LANDOVER, Md. -- Had the New Orleans Saints won, they could have celebrated both the victory and Sean Payton's new contract.
As it was, word that the team's owners had given the coach an extension through the 2012 season was merely some good news that tempered a sour day.
"I'm grateful to the Saints and the Benson family for that opportunity and the confidence they have in myself," Payton said following Sunday's 29-24 loss to the Washington Redskins. "And we're going to work our tail off to bring a championship to this city, but we've got a lot of work to do."
Payton's deal was confirmed by the team before kickoff. He was already signed through 2009, so the new agreement adds three years to his contract.
"I wish we could've won the game for him on the day he got his contract extended," running back Reggie Bush said. "But it was a tough game, tough loss. But obviously that's great for him."
Payton, in his third season with the Saints, went 17-15 his first two years and took the team to the NFC Championship Game in 2006. The loss to the Redskins dropped this year's record to 1-1.
"I love his style of offense and I love his aggressiveness and just his leadership," quarterback Drew Brees said. "All those things that you want in a head coach, he's got it. He's played the quarterback position before, so I just felt like we were right there on the same page with everything, so he was a big part of why I came to New Orleans."