Saints’ Sean Payton one-ups Falcons coach Arthur Smith in training camp ice cream wars

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Must everything be a competition? Apparently, yes.

We all know there’s no love lost between division rivals in the notoriously cutthroat NFC South, where the Saints and Falcons have long butted heads. Sean Payton, who has been atop the Saints’ chain of command since 2006, wasn’t about to let a first-year coach upstage him, even in a battle of training-camp hospitality.

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Earlier in the week, Falcons coach Arthur Smith treated media members to popsicles after a particularly hot day at the team’s practice facility in Flowery Branch. Not to be outdone by his Atlanta counterpart, Payton accepted the challenge put forth by Times-Picayune columnist Jeff Duncan, responding with a full spread of ice cream for those attending Thursday’s practice at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center in Metairie.

The weather didn’t quite cooperate with rain putting a literal damper on Payton’s peace offering to media members, but it was still a nice gesture and a quiet reminder to Smith that even when it comes to frozen desserts, the Saints mean business.

Somewhere, Doug Pederson is smiling and eating a pint of Häagen-Dazs.

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