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The New Orleans Saints' Super Bowl winning coach and San Mateo native Sean Payton is releasing his memoirs this week. "Home Team: Coaching the Saints and New Orleans Back to Life" tells all the gossip and back-stories of Peyton's earlier career and his 2009 title run with New Orleans.
One particularly greasy tidbit of gossip of interest to Oakland Raiders fans will be Peyton's recalling of his 2005 interview with Al Davis for the Raiders' head coaching job. In his book, Peyton reveals that Al Davis wined and dined him with cold McDonald's cheeseburgers and KFC coleslaw.
Steve Corkran runs an advance excerpt from the book on the Oakland Tribune Raiders blog. Peyton recalls how his interview was still going at 11 p.m., and neither Davis nor Payton had eaten in several hours.
"You like cheeseburgers?" Al Davis is quoted as asking, reportedly wearing a black leisure sweatsuit.
So some hapless assistant was sent on a McDonald's run, with Al Davis demanding cole slaw as well. Give Mr. Davis credit for avoiding red meat at his age.
"The assistant says, ‘Mr. Davis, McDonald’s doesn’t have cole slaw,’” Payton writes in his book. "But Al wanted his cole slaw, so the assistant had to figure out what to do."
"He came back with a bag of cheeseburgers — not Quarter Pounders with cheese or Big Macs," Peyton recalls. "The kids-menu cheeseburgers — 10 of them. Like the kind that come with the Happy Meal."
"So we’re sitting there — mind you, it’s about 11 p.m. — eating McDonald’s cheeseburgers and cole slaw from KFC. You know what a cold cheeseburger tastes like?”
The Dollar Menu meal did not even scare Sean Peyton away. He reveals that he did actually accept the Raiders head coaching job at that interview.
But Peyton was talked into remaining on with the Dallas Cowboys, after a $500,000 raise and a promotion to assistant head coach to Bill Parcells.
Still, you have to wonder what could have been if the Raiders had served him some hot, fresh In-N-Out burgers instead.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who cannot name one other NFL coach who has the stones to publicly refer to Mr. Davis as "Al".