Sean Payton gives Gayle Benson game ball after Saints win on Sunday, her first as owner – (The Advocate -Saints News) Saints News

A line in the game notes on Sunday revealed something that should have been obvious.

For Gayle Benson, the Saints’ 21-18 win over the Cleveland Browns was her first as an owner, even though she’s been in charge for months since her husband, Tom, died at the age of 90 in March. 

But the fact wasn’t lost on Saints head coach Sean Payton, who had a gift waiting for Benson in the locker room after the win. 

“We talked and gave Mrs. B a game ball,” Payton said. 

Benson, who has presided over a Pelicans’ playoff run and the start of the first Saints season without Tom in more than three decades, has built a rapport with the players on the team thanks to her daily presence on the practice field, habit of leaving clippings of positive news about players in their lockers and other personal touches. 

For the front office, the significance of Sunday’s milestone was at the forefront of their minds. 

“We probably caused the game note,” Payton said. “We were well aware of it and excited for Mrs. B.”

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.

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