April 4, 2020
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Saints coach Sean Payton calls out officials, NFL reviewing coach’s behavior

Saints coach Sean Payton calls out officials, NFL reviewing coach’s behavior The NFL is reviewing the behavior toward the officiating crew Thursday night by New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, who remained steadfast in his criticism Friday. Payton said he has not talked to anyone from the league yet, but he was still fuming Friday afternoon over what he called extremely poor officiating and said the inconsistency and confidence level in officials needs to be improved from the top of the league office. Its frustrating when you have a game, instead of it being decided on the field like its supposed to, you have a crew make so many mistakes in one event, Payton said about the Saints 20-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. An NFL review is standard practice whenever a penalty is issued for unsportsmanlike conduct toward officials. The league can issue fines and even suspensions, if it chooses. Referee Clete Blakemans crew penalized Payton for running onto the field toward field judge Joe Larrew with 1 minute, 5 seconds remaining in the game. Payton said he was trying to call a timeout and then Larrew asked me again.. Payton added: I said, Ive already called the timeout. I probably said it with a little more oomph or vigor than I was supposed to, but I had enough. I gotta be smarter than that.. The Falcons had been facing third down, but Paytons penalty gave Atlanta a first down and essentially ended the game. Of the Falcons 26 first downs Thursday night, 11 came by penalty. I thought the officiating was extremely poor — inconsistent would be a great way to put it, Payton said Friday. I thought that had a lot to do with the way this game ended. If two teams are out there fighting hard, but the calls, as I went through every one of em and the ones that werent called, too many inconsistencies. I think its been a problem all year. And its something thats gonna have to be addressed from a leadership standpoint at the top in our league office.. When asked how the Saints could address the issue with the league, Payton said the teams hands were tied. We just call in, and its wasted energy, Payton said. And its something thats come up with other teams earlier in the year, even some of the replay. Its just a confidence level that has to be improved.. The NFLs review of Paytons behavior comes as it has faced some pressure from the NFL Referees Association to deter both unsportsmanlike conduct and physical contact against officials. On two occasions in the past two weeks, players have knocked officials to the ground. In Week 12, side judge Laird Hayes suffered bruised ribs while trying to break up a fight between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders. In Week 13, Cleveland Browns right tackle Shon Coleman shoved umpire Jeff Rice in the back while running after a loose ball.

David Frank