June 16, 2010: Sean Payton and Ellis Henican debuted “Home Team” at the world famous Emeril’s in New Orleans.
Ellis Henican: “This was the inspirational story about a city that was in terrible condition and an underachieving football team and how they inspired each other to ultimate greatness.”
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and writer Ellis Henican celebrate the release of their new book, “Home Team, in New Orleans, La., Wednesday, June 16, 2010. Henican, originally from New Orleans, worked with Payton to tell the story of the Saints rise to SuperBowl champions in the aftermath of Katrina. (Photo/John McCusker/The Times-Picayune)
In the news:
Written by Ken Trahan, President–NewOrleans.Com/Sports | Wednesday, 16 June 2010 14:14 |
Today, the book, tonight the ring, tomorrow, the challenge. Wednesday at Emeril’s Restaurant, New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton took time to reflect on and promote his book “Home Team: Coaching the Saints and New Orleans Back to Life.”
Co-authored by Newsday Columnist and Fox News Channel contributor Ellis Henican of New Orleans, the book takes you on a journey from Payton accepting the job as the new head coach of the Saints following the Hurricane Katrina season of 2005 through the exhilaration of winning a Super Bowl in 2010.
Henican, who is a former talk show host on WOR in New York and currently hosts a syndicated talk show on SiriusXM, approached the Saints and Payton with the concept. Despite being a New Orleanian, Henican didn’t know the head coach of his hometown team.
“This is a book about a happy ending. This is a book about the fans that have waited for this ending,” says Payton.
It’s a venture he says he’s never done before, and could not have done without co-author Ellis Henican.
Published: Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 6:14 PM Updated: Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 6:18 PM
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton hugs writer Ellis Henican at the conclusion of a news conference about his new book “Home Team” in New Orleans, La., Wednesday, June 16, 2010. Henican worked with Payton on the book which is about the Saints Super Bowl championship season. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
NEW ORLEANS — For Sean Payton, writing a book gave him a chance to “come clean.
The truth is, the New Orleans Saints’ head coaching job was not the one Payton really wanted back in 2006, and he had reservations about moving his family to a city that months earlier had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
by Bradley Handwerger / Eyewitness Sports wwltv.com
Four years later, the blue tarps are gone, cars are on the roads and most importantly, New Orleans is quiet no more.
And for that, Payton is as much to thank as the money invested by thousands of people.
Payton coached the Saints to their first-ever Super Bowl win in February.
It has happened before.
You win a Super Bowl, and you become an author.
So there stood Sean Payton on Wednesday, facing a battery of cameras, recalling memories of spending the last four years in the Big Easy that wound up with a march to a world championship.
The more the coach of the Saints talked about his collaboration with New Orleans-born Ellis Henican on the book “Home Team,” the more you had the feeling it could just as well been called “Home Boy.”
Here’s someone who grew up in Naperville, Ill., a farming community no more than a long forward pass from Chicago, and you had the idea Payton was born with Who Dat genes.
You listen to him as he talked about touching the bases in a post-Katrina Big Easy, and it’s like someone, not only comfortable, but eager, telling stories of Bourbon Street, the Irish Channel, Lakeview, the Ninth Ward and New Orleans East.
“For all they’ve been through, the people here never get tired of happy endings,” Payton said. “There’s a unique kind of passion that’s special, that’s easy to embrace.”
The more the Saints-coach-to-be weighed his options in 2006, he reached a point where the family was looking at a city in a magnetic way, as he put it, “as a calling, a challenge we were meant to take on, something that was pulling us here.”
As a coach, Payton was introduced to the kind of passion he had only heard about after his first season, a Cinderella journey that ended with a 39-14 loss to the Bears in the NFC title game in Chicago.
“A beautiful city in ruins. An underachieving football team. A young coach committed to reviving them both. No team ever meant so much to a city. No city ever needed it more.’’ – Ellis Henican
In book stores June 29th
A portion of the book proceeds will help support the continued recovery of the Gulf Coast region, especially its children, through Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation.