While many had jokingly deemed Week 12’s Cardinals-Chargers matchup to be the Sean Payton Bowl, there may be a great deal of truth to that statement.
Earlier in the week, an ESPN report surfaced that the two teams Payton had his eyes on were the Chargers and Cardinals, mostly due to their stability at the quarterback position, unlike the other openings in the league.
Had the Chargers lost their game, it may have spelled doom for current head coach Brandon Staley, who has been the subject of much criticism in recent weeks. Instead, he made a gusty call to go for the win and it worked on a two-point conversion to Gerald Everett.
Los Angeles now has a potential path to a postseason birth, which would likely mean Staley is retained. That is a big domino for the Cardinals should they opt to fire Kliff Kingsbury and pursue Payton.
The other remaining job openings are the Colts, Panthers and perhaps the Broncos. While Denver does present the opportunity to coach Russell Wilson, that is far from the appeal it once had.
If the Cardinals end up pursuing Payton and the Chargers are not in the market for a new head coach, they have a very attractive offense for the mastermind behind a decade of offensive success in New Orleans.
The Cardinals can offer Payton a starting lineup of Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, Hollywood Brown and Zach Ertz, which is far better than anything the other job openings have to offer.
That changes if the Chargers are in the coaching mix, as they also have a dynamic offense. Should the Cardinals be in the Payton market, let’s hope the Chargers are not in it as well.