Sean Payton's storied run with the New Orleans Saints is finished.
Payton is stepping down as head coach of the Saints, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday.
Payton, 58, leaves the Saints with an overall regular-season record of 152-89 and a postseason mark of 9-8, including one Super Bowl victory and the 2006 AP Coach of the Year award, in 15 seasons.
Rapoport adds that Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is considered the leading candidate to replace Payton. Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn is also expected to interview, per Rapoport.
Rapoport reported Sunday that Payton, who had three years remaining on his contract, had not committed to returning to coach New Orleans after an incredibly difficult and challenging season.
Saints owner Gayle Benson confirmed the uncertainty in New Orleans on Tuesday when she said "I don't think any of us know" what Payton's future with the team is.
Now we have the answer, and the arduous 2021 season will go down as his last with the Saints.
Payton's time with the once-woeful Saints was nothing short of remarkable. The coach arrived in 2006, coinciding with the franchise's monumental signing of quarterback Drew Brees. Together, Payton and Brees turned a club once known as little more than a laughingstock for much of its existence into a perennial contender.
The turnaround was instant, with Payton's squad winning 10 games in its first season and scoring a Divisional Round win over the Philadelphia Eagles before eventually falling to the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game. Payton would get his shot at a title a few years later when he led the Saints to a 13-3 regular-season finish, a first-round bye and two NFC playoff wins -- including a thrilling overtime triumph over Brett Favre's Minnesota Vikings, a game that would later serve as the source of massive controversy -- on the way to the franchise's first and only Super Bowl triumph.
Just four years into the job, Payton was a Super Bowl champion, taking down the powerful Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Three years later, the NFL suspended him for one season as a result of the league's investigation into New Orleans' bounty program.