The ‘home team’ true story: What to know about Sean Payton, the NFL coach behind Kevin James’ movie


Many movies these days are based on a true story, but typically those true stories are inspirational dramas about growing up in the 70s or romance biopics that highlight a cultural icon. Rarely are the jovial comedies produced by Adam Sandler starring Kevin James as a professional football coach who is best known for being involved in a plot to injure players. And yet, that’s exactly what Netflix offers Home team—a comedy based on the true story of Sean Payton that started airing today—est.

Of course, this Happy Madison movie doesn’t get into the “Bountygate” scandal that Payton and the New Orleans Saints are famous for. Instead, it focuses on a father-son story between Payton (played by Kevin James) and his son Connor (played by Tait Blum). You see, while suspended from the NFL for a year, Payton ended up coaching his son’s college football team.

It might be a weird choice for a comedy, but it’s too weird not to be true. For those unfamiliar with the Sean Payton controversy, read on to learn more about the Home team true story.


Yes. Home team is based on the true story of NFL head coach Sean Payton, played by Kevin James in the film.


Payton has been the head coach of the New Orleans Saints since 2006. In April 2012, he was suspended from his position for the entire 2012 season, due to his involvement in the Saints’ bounty scandal. New Orleans, in which members of the New Orleans Saints Orleans team were accused of paying bonuses, or bonuses, for deliberately injuring opposing players on the field in order to eliminate them from the game. NFL investigators concluded that from 2009 to 2011, the Saints offered these cash bonuses to players.

According to The New York Times, it was the first time the NFL suspended a head coach for any length of time. Payton appealed the suspension but was refuse. Although he was not banned from communicating with his players, he was not allowed to “coach from home”. Payton was reinstated as head coach of the Saints in January 2013. In a reportNFL Commissioner Roger Gooddell said Payton “has fully complied with all of the demands placed on him during his suspension. Most importantly, it’s clear that Sean understands and accepts his responsibilities as a as a head coach and the vital role coaches play in promoting player safety and setting an example of how the game should be played at all levels.

In its own statement, Payton said: “I am grateful today that Commissioner Goodell has granted me reinstatement. As I said last March, along with Mickey Loomis, I take full responsibility for all aspects of our football program. I clearly acknowledge that mistakes were made which led to league violations.

Kevin James Sean Payton
Photos: Getty Images

But some football fans weren’t so quick to forgive Payton. When Netflix first released the Home team trailer in December, some NFL fans took to Twitter to express their displeasure at a film shedding light on Payton’s transgressions. (In addition to Bountygate, Payton has been embroiled in another scandal – although Payton has not been charged by name, in 2020 New Orleans Saints executives went to court to keep the emails private, which, according to a AP News reportreportedly showed Saints leaders helped the region’s Roman Catholic archdiocese limit the damage to public relations following a sex abuse scandal.)

Netflix did not address the controversy. However, in an interview for the film’s press releases, the co-writer of the Home team screenplay Chris Titone (who is also producer Adam Sandler’s brother-in-law) briefly explained the reason for Payton’s suspension. Titone said: “As head coach he took responsibility for everything that happened under his command. He got up and did the right thing.

Payton really became the offensive coach of his son’s college football team during his suspension. In that same interview, Titone said that while changes were made to gamble the team’s losing record for comedy, other elements were true. “I wanted all the names to be real,” Titone said. “It was important to me because once the names are the same, we have real people to tap into when we’re looking for a character. My sister, Jackie Sandler, dresses like the real Beth in the movie. Sean Payton is really funny. Harlan was, and still is, Connor’s best friend. The Porcupines were really twice as big as the Warriors.


Just this week, Payton announcement he was retiring as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, after a 16-year run. There is speculation that Payton could be in the running as a potential Dallas Cowboys coach.

“I don’t know what the next step is,” Payton said at a news conference on Tuesday. “I don’t like the word retirement. I still have a vision for doing things in football, and I’ll be honest, it could be in training. It may be, but that’s not where my heart is right now.

Watch Home team on Netflix


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