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Mike Shanahan Comments on Sean Payton as Broncos HC

By Chad Jensen,


What does Mike Shanahan think of the Denver Broncos hiring Sean Payton?

Denver Broncos fans woke up Wednesday morning on the right foot, in the wake of the news that Sean Payton will be the team's new head coach. According to reports, the Broncos will relinquish a 2023 first-and 2024 second-round draft pick to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for Payton and a 2024 third-rounder.

It's actually a pretty sweet deal for Denver. The Walton/Penner ownership group whipped out the checkbook and found a way to land arguably the biggest fish on the 2023 NFL head-coaching market.

Payton won a Super Bowl with the Saints back in 2009 with Drew Brees at quarterback. Payton will now attempt to do the same, this time with another less-than-prototypical-sized quarterback in the age-34 Russell Wilson.

On the heels of the Payton hire, former two-time Super Bowl-winning Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan weighed in on the team's new hire, courtesy of 9NEWS' Mike Klis.

“EIU Panther, that’s all you need to say! He will be able to adjust his offense and defense to the talents of his players! I believe he’s a natural leader as well. That’s already been proven," Shanahan said via Klis on Twitter.

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Shanahan and Payton now have another thread in common. Not only have both won Super Bowls as head coaches, but as players back in the day, they hailed from Eastern Illinois University.

Payton went undrafted as a quarterback out of IEU back in 1987. He bounced around various pro leagues, with a stop with the Chicago Bears as the highlight of his quarterback career.

After four different collegiate jobs, Payton got his start in the NFL coaching ranks as a quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles back in 1997. That was under then-Eagles OC Jon Gruden.

Payton's first NFL success, though, came in 2000 when the New York Giants promoted him to offensive coordinator, where he helped lead the Kerry Collins-quarterback team to a Super Bowl berth.

Then Payton landed with Bill Parcels in Dallas, where he served as the assistant head coach and QBs coach. That's the gig that eventually landed him the head-coaching job in New Orleans circa 2006.

And now, the 59-year-old Payton joins the Broncos. He and Shanahan have much in common, including their offensive expertise and innovations within the West Coast Offense.

Shanahan was inducted into the Broncos Ring of Fame last year and is now in the queue of deserving coaches destined for the Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, Payton will set about the process of "fixing" Wilson and restoring the competitive good name — that Shanahan helped establish — of the Broncos.

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