Kevin James to play Sean Payton in Netflix movie based on head coach’s 2012 suspension
Well, at least something fun will have come out of “Bountygate,” though it’s safe to say no one thought it would be this.
Kevin James is set to portray New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. Read that again. Now look at this to verify that what you read was real:
Kevin James is going to play Saints coach Sean Payton in a Netflix movie called "Home Team."
The movie is based on when Payton was suspended in 2012 and coached his son's sixth-grade football team.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) April 12, 2021
This news comes from NFL writer Peter King’s morning column, where he illustrates more production details about the film, which was quietly announced about the Saints head coach in February:
“The plotline begins in 2012, when Payton is suspended for the season by commissioner Roger Goodell for the Saints’ bounty scandal, which gives Payton the chance to re-assess his life and put it in some perspective. As part of his new life, Payton becomes the offensive coach for his son Connor’s sixth-grade football team, the Warriors, in the Dallas area. (Thus, the “Home Team” title of the flick.)”
A quick refresher if you’re unfamiliar with the story, or ‘Bountygate’ in general. After discovering that there was a multi-year bounty program in place for Saints players to injure opponents, Sean Payton became the first NFL head coach suspended since 1978 (among several other severe sanctions). He was suspended for the entire 2012 NFL season, which brings us to the movie.
The film is being produced by Happy Madison Productions. If that name rings a bell, it should, as Happy Madison is owned by Adam Sandler, which possibly makes this casting a little less bizarre. Sandler and James have a long professional and personal relationship, and Happy Madison has made multiple projects under the Netflix umbrella. As for concerns whether or not this production would be up to snuff given Happy Madison’s track record of critical blunders, it’s important to note that the Saints head coach, Payton, signed off on the script and that James is just the latest in a long line of comedians going on to do more dramatic work.
Who knows, this might just be Paul Blart’s redemption story. Fitting, given the subject matter.