What gift do you get for a team that just won its fourth straight game and took control of the NFC South?
If you're Sean Payton, the answer is apparently pedicures.
The New Orleans Saints coach told ESPN he promised players that he would take care of their feet if they traversed the Lambeau Field turf without slipping and came out with a win. After taking down the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers 26-17, Payton is making good on that promise.
"We will be taking him up on that offer Monday," Saints running back Mark Ingram said, via Mike Triplett. "I don't know about everybody else. But I'm gonna holler at him tomorrow morning for my pedicure."
Added receiver Ted Ginn Jr.: "Oh, I'm a pedicure guy ... it's part of my swag. I need to put my feet up in that hot water with all this running he got me doing."
Even Drew Brees will take his coach up on the offer after throwing for 331 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
"You gotta take care of your feet," said Brees.
The QB was then asked if he would get his toenails painted (might we suggest black and gold?).
"Nah, just go with the clear," Brees said before chuckling. "I'm ashamed I even know that."
Don't be ashamed, Drew. Never be ashamed.
This hokey story about pedicures is a long intro to point out what a turnaround it's been for the Saints. After starting 0-2 with a blowout home loss to the Patriots, it looked like the wheels might come off for Payton's bunch.
Then their season turned, seemingly on a dime. The Saints have rattled off four straight victories, including a road blowout of division rival Carolina, and three wins against teams that each made the playoffs last season (Miami, Detroit, Green Bay). Yes, they dodged a bullet not facing Rodgers, but taking advantage of golden opportunities is an often-overlooked skill.
New Orleans sits a half game up in the NFC South with home tilts versus the Bears and Bucs on deck. In what looked to be one of the toughest divisions heading into the season, few had the Saints sitting atop the standings, especially after starting 0-2.
Payton will gladly pay for more pedicures if it means the Saints keep their winning streak alive.