From a Wall Street Journal article this weekend on Sean Payton’s (New Orleans Saint’s head coach) love for the anonymity and intensity of CrossFit workouts:
Payton became immersed in CrossFit last year, in Dallas, amid that lost season which wasn’t really a season, at least not for him, since he was suspended from football amid New Orleans’s Bountygate scandal. Even before that mess, Payton was recovering from a freak injury he’d suffered during a 2011 game against Tampa Bay, when a Saints player collided with his leg, tearing his meniscus and fracturing his tibia.
He needed to get better and stronger. He found an outlet. Payton started coming to a CrossFit gym in Dallas, Tiger’s Den, where the owner, J.D. Thorne, didn’t recognize the NFL celebrity. “I know this sounds dumb, but I don’t watch football at all,” Thorne said. “I had a couple guys say, ‘Dude: That is Sean Payton.'” Thorne looked up a photo of the gym visitor on his phone. “I was like, ‘That’s an actual famous person.'”
But there was no special treatment. CrossFit is known for its check-your-ego, egalitarian ethos, and the Super Bowl-winning coach soon blended in with the crowd. That’s exactly what Payton wanted. He was hooked. He liked how the routines changed and challenged him. “You just kind of disappear somewhere, not knowing what the workout is,” Payton said. “And it’s a lot different than I think many would expect—there’s a very welcoming attitude.”
…Is there a CrossFit effect brewing in New Orleans? After’s last year’s forgettable 7-9 campaign, the Saints are having a revival season. New Orleans is 5-0, atop the NFC South, heading into Sunday’s showdown with the New England Patriots. The Saints have relocated their mojo, and a lot of credit has been given to equilibrium brought by their head coach.