Netflix’s new comedy Home team has a premise straight out of the underdog sports movies playbook, so it might surprise you that this is something that actually happened.
The film centers on NFL head coach Sean Payton (Kevin James) who, when suspended, returns to his hometown of Dallas to coach his son’s football school team. .
As he improves the struggling team, Payton also finds himself reconnecting with his 12-year-old son in the process.
Although there are definitely elements of Home team which are fictional, the premise is exactly what real-life NFL coach Sean Payton did in 2012. So to sort fact from fiction, here’s the real story behind the Netflix movie.
Home team true story: Who is Sean Payton?
Sean Payton became head coach of the New Orleans Saints in 2006 and just three years later led the team to their first (and so far only) Super Bowl victory during the season. 2009.
However, things turned sour in 2012 when Payton was suspended for the entire season for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, also known as “Bountygate”.
Shortly after their Super Bowl victory, the NFL began investigating Saints players over allegations that they deliberately injured players on the opposing team. It wasn’t until March 2012 that the NFL announced that it had evidence that Saints staff were offering bonuses to reward one of their players for injuries that took opposing players off the field.
Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was said to have created the bounty pool after arriving in 2009. Williams was suspended indefinitely by the NFL, but his suspension was lifted a year later.
Payton was accused of trying to cover up the scheme and also failing to stop him on the orders of Saints team owner Tom Benson. The league said Payton chose to “falsely deny the existence of the program” and attempted “to encourage false denials by asking assistants to ‘make sure our ducks are lined up'” (via NFL).
He failed in his attempt to appeal his suspension in April 2012 and as a result Payton became the first NFL head coach to be suspended for any reason and did not return to the Saints until the season. 2013.
During his one-year suspension, Payton returned to his hometown in Texas and ended up coaching his son’s sixth-grade football team as an offensive coordinator. While in the movie his son’s team is pretty bad when he first starts working with them, that wasn’t the case in real life as they comfortably won their first match.
“We had our first game on Saturday and we won 30-0. Obviously that’s a completely different element. Yet you’re just as excited to see the team you’re part of doing well,” he said. he declares. The Times Picayune.
“It was about 110 degrees on the Astroturf, I was just glad no one melted. But it was a good win for us to start the season. We scored a lot of points and created turnovers. And they are excited about it, which is great to see.”
But at the same time Home team invents the classic tale of underdogs to winners for the movie, it’s true to real life Payton used simplified versions of his Saints playbook. The Liberty Christian Warriors, as they were called, dominated their opponents until they came up against a team called the Orange Porcupines.
“They had a really good coach. He was one of those one-wing guys. You know, it’s like a little clique,” Payton said. ESPN. He ended up seeking advice from his mentor Bill Parcells for a plan to stop them, but when the teams met again in the league finals, they lost again despite a closer battle.
(The movie at least resists changing that into a Hollywood ending and sees the Warriors narrowly lose to the Porcupines, like they did in real life.)
Taylor Lautner plays Troy Lambert, the coach of Payton’s son’s team, and he’s modeled after real-life Liberty Christian Warriors coach Brennan Hardy. Payton’s family also appears in the film with his son Connor, played by Tait Blum, and his now ex-wife Beth, played by Jackie Sandler.
Home team comes to Netflix just days after the real Sean Payton stepped down as head coach of the New Orleans Saints after a 15-year tenure, though he noted he wouldn’t say yet that he was retired (via The Guardian).
“I still have a vision of doing things in football. And I’ll be honest with you, it could lead to it again at some point. I don’t think it’s this year, I think maybe the ‘future. It’s not where my heart is right now,’ he said.
who knows if Home team is a hit on Netflix, it just might be the sequel setup here.
Home team is available to watch now on Netflix.
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