Sean Payton Admits He’s “Cynical” About League Office: “I Think It Starts With Roger”

After a year-long hiatus from the NFL, Sean Payton is recharged and reenergized as he heads into his first season as head coach of the Denver Broncos.

Known as arguably the most honest head coach in the entire league, Payton is never one to beat around the bush.

In a recent interview with ESPN, Payton lived up to his reputation and spoke exactly what was on his mind while pulling no punches whatsoever. 

“I’m cynical when it comes to New York,” Payton told ESPN’s Seth Wickersham in reference the NFL’s league office. 

This skepticism, it turns out, stems from Payton’s final months with the Saints, during which he had a bone to pick with the league office. According to Payton, a study of penalties called against each NFL team in the prior four seasons revealed an alarming pattern for the Saints. They ranked 30th, 31st, 32nd, and 32nd in penalties called against their opponents.

Payton implied that this statistic was a reflection of the league’s bias against his Saints.

“When we presented our findings to the league office, there was no response,” Payton recounted.

Taking his suspicion to the highest level, Payton suggested that the issue might originate with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell himself. However, he stopped short of accusing Goodell of deliberately targeting the Saints.

Instead, Payton posited that the Saints contentious history, particularly the “bounty-gate scandal” of 2012, had turned them into a pariah at Park Avenue. This animosity, he suggested, could have permeated various departments within the NFL, including the officiating department, leading to a lack of penalties called against the Saints’ opponents.

“I think it starts with Roger (Goodell),” Payton said.

Payton admitted that the persistent feeling of the odds being stacked against him and his team had worn him down.

“I got tired,” Payton confessed to Wickersham. “There was a feeling, I would say on my part, of losing the jump balls in this game. You know? Success or lack of success with the Saints is a blip on the NFL.”

Payton’s candid comments about Goodell and the league office have raised eyebrows, especially given the potential implications for his current team, the Denver Broncos.

Some view Payton’s words as a warning shot to the league office and game officials, signaling his willingness to call out any bias if the trends from his tenure with the Saints continue with the Broncos.

In the story, Payton also spoke about his ongoing process of changing the culture in Denver and how it starts with fixing the heavily-criticized Russell Wilson.

“Will you f*cking stop kissing all the babies? You’re not running for public office,” Payton said in reference to Wilson needing to stop focusing on his brand and “Russell Inc,” and instead devote his entire attention on football. 

Do you think Payton has a point about Goodell and the league office? Or is he just being paranoid?

How do you think he will do in Denver?

Will he fix Wilson and get him back on track? Or is he washed for good?