Saints Coach Sean Payton Critical of NFL For Failed PI Replay Rule & Bountygate
Appearing on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton did not mince words when discussing the failed PI replay rule as well as bountygate.
After sharing notes regarding his recovery from coronavirus, he was asked about the NFL pass interference replay rule going away after only one season, a season in which the league did a poor job of executing it.
"I think the theory behind what the league voted on certainly had a chance to be successful," said Payton. "But quite honestly we weren't ready in New York (NFL officiating headquarters). And I know that sounds critical, but that's just a fact."
It's hard to argue with Payton's point.
Coaches, fans, players, and analysts alike were perplexed by the league's inability to properly enforce the rule on both an interpretation and execution of the rule.
Payton was a catalyst in the creation of the rule after the Saints were screwed by a hellacious non-call on an obvious pass interference call late in the 2018 NFC Championship game, likely costing New Orleans an appearance in the Super Bowl.
Coach Payton was also blunt when asked about a recent story surrounding former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison claiming on the Going Deep podcast Steelers coach Mike Tomlin gave him "an envelope" following his vicious hit on Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi in 2010. The insinuation being the envelope had money in it.
Harrison was fined $50,000 for the illegal hit.
In the summer of 2011, the NFL suspended coach Sean Payton for the entire 2012 season, GM Mickey Loomis for half the season, and assistant coach Joe Vitt for 6 games. Greg Williams, who had recently been replaced as Saints defensive coordinator at the time, was suspended indefinitely.
Payton lost $6 million in salary during the suspension.
The league also suspended 4 Saints players for various amounts of time, but all 4 had their suspensions vacated after a lengthy appeals process, having support from the NFLPA. The process was not overseen by commissioner Roger Goodell, but rather, former commissioner Paul Tagliabue who was called in to serve in the matter.
As time passed, it became more evident the league was misleading about their investigation into the Saints regarding a bounty program in which defensive players were paid to hurt players on opposing teams.
Will the league look into Harrison's claim of "an envelope" from Tomlin?
"If people are waiting for the league to investigate that, they shouldn't hold their breath," Payton explained in the interview. "I think what took place with us back in 2011 in so many ways was a sham. And yet there wasn't a lot we could do with it. You know, the players were vindicated. But from a league or coaching standpoint, there's no union, no representation."
"That'll be something that's tucked away or under the rug at Park Avenue (NFL headquarters)," Payton added. "They'll look into it briefly. Listen, don't get me started on that. I lost $6 million in salary. And honestly, it was something that I'll never truly get over because I know how it was handled and how it was run and the reasons behind it. And that's just the truth."