BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Sean Payton era as head coach of the New Orleans Saints has come to an end.

Payton announced Tuesday that he’s stepping down as head coach.

“On behalf of our entire organization, I have the highest appreciation for what Sean Payton has meant to the New Orleans Saints since 2006,” said Saints Owner Gayle Benson. “Sean came to New Orleans during what was a difficult time for our organization, as well as the entire Gulf South region following Hurricane Katrina. Under his leadership, Sean helped lead this football team to new heights with easily its most successful period, showing what can be accomplished with a combination of vision, hard work, leadership of his coaching staff and players. We are grateful for everything Sean has given to this organization and this city and I give my best wishes to he and his lovely wife Skylene in the future.”

The Saints hired Payton in January of 2006 and led the Saints to the NFC Championship game that same year and three years later lead the Saints to a Super Bowl win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Payton departs the Saints with a 161-97 (152 regular-season victories and nine postseason wins) overall record (.631 winning percentage), having led New Orleans to ten winning seasons, nine playoff berths, seven NFC South titles, three NFC Championship game appearances and the Super Bowl XLIV Championship.

On Monday, Saints owner Mrs. Gayle Benson was asked about Payton’s status with the Saints and told reporters  “We don’t know. Who knows? We’ll find out soon enough I guess. I don’t think any of us know, but he will let us know soon enough.”

Payton is under contract with the New Orleans Saints through the 2026 season.

Louisiana U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy reacted to the news via Twitter, saying “What a loss for The Who Dat Nation.”