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Top 10 defining victories of Coach Sean Payton's tenure with the New Orleans Saints

Payton stepped down as head coach on Jan. 25 after 16 years and 15 seasons of coaching

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Following his NFL retirement announcement, we look back at Saints' head coach Sean Payton's career with some of the best photos from his time in New Orleans.

Sean Payton won more regular-season (152) and playoff (nine) games than any head coach in New Orleans Saints history, and many serve as monumental moments in team annals.

Sifting through them to determine an order of significance is yeoman work, but here is an unofficial listing of the Top 10 Saints victories under Payton, who stepped down as head coach on Jan. 25 after 16 years and 15 seasons of coaching.

SEAN PAYTON TOP 10 DEFINING VICTORIES: #1 - DOME RE-OPENING, SEPT. 25, 2006, NEW ORLEANS

Payton's first home game, and the first home game for the franchise since the 2004 season due to evacuation and destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was an emotional, electrifying, 23-3 victory over Atlanta on Monday night in the repaired and renovated Superdome. Arguably the most memorable game in franchise history.

SEAN PAYTON TOP 10 DEFINING VICTORIES: #2 - SUPER BOWL XLIV, FEB. 7, 2010, MIAMI GARDENS, FLA.

The first and only Super Bowl appearance in franchise history resulted in a 31-17 victory, highlighted by Payton's gutsy call for an onside kick to open the second half ("Ambush," New Orleans recovered) and cornerback Tracy Porter's 74-yard interception return for a touchdown to seal the win.

SEAN PAYTON TOP 10 DEFINING VICTORIES: #3 - NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, JAN. 24, 2010, NEW ORLEANS

In the "Pigs Have Flown!" game, New Orleans punctuated its second appearance in an NFC Championship Game with Garrett Hartley's game-winning, 40-yard field goal with 10:15 remaining in overtime in a 31-28 victory over Minnesota.

SEAN PAYTON TOP 10 DEFINING VICTORIES: #4 - THE PARCELLS GAME, DEC. 10, 2006, DALLAS

In a Sunday night road game against his mentor, Coach Bill Parcells, and the Cowboys, the Saints went on a 28-3 run after surrendering an early touchdown and posted a 42-17 victory that featured three receiving touchdowns by fullback Mike Karney. Quarterback Drew Brees threw five touchdowns.

SEAN PAYTON TOP 10 DEFINING VICTORIES: #5 - THE BRADY-BELICHICK GAME, NOV. 30, 2009, NEW ORLEANS

The Saints legitimized their status as Super Bowl contenders by improving to 11-0 on a Monday night in the Superdome, thrashing the Patriots 38-17 behind three Brees touchdown passes in the second quarter.

SEAN PAYTON TOP 10 DEFINING VICTORIES: #6 - BUILDING THE BRIDGE IN LONDON, OCT. 1, 2017, LONDON

The second of eight consecutive victories, after an 0-2 start, was a 20-0 shutout over Miami at Wembley Stadium that gave the new-age Saints, sparked by their historic 2017 draft class, the victory that galvanized them and helped lead to the first of four consecutive NFC South Division titles.

SEAN PAYTON TOP 10 DEFINING VICTORIES: #7 - DREWWWWWW, OCT. 8, 2018, NEW ORLEANS

Punctuating the record-setting offenses that Payton designed and Brees engineered, Brees became the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards (since topped by Tom Brady) in a 43-17 victory over Washington on a Monday night. Fittingly, the record-breaker came on a touchdown pass – Brees connected with Tre'Quan Smith on a 62-yarder and finished with 363 passing yards and three touchdowns.

SEAN PAYTON TOP 10 DEFINING VICTORIES: #8 - SPECIAL AGAINST PHILLY, JAN. 13, 2007, NEW ORLEANS

The first of Payton's nine playoff victories came against the Eagles in the Superdome, in an NFC Divisional playoff game after the Saints won the NFC South Division for the first time under Payton.

SEAN PAYTON TOP 10 DEFINING VICTORIES: #9 - COOLER HEADS PREVAIL, JAN. 4, 2014, PHILADELPHIA

Payton's Saints put to bed the notion that they couldn't win a cold-weather game, let alone a cold-weather playoff game, with a 26-24 Wild Card Game victory over the Eagles that was the first road playoff victory in franchise history. Prior to kickoff – 25 degrees, 19 degrees wind chill – Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis jogged around the field shirtless.

SEAN PAYTON TOP 10 DEFINING VICTORIES: #10 - NO EXCUSES, SEPT. 12, 2021, JACKSONVILLE, FLA.

Two weeks after evacuating New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Ida, and in the middle of a month-long stay in Dallas, New Orleans opened its "home" schedule at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville against Green Bay, which advanced to the NFC Championship Game in 2020. The Saints overwhelmed the Packers 38-3, opening Payton's final season by embodying his "No Excuses" edit.

Following his NFL retirement announcement, we look back at Saints' head coach Sean Payton's career with some of the best photos from his time in New Orleans.

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