This year has undoubtedly been the worst year of Payton’s life, however. The Super Bowl will take place in New Orleans this season, but Payton won’t be coaching the hometown Saints. He’s suspended for the entire year because he lied to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about a bounty program the Saints put in place that targeted opposing players and issued payments when certain players were injured.
If being suspended from the job he loves wasn’t bad enough, things are now getting even worse for Payton. According to court documents, he is set to divorce his wife of 20 years, Beth Shuey. The documents cited “discord or conflict of personalities … that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”
Payton is seeking joint custody of the couple’s children, while his wife is seeking sole custody, so he may be in for a bit of a court battle there.
Though Payton and his family lived in the New Orleans area prior to Hurricane Katrina, they moved to the Dallas area following the loss of their home in that disaster. Payton still maintains a residence in New Orleans during the season, but the fact that his (soon to be ex-) wife and kids live in another state may have precipitated the breakdown of his marriage.