Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Home team
Netflix’s Sports Comedy Home team is based on a true story, but as with all true story films, the real characters evolved and the film made some changes to the story to increase the theatrics and improve the narrative flow. That said, some of the things that remain true about the film may surprise some viewers. Home team follows events immediately following the 2012 season suspension of New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton (Kevin James) following the scandal known as “Bountygate”, in which Saints players received bounties for deliberately injuring opposing players, including Minnesota Vikings star veteran Brett Favre and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner. However, while these real-life characters play a central role in the story, there are elements in the drama that take liberties with the truth.
Home team focuses on Sean Payton and his too-good-to-be-true story before he was brought back to the Saints in the 2013 season. Being the first NFL coach to be suspended for any reason, some believe Home team overlooks the controversial Bountygate scandal too much. Yet, of all the coaches to have serious scandals that tarnish their careers, such as the “Spygate” and “DeflateScandals against Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, Payton had a particularly unusual non-coaching history. For example, although he was not allowed to coach NFL football during his suspension, Payton returned to his family in Argyle, Texas, and coached his son’s college football team, the Liberty Christian Warriors. Home team comes from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions and Kevin James’ Hey Eddie Productions, resulting in another collaboration between the comedians after movies like I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry and Hubie Halloween.
Looking at the story, it’s easy to believe the film is more fiction than fact, and it’s true that the film plays fast and loose with certain elements of its story. For example, the whole football team didn’t collectively vomit on the pitch after eating homemade food.”Great newspapers.” Nevertheless, The home team the all-star cast portrays real people and events. Here are some of the shockingly true events of home team, including some changes to the story as well as the actual lives of the real main characters.
True – Yes, Sean Payton Really Do Coaching his son’s team
Even though the basis of the film is about Sean Payton coaching his son’s college football team, those unfamiliar with the film how true a story is may be surprised to learn that in this case the reality is more strange than fiction. While many kids in football may claim their dad is one of the coaches, it’s far less common for the coach to be an actual NFL professional. However, in this case, young Connor Payton benefited from both a family connection and truly world-class coaching. Although the mention of the Bountygate scandal alone deserves Home team a “true story” credit, the college football coaches’ barely believable connection makes much of the film a genuinely true story – as opposed to something like the Coen brothers. Fargo, for example.
Change – Ex-Wife Troy Lambert’s Husband and Coach
Beth Shuey remarried a man named Jamie, but there is no evidence that he resembles Rob Schneider’s man, a transcendental meditating character. Most notably, Payton and Shuey filed for divorce in June 2012, either during Payton’s suspension and when Home team takes place. The divorce was not finalized until 2014. Therefore, she would not have been remarried during the events of the film. Rob Schneider is a longtime collaborator of Adam Sandler, having worked on Happy Madison films such as Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and The adults.
Another notable character changed for the film is Taylor Lautner’s trainer Troy Lambert. Lautner’s character is greatly inspired by Brennan Hardy, who coached the Warriors in the 2012 season with Payton while studying at Texas Christian University. On the other hand, there is no evidence that Gary Valentine’s coach Mitch Bizone was inspired by an actual Warriors coach. With the character’s dependency on “coach juice,” we can only hope.
True – Using simplified saint sets for Son’s team
The Saints won the Super Bowl in 2009 with Sean Payton, which is all the more understandable given that the kids in the movie are as excited as they are to receive real Saints plays from their offensive coordinator. Better yet, it’s something Coach Payton really did. If other football movies and shows like Friday night lights proves it all is the fact that football is king in Texas. Not only did the Warriors have Sean Payton’s kid on their team for bragging rights, but they could also use real Saints games on the field – albeit simplified ones for 12-year-olds.
Change – Warriors weren’t as bad as the movie makes them
Movies need conflict, which doesn’t come with a dominating football team. In home team, the Warriors celebrated for simply putting something on the scoreboard with a “we have a touchdown” chant that resonates throughout the film. Until Coach Payton arrives on the team, single touchdown games turn into comprehensive wins that lead to a championship with the formidable Porcupines. It’s a classic underdog story that you see in sports comedies like Rebound and Dodgeball, and a formula that almost led to a Mighty ducks 4.
The real Liberty Christian Warriors didn’t struggle that much. They were a pretty decent side, starting their season with a 30-0 win, but the arrival of Sean Payton made them improve dramatically. The team was regularly turning off the scoreboard, which really happens in college football after a certain number of points.
Change – Contact coach Bill Parcells, not Bill Cowher for Porcupines game help
In what appears to be a comedic gag in the film, Sean Payton calls on former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher to help him with an old lineup called “one wing” used by rival Springtown Porcupines. The Porcupines were a real team that played against the otherwise undefeated Warriors in the championship game, and Sean Payton actually called a former head coach for help. Also in real life, the Warriors narrowly lost the championship to the Porcupines.
Sandler-produced films aren’t averse to using celebrity cameos for laughs, with professional golfer Lee Trevino in Happy Gilmore being a classic example. However, Cowher’s cameo is also used to represent Bill Parcells, Payton’s mentor and former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, New England Patriots and New York Giants. Considering Parcells is 80 and hasn’t worked since 2010, he probably wasn’t ready for a Home team cameo. Bill Cowher, however, is still working and is currently a football analyst for CBS Sports. NFL Today.
Change – Sean Payton’s daughter is not in the film
Home team shows Sean Payton returning to his ex-wife and son, played by Jackie Sandler and Tait Blum respectively. However, Payton’s daughter Meghan is missing from the photo. Depictions of true stories sometimes remove characters if they are not relevant to the narrative. At 24, Meghan Payton is a sports journalist based in Los Angeles for Chat Sports.
Now – Sean Payton is ‘retiring’ from NFL football coaching
While Kevin James wants to join the Twi-Dads fan club after working with dusk‘s Taylor Lautner, the real Sean Payton announced on January 25, 2022 that he would be stepping down as head coach of the Saints. As it is unclear who he will coach next, sources are treating the announcement as a retirement. However, Payton wants to avoid this word, claiming he still sees himself doing things for football. The announcement comes a year after the departure of Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
Now – What Connor Payton is doing today
Connor Payton is now 21 years old. Little is made public about his life, but sources say he attended Texas Christian University. He is still on good terms with his father and has spoken about Payton’s retirement announcement. Home team reinforces his name, but he otherwise leads a normal life.
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