Yahoo- New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton declared at his postgame news conference that he told himself before he came in that he wouldn't comment on the officiating.
Payton was upset because he said there were two 12-men-in-the-huddle violations that weren't called on the Panthers. He was also angry with the officials on the field about no pass interference being called on a Panthers cornerback on a final fourth-down heave in the final seconds, according to Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
"I'm not going to get into the officiating. I said walking in this door I was not going to get into it," Payton said, before pausing about two seconds. "It happened twice. 12 on the field. Clearly. They're getting that right on Friday nights. Next question."
I am not here to take the side of the officials. This year, as has become the norm in the NFL, they have been pretty porous. So no, I am not surprised that Sean Payton has a legitimate gripe about the Carolina Panthers having 12 men in the huddle, or in on the play, two, or three, or twelve times. There's bad calls, and bad non-calls, in every game. That doesn't make it right, but it's certainly true. The problem I have with Sean Payton voicing his frustrations is that there is so much wrong with the actual product on the field that I don't need him taking time out of his day to discuss the factors that are not within his control. This team went from 1-4, to a "promising" 4-4, to a demoralizing 4-8 in the blink of an eye. That doesn't happen because of a couple of missed calls. That doesn't happen because a team wasn't flagged for a few pre-snap penalties. After all, as far as I or my Twitter account can remember, nearly every single time the Panthers backed themselves by taking penalties, they immediately followed the loss in yardage by gaining a first down or scoring a touchdown...
So maybe Sean Payton owes the officials a 'thank you' for not putting his opponent in a tougher down-and-distance, because on Sunday the Carolina Panthers made overcoming every tough spot look easy. I'd rather have the referees miss a call and give up a touchdown pass on 2nd-and-10, instead of having them back up 5 yards and throw that very same touchdown pass on 2nd-and-15. At least that's slightly less embarrassing. With the way this circus of a defense, led by it's ring leader Brandon Browner, has performed this season, 'slightly less embarrassing' is basically our best rendition of the '85 Bears. I'll give you a pass for missing a couple calls this time stripes, because even though you are barely even living up to the standards of a high school official, this Saints defense barely even belongs on a high school field. So while I appreciate Sean Payton defending his team, he might want to worry about fielding a team for which a 5 yard penalty stands even a slight chance of making a difference before he does.
P.S. This is comedic. I wish I wasn't so desensitized by terrible defense so I could actually let myself get fired up about it.....