000 raise, part of a three-year deal worth $3 million as an assistant head coach keeping the same duties.

After Al Davis found out, he dialed Bill Parcells to complain. "Why didn't you just tell me you wanted to keep him?"
Parcells replied, "Coach, who would want to lose one of his top assistants? I didn't know Jerry was going to pay him the extra money. But he really didn't want to come out there. I don't know exactly why."
"All right, I'll just have to get somebody else."

Davis hired Dolphins offensive coordinator Norv Turner for Oakland's lead job, and Parcells was delighted about keeping Maurice Carthon, too.

Defense shifts just before ball snapped

Football Quiz

LSU players who won national awards