As we look forward to the game of the week between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams, we’ll get to see the head-to-head matchup of two of the candidates for the 2017 NFL Coach of the Year Award. Both Saints’ head coach Sean Payton and Rams’ head coach Sean McVay have made their case with impressive runs since the beginning of the season.

While the Saints and Rams are both sitting on top of their respective divisions, first-year head coach McVay doesn’t feel that it’s right for people to compare him to the wily veteran and Super Bowl champion Payton.

“I think he’s accomplished so much I don’t think it’s fair to put me in the same category as Coach Payton,” said McVay. “I think hopefully if you achieve even close to what he has in this league then maybe you start to get mentioned. I think in terms of looking at the trajectory and being around some of the same people, it’s certainly flattering words, but I definitely have not done enough to be mentioned in the same sentence as Coach Payton.”

Other than the first name, however, the two Seans don’t have much in common. Payton bounced around a number of college football programs before coaching for three of the four NFC East teams in some position: the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and Dallas Cowboys. Then, of course, Payton ended up with Drew Brees in New Orleans and the rest is history.

McVay, on the other hand, only held two positions before finding his way onto the fourth NFC East team, the Washington Redskins, and working his way up the chain to offensive coordinator before being picked off by the Rams before this season.

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Nonetheless, Payton had nothing but nice things to muster together and say about the rookie head coach.

“The first similarity would be S-e-a-n,” said Payton. “Now, outside of that, he went to Miami of Ohio. I coached there. There are a lot of good friends on his staff I know—[offensive line coach] Aaron Kromer, [defensive line coach] Bill Johnson—guys that’ve worked here. I think there’s confidence you build. You go set up shop, you get your opportunity, but I’ve never had a chance to work with him outside of that, so I wouldn’t know. But he’s doing a good job there.”

This matchup most likely won’t determine the winner of the award, but it could determine the balance of power in the NFC…behind the Eagles and Minnesota Vikings, of course.

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