Earlier this month, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was one of a few longtime members of the NFL competition committee to step down. And while he never explicitly stated the reason for ending his tenure, it’s widely believed to be related to the league’s new and controversial taunting rules.
After stepping down, Payton said it was “the right time” for him to exit the group, adding “I’ll leave it at that so I don’t get fined.”
On Thursday, the Saints head coach gave some more insight into his frustrations with the committee — specifically regarding the taunting rules and their enforcement.
“I think it’s being over-officiated. … I don’t think any of us who discussed it [on the competition committee] saw it going where it is now,” Payton said on The Dan Patrick Show, per Andrew Perloff.
“I think it’s being over-officiated. … I don’t think any of us who discussed it [on the competition committee] saw it going where it is now.” – Sean Payton discusses taunting on @dpshow
— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) November 18, 2021
The league’s 2021 emphasis on taunting enforcement is one of the most widely criticized rule changes in recent memory.
Clearly, Payton isn’t the only one annoyed by the way officials are enforcing the competition committee’s decision.
That’s because the NFL doesn’t think about anything before they do it at any level of decision-making. It’s the illusion of diligence without the reality of it. Classic NFL. https://t.co/cswra5h0MY
— Terry Wayne Carpenter, Jr. (@TJCarpenterShow) November 18, 2021
This is why we like Sean Payton https://t.co/879oJ96JFi
— lily zhao stan (@paintedcooler) November 18, 2021
So a point of emphasis and giving refs blanket judgment he didn’t think it would be over officiated huh!! https://t.co/ofLxsXnymT
— Carp (@robcarpenter81) November 18, 2021
At least one coach with some standing in the NFL is willing to say what we all clearly see. That the ref interpretations of many rules defy the spirit of why the rule was created. Add in the lack of consistency, balance and the complete disruption in flow and you have a debacle. https://t.co/mIqM13DYrr
— Pat Washington (@pwash86) November 18, 2021
Payton’s comments echo the understanding around the NFL when the season began. The taunting point of emphasis was intended to be a targeted strike against fight-causing behavior, not an across-the-board crackdown on every gesture, posture and staredown. https://t.co/m3VwMMHGna
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) November 18, 2021
Finally, a coach who is against the ridiculous taunting rule. https://t.co/aoZc5ozzum
— Brian Giuffra (@brian_giuffra) November 18, 2021
— Ryan Nodurft (@ItsBeardFace) November 18, 2021
Sean Payton’s biggest qualm with the new regulations seems to stem from a lack of consistency amongst officiating crews.
“It’s kind of like roughing the passer, I don’t think all 17 crews are on the same page,” he said earlier this season.
In addition to Payton, Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy and Broncos president of football operation John Elway also stepped down from the competition committee. They were replaced by Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, Colts head coach Frank Reich and Dolphins GM Chris Grier.
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