Saints Head Coach Sean Payton Slams the NFL for High-Stakes Errors and Taunting Calls by Referees: ‘It’s Being Over-Officiated’

The NFL has been under fire throughout the 2021 season for the lack of consistency by its officiating crews. The league is severely dropping the ball. Fans, players, and coaches alike are growing frustrated with the impact some of the calls are having on the outcome of games. New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton just ripped the NFL for how referees are calling games.

The Saints suffered a controversial loss to the Titans in Week 10

The New Orleans Saints walked away from Week 10 with a crushing defeat at the hands of the Tennessee Titans.

New Orleans trailed 20-6 in the third quarter, but Sean Payton’s squad fought its way back into the game. However, the Saints’ comeback efforts fell just short as they lost 23-21.

The referees had an impact on this game as well. Saints safety Marcus Williams intercepted a Ryan Tannehill pass in the end zone in the second quarter.

Officials called a roughing the passer penalty on New Orleans linebacker Kaden Elliss, ultimately reversing the interception.

The penalty awarded Tennessee a new set of downs, setting up a first and goal from the New Orleans four-yard line.

Elliss hardly roughed Tannehill, and it was an egregious error by the officiating crew. This was yet another example of the referees making bad calls in crucial moments of a game.

Sean Payton rips the NFL for inconsistent officiating

Saints coach Sean Payton leaves field after loss to the Titans
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton walks off the field after a frustrating loss to the Tennessee Titans | Silas Walker/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton wasn’t happy after the narrow loss to the Titans. The Saints are fighting for a playoff spot, so they could ill afford to have the officials make a costly mistake.

Payton recently joined The Dan Patrick Show and weighed in on the crushing Week 10 loss.

“This one, this past weekend, I don’t know that I’ll ever get over it,” he said. “The way the game unfolded. To have some of the things take place that took place, it’s tough. We’ve seen it happen each week with the officiating. That’s the hardest thing to get past.”

Payton blames the league office for the lack of consistency when it comes to officiating. “Those kinds of things can’t happen,” he said. “I look at that more from an overall leadership and training perspective. Those problems start at the top, not at the individual crews. How are 17 crews ever going to be on the same page when there’s a conference call?”

The Saints head man also chimed in on the league’s taunting rule.

“I think it’s being over-officiated,” said Payton. “I sat in on the discussions, and I don’t think any of us that discussed it saw it where it is now.”

While some coaches like Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers and John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens support the NFL’s taunting stance, Sean Payton doesn’t like what he’s seeing.

The league can’t allow referees to dictate the outcome of games

The NFL has a potentially major problem on its hands. Week after week, we’re discussing errors made by officiating crews.

The league put more of an emphasis on taunting and is trying to eliminate excessive acts from the game of football. However, looking at how referees are calling games, it appears to be more of a vendetta.

While taunting rules are good for the game, especially regarding sportsmanship, things are going overboard right now.

Longtime NFL referee Tony Corrente threw a controversial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Chicago Bears defensive end Cassius Marsh for staring down the Pittsburgh Steelers’ sideline. The penalty occurred late in the fourth quarter of the Bears’ Week 9 loss. Chicago stopped Pittsburgh and had a chance to take the lead, but the flag negated it.

Flags like that and the Saints call directly impacted the outcome of the game, and neither act truly warranted a penalty.

Sean Payton’s comments likely reflect the sentiments of others around the league who don’t want to speak out. However, the more it happens, the more outrage the NFL will need to address.

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RELATED: Vikings WR Adam Thielen Puts the NFL on Blast for Their Embarrassing New Taunting Rule: ‘It’s Taking the Fun out of the Game’