Kevin James has played multiple sports figures in his acting career, including a NASCAR crew chief and an MMA fighter. Now he is portraying a famous NFL coach. James will take on the role of New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton for a new movie.
Peter King highlighted the news in his MMQB column. He noted that the movie has the title of Home Team and filming begins this year. King also reported that Payton read the script recently and made some corrections. The movie stems from a true story. Payton served as the offensive coach of his son's football team at Liberty Christian in Argyle, Texas, while serving a one-year suspension from the NFL.
Kevin James will play New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton in ‘Home Team’, a film from Netflix covering Payton’s suspension in 2012 and the time he spent coaching his son’s sixth grade football team.April 12, 2021
Payton missed the 2012 season for running a "bounty program" during the 2009-11 seasons. The program allegedly paid players who knocked the competition out of games by injuring them. Payton lost a full year of pay and became the first head coach in the league to receive a suspension for any reason.
In addition to suspending Payton for a year, the NFL punished multiple other figures in the organization. The league suspended general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games, suspended assistant coach Joe Vitt for six games and fined him $100,000. The NFL also banned then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from the league indefinitely. Finally, the NFL fined the Saints $500,000 and forced the organization to forfeit their second-round picks in 2012 and 2013.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions will produce the film. Happy Madison has produced several films featuring James, including Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2. Happy Madison was also behind I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and Zookeeper.
When the news surfaced that James would play Payton, there were a variety of questions and reactions. Some proclaimed that better choices for the role would be Ben Stiller or Frankie Muniz. Others asked if James would lose weight to portray the Saints coach. In addition to coaching his son's team, Payton got really into CrossFit during his season away from the NFL and began attending classes at Tiger's Den in Dallas. He continued following the training method in New Orleans at Big Easy CrossFit.