The Best New Orleans Saints Coaches of All Time

Over 200 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best New Orleans Saints Coaches of All Time

Who is the best New Orleans Saints coach of all time? Throughout their time as a football franchise, the New Orleans Saints have had a variety of coaches, many of whom could be considered among the greatest NFL coaches of all time. Keeping stats like Super Bowl wins and playoff runs in mind, who is the best Saints coach ever? Which New Orleans Saints head coach do you love most?

The only coach to win a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints is coach Sean Payton. He led the Saints to their first Super Bowl in 2009, defeating the Indianapolis Colts 31-17. Payton's tenure featured many ups and downs in New Orleans, such as the Drew Brees era, bountygate, injuries (including to Sean Payton himself), and countless star players coming through the Super Dome. Payton's teams were always fun to watch. Payton had a knack for high-powered NFL offenses that could win shootouts.

Outside of Payton, who retired from the NFL in 2022, Jim Mora coached the New Orleans saints for 10 years, making him the second longest tenured coach, while Mike Ditka and Jim Haslett also had entertaining stints. 

If the New Orleans Saints had a best of all time team, who would coach it? Vote for the best New Orleans Saints coaches below, and help decide who's the best New Orleans football coach outside of Sean Payton.

Ranked by
  • Sean Payton
    San Mateo, California
    134 votes
    Patrick Sean Payton (born December 29, 1963) is an American football coach and former player who is the current head coach of the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). Payton was a quarterback at Naperville Central High School and Eastern Illinois University and played professionally in 1987 and 1988. He began his coaching career as offensive assistant for San Diego State University and had several assistant coaching positions on college and NFL teams before being named as the tenth full-time coach in Saints history in 2006. Payton has always been known for his offensive prowess, having scored more points (2,804) and gained more yards (40,158) than any other team in a coach's first 100 games in NFL history. Payton is currently the second-longest active head coach in the NFL, behind New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who has coached them since the 2000 season. Under Payton's leadership, the Saints made the 2006 NFL playoffs after a disappointing 3–13 season in 2005 and advanced to their first NFC Championship appearance in franchise history. Because of this effort, Payton won the AP NFL Coach of the Year Award. Following the 2009 season, the Saints won their first Super Bowl championship in franchise history. Since joining the Saints as head coach, he has helped guide the team to 3 NFC Championship games (2006, 2009, and 2018), an appearance in Super Bowl XLIV, and 7 total playoff births with 5 division titles, making him the most successful coach in Saints franchise history. On March 21, 2012, Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 NFL season, originally set to take effect April 1, 2012, as a result of his alleged involvement in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, under which "bounties" were allegedly paid for contact that would "knock out" targeted players on opposing teams. Payton has denied that any program encouraging Saints players to injure opposing players ever existed, even though the NFL claims their evidence proves otherwise. Assistant coach Joe Vitt stated "We had a pay to perform program, just like many NFL teams do, but there was never a bounty program, we didn't ever encourage a pay-to-injure program. That's just not true. We never crossed the line." Payton filed an appeal of his suspension with the league the Friday before it was set to take effect. On April 9, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (who handed down the suspension) denied his appeal; his suspension began on April 16. Goodell reinstated Payton on January 22, 2013.Payton is under contract with the Saints at least until the end of the 2020 season. A previously agreed-upon extension of his contract through 2015 was voided by the NFL. This left his status after the 2012 season unclear until December of that year, when he agreed to a five-year contract that made him the highest-paid coach in the history of the NFL. In March 2016, Payton signed a five-year extension with the Saints.
  • Jim E. Mora
    Glendale, California
    99 votes
    James Earnest Mora (born May 24, 1935) is a former American football coach who was the head coach of the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL). His tenure with the Saints spanned eleven seasons and he coached the Colts for four seasons. Mora also coached the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars of the United States Football League (USFL) during its three years of existence and led the team to all three championship games, winning two. As an NFL head coach, he was known for turning the Saints and the Colts—two consistently losing franchises—into perennial postseason contenders. However, his reputation was affected by his lack of success in the NFL playoffs and impassioned postgame tirades and press conferences, including his oft-quoted "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda," "You Will Never Know," "Diddly Poo," and "Playoffs?" rants. In contrast to his league titles in the USFL, Mora never won a postseason NFL game. He is second to Marvin Lewis for the NFL record for career regular-season wins (125) without a playoff victory. His son Jim L. Mora is a former NFL head coach and former head coach at UCLA.
  • Bum Phillips
    Orange, Texas
    67 votes
    Oail Andrew "Bum" Phillips (September 29, 1923 – October 18, 2013) was an American football coach at the high school, college and professional levels. He served as head coach in the National Football League (NFL) for the Houston Oilers from 1975 to 1980 and the New Orleans Saints from 1981 to 1985. He was the father of NFL coach Wade Phillips.
  • Hank Stram

    Hank Stram

    Chicago, Illinois
    45 votes
    Henry Louis "Hank" Stram (; January 3, 1923 – July 4, 2005) was an American football coach. He is best known for his 15-year tenure with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL). Stram won three AFL championships, more than any other coach in the league's history. He then won Super Bowl IV with the Chiefs, thus earning the 1969 World Championship of Professional Football. He also coached the most victories (87), had the most post-season games (7) and the best post-season record in the AFL (5–2). Stram is largely responsible for the introduction of Gatorade to the NFL due to his close association with Ray Graves, coach at the University of Florida during Gatorade's development and infancy. Stram never had an offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, or special teams coach during his career with the Texans and Chiefs.
  • Wade Phillips
    Orange, Texas
    55 votes
    Wade Phillips (born June 21, 1947) is an American football coach who is the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL). He also served two stints as defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos, where his team was Super Bowl finalists in his first stint and champions in his second stint. He has served as head coach of the NFL's Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, and Dallas Cowboys. He was also an interim head coach for the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and the Houston Texans. His career winning percentage as a head coach is .546. Phillips is considered to be among the best defensive coordinators in the NFL.
  • Jim Haslett
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    71 votes
    James Donald Haslett (born December 9, 1955) is an American football coach and former linebacker. He was the last linebackers coach for the Cincinnati Bengals. Previously, he was head coach for the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League, and the New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams in the National Football League.