The Denver Broncos have been trying to solve the near decade-long issue of trying to become a franchise known for winning. Monday’s introductory press conference of new head coach Sean Payton helped restore the desire amongst the fanbase.

Denver Broncos introduced Sean Payton on Monday

After various conversations with prospective head coaching candidates, the Denver Broncos seemingly got it right on paper after hiring Sean Payton. The Broncos have always had a storied history and tradition of winning football games, and all indications point to Payton being the best person to help recreate that in Denver.

Payton wants Broncos to earn hype, not expect it
The vibe around Dove Valley last year after the team hired former head coach Nathaniel Hackett was that everybody should expect big things. The hype surrounding the team last year was at an all-time high after the trade for Russell Wilson, but as many saw this past season, the results have to match the expectations. Unfortunately, the expectations were not a reality in 2022.

Payton stated that the fans in Broncos Country should expect an entirely different culture this upcoming season.

“I don’t like making predictions because I think that there’s so much that goes into it,” Payton said during his introductory press conference. “I think it’s realistic for our fan base to expect a completely different type of culture. I think it’s realistic for them to expect us to win. Now, to what degree—I remember the [2006 Saints] team. We finished the preseason. We had to play all of our preseason games on the road because the Superdome wasn’t ready. Then, we had to open on the road for two weeks. After the second or third preseason game, we’d gotten beaten pretty bad by Dallas. I came into the locker room, and I sat down with Mickey [Loomis], and I said, ‘We’re not going to win a game with this team.’ We ended up winning a lot of games.”

For the Broncos specifically, Payton believes that the work will speak for itself as it pertains to the on-field product this upcoming season.

“The work has started,” Payton said. “I kind of use this term, ‘A little bit more anonymous donors this season.’ Just know that we’re working, but with a little bit less visibility on social media and all those other things. We’re going to get to work, and ultimately, it’s how we do in the fall. We kind of go from there. We have to earn it with our fans. We’ve got fantastic fans that will appreciate that.”

Payton’s relationship with George Paton crucial for long-term success
During his Monday presser, Payton touched on how important his relationship will be working alongside general manager George Paton in collaboration. Prior to the Broncos leading their search for their next head coach, there was speculation created about the uncertainty of the general manager’s potential future with a new head coach, but Paton’s involvement throughout the entire process speaks volumes about his future.

The Broncos general manager is one of the league’s most respected executives when it comes to football personnel, negotiations in good faith with agents and players, and other league executives. How he and Payton work alongside one another will be crucial for the success of the team going forward.

“George and I first had a chance to meet in L.A,” Payton said regarding the initial interview process. “For the last three days, we have probably worn out the path going back and forth to each other’s offices. I feel the same way. I feel like I’ve got good instincts, and I feel like there’s a demeanor with him that reminds me of Mickey in a good way. [He is] very steady. I’ve always respected the teams that he’s been a part of. [Former NFL head coach] Mike Zimmer—who was the head coach of Minnesota and spent a lot of time with George—Zimmer and I were we’re under [Pro Football Hall of Fame Head Coach Bill] Parcells in Dallas. It’s a small industry, but particularly in our case. I think we hit it off right away.”

For Sean Payton and the future of the Broncos, his relationship with Paton will be vital toward Denver turning things around.

“It’s easy to say the relationship has to be good, but it’s harder for the relationship to be good,” Payton shared during Monday’s presser. “I feel really fortunate early on to know that. There’s this myth that I’m this tyrant that has to come into the building and control everything. I’m like, ‘Where are you guys getting all this stuff from?’ I might be a tyrant once in a while, though, but not a lot. Anyway, I really enjoy his company and it’s worked extremely well so far.”

For Paton, he expressed how he and Payton’s views on personnel align with eachother’s philosophies.

“I met Sean for the first time in that first interview at 10 a.m. in Los Angeles,” Paton reflected on the initial interview with Payton. “I remember meeting him at the front. We do have a lot of common friends and acquaintances. It was very easy, just the conversation. I felt that throughout the interview, we were aligned on how we want to build this—likeminded. Then throughout the process, [there were] a lot of follow up call between Sean and [me]. Again, it was just easy. Then, we hired him and then brought him here. I would pick him up at the hotel at 6 a.m. and be here late into the evening. I don’t know if we need to move our offices closer, but I have spent a lot of time in his office, and he has spent a lot of time in mine. Obviously, this is a honeymoon period. We have a lot of work to do, but I do think we have similar philosophies and similar visions of how to build this team. That starts today.”

In order for the Broncos and Sean Payton to turn things around, they will have to implement the tangible steps necessary to change the on-field culture into a winning product. Ultimately, it won’t be for everybody as the newly appointed Broncos coach indicated — but it will be an important brick to lay for the foundation the team hopes to build going forward.

“Once they’re here, we’re going to go by what we see and who gives us the best chance to win,” Payton said in reflection of changing the culture with the Saints in 2006. “There was turnover in that first couple seasons. There were a number of players that ended up playing on our Super Bowl team in 2009 that were a part of that transition. It was difficult. It was uncomfortable. There are a lot of people that embrace and are comfortable with change, and then there are a few that aren’t. Just trying to have an open mind to the direction we’re going, but a clear vision as to where [we’re going]. Open mind [and a] clear [vision]. There is a little bit of old school mixed in with the new school. I’m not the 31-year-old coach who’s got all these—there’s something I have in the back of my mind relative to how I think we need to be successful that never changes. Those are things that I look forward to putting in place.”

The Sean Payton era has officially begun in Denver and the message is clear — the winning tradition of this franchise needs to return and Payton provides them the best chance.