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Jaguars Doug Marrone remembers fondly re-birth of NFL in New Orleans

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars are preparing to play the Saints in Jacksonville on Thursday night and the game has special significance for their second year coach.

New Orleans will always have a special place for Doug Marrone, as he served on Sean Payton’s staff for the rebirth of the NFL in the “Crescent City” in 2006.

Marrone spent a little time reminiscing at the beginning of his press conference Tuesday morning:

Maroon spent three seasons, 2006 – 08, as the offensive coordinator in New Orleans, and without a doubt, he saw firsthand how special the Saints are to the people of that city and really, the entire state of Louisiana.

As you probably know by now, the Saints spent 2005 post-Hurricane Katrina as nomads. They played home games in both San Antonio, Texas, and Baton Rouge at LSU’s Tiger Stadium.

In their return to the Superdome for Monday Night Football against NFC South rival Atlanta in September 2006, the Saints very famously crushed the Falcons giving a joyous release to Saints fans and Louisians everywhere.

Marrone shared his memories,

“I remember sitting there and it was a Superbowl type atmosphere…I remember right before kickoff I just turned around and looked into the crowd. There’s 3-4 rows of people just crying in joy that was almost like a re-birth and the city took off.” Marrone continued, “for me it’s always going to be special. It’s just a special place. And, I think what I learned the most is that football does have an impact on people’s lives.”

That began special time for QB Drew Brees, as his Hall of Fame run of passing supremacy began and now is amazingly about to enter its 14th season with the Saints. And it began with Marrone helping coordinate the gameplan and plays for Sean Payton to call.

Marrone also credited Payton for helping him understand what it would take to become an NFL head coach.

“Sean is probably one of the best communicators that I’ve been around. He’s extremely intelligent…. Very organized. Very good with personnel. I think for me Sean helped me with communication amongst the staff. I had run some of the meetings and he helped me along the way of building a staff, what he looks for in a staff and things of that nature.”

Marrone took that to Syracuse University and his first prominent head coaching job before taking over at the Buffalo Bills. Then, eventually, he came to Jacksonville and in one season got the whole staff re-vamped and energized and the Jags made the playoffs.

Now, Peyton and Brees will be on the opposing sideline Thursday night at TIAA Bank field.

And preseason game or not, it definitely has significance for the Jaguars boss.

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