Saints Coach Payton Says Ornstein’s `Special Ops’ Were Key to Super Bowl

By Aaron Kuriloff and Barry Rothbard

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton said his National Football League team had a special operative who helped win the Super Bowl: sports agent Mike Ornstein.

Payton said Ornstein helped arrange logistics such as game tickets and travel for players’ in-laws, minimizing crises. He also dreamed up irritations for the Saints’ opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, including strategically placing the Saints’ fleur-de-lis symbol around the Miami area.

“There is a little bit of a propaganda battle to how we travel — the hotels we’re staying in, what the wives are getting, the flowers, the cameras, the billboards — and that’s one thing we felt like we needed to win prior to even playing the game,” Payton said in an interview today. “By the end of the week, the scene was the fleur-de-lis everywhere.”

Payton said in his new book “Home Team: Coaching the Saints and New Orleans Back to Life,” that he got off to a rocky start with Ornstein, who called the team in 2006 to discourage Payton from drafting running back Reggie Bush. That conversation ended when the newly hired coach hung up on Ornstein with an expletive.

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