Is Home Team Based on a True Story?

Netflix’s sports film ‘Home Team’ follows Sean Payton, the head coach of New Orleans Saints, who gets suspended for his involvement in a scandal. Payton decides to coach his son’s football team during his suspension term and join the team as the offensive coordinator. Directed by Charles and Daniel Kinnane, the film progresses through Payton’s efforts to build the high school team’s mentality and his attempts to reconnect with his son. As the incredible drama captivates us, one can’t help but wonder whether the unbelievable tale is fictional or a real-life account. If you are curious about the film’s genesis, we have got you covered!

Is Home Team Based on a True Story?

Yes, ‘Home Team’ is based on a true story. The film depicts the real-life account of former football coach Sean Payton, who served as the offensive coordinator of Liberty Christian Warriors, a sixth-grade football team that included his son Connor Payton. “Look, it’s inspired by a true story [of mine]. I’ve read the script and gotten to know Adam Sandler and the Happy Madison production team, and I know that he and Kevin James [who portrays Payton in the film] do a great job on everything they tackle. So, it’s in their hands now, but it’s a unique and entertaining storyline,” Payton said to NOLA.

In 2012, the NFL suspended Sean Payton and multiple other staff of New Orleans Saints in varying degrees over the team’s bounty program that allegedly rewarded the team’s players who targeted or injured the opposition players to keep them out of the game. The suspension came over two years after Payton and Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV win. Payton was suspended for the whole of the 2012 season, which led him to his son’s team, based in Argyle, Texas. He joined the team to train the offense, working under the head coach Brennan Hardy [the inspiration behind Taylor Lautner’s character Troy Lambert].

“Here’s this group of young sixth graders that you can impact in some way, shape, or form… Looking back at it, I needed this team more than they needed me… There’s so many things you miss. And then here was the chance to be present for every practice, for the game, for the car rides, for all those things that normally in the fall, during football season, you just hear about,” Payton said about his experience with his son’s team.

Image Credit: NFL/YouTube

Upon joining the team, Payton conceived a playbook for his tactics. “The terminology is the same as we used in New Orleans. The kids said, ‘This looks hard.’ But I said, ‘I’ve seen your homework. That’s a lot harder.’ And they’ve done a great job with it,” the former coach said to NOLA. Payton used his contacts and experience for guiding the team in the championship. He constantly communicated with head coach Hardy and discussed gameplays for the team’s matches. At one point, Payton even reached out to Bill Parcells, a two-time Super Bowl champion coach, for guiding Warriors.

For the last match of the championship, Payton even carried his Super Bowl ring to motivate his players. Even though he had to settle with a loss and runner-up position, Payton held his head high seeing the progress the team made over the course of the season. After the final game as the Warriors’ offensive coordinator, Payton expressed how much the season with the team mattered to him as a coach in his lifetime. After the season, Payton returned to New Orleans Saints to continue as the head coach of the team.

Even though the film is based on a true story, cinematic liberties were taken for dramatic purposes. In reality, the Warriors’ performance wasn’t terrible as the film depicts. The football team started their 2012 season with a 30-0 win and was better than the cinematic version. The name of the Warriors’ head coach Brennan Hardy was changed to Troy Lambert in the screenplay as well. Except for minor changes, ‘Home Team’ does succeed in depicting an incredible chapter out of Sean Payton’s life and career impeccably.

Read More: Where Was Home Team Filmed?