Sean Payton Comments on Refs After Saints' Loss to Panthers

Danny Webster@@DannyWebster21Analyst IIIDecember 7, 2015

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton watches in the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)
Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

The New Orleans Saints came close to handing the Carolina Panthers their first loss of the year but fell short Sunday, 41-38, as the Panthers clinched their third straight NFC South title.

After the game, Saints head coach Sean Payton was not in a congratulatory mood, as he had problems with the officiating late in the game, per Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

Jeff Duncan @JeffDuncan_

Saints head coach Sean Payton: “I told myself before coming in here I was not going to comment on the officiating."

But Payton did comment on the officiating. He claimed the Panthers had 12 men on defense on two different occasions. He also felt the refs should have called pass interference against Panthers defensive back Josh Norman on fourth down toward the end of the game, per Duncan.

Evan Woodbery of NOLA.com shared an image of the Panthers having 12 men on the field on offense:

Evan Woodbery @evanwoodbery

Sean Payton's complaints checked out. There was good reason to be fuming about missed calls https://t.co/O8pZtJI2yx https://t.co/AezlvYoNVB

The Panthers and Saints combined for 19 penalties on the afternoon, so it was already a flag-heavy contest without the missed calls. But there were moments when the officiating was questionable—such as a holding call against Saints defensive back Brandon Browner that helped the Panthers score a touchdown.

It's been a frustrating season for Payton and the Saints, who will probably miss the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. But knowing New Orleans had a chance to knock off the undefeated Panthersif these gaffes by the referees appear to be truePayton has a right to express frustration.