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Sean Payton upset with Jimmy Graham over goal post dunks

The NFL has banned dunking on goal posts this season, and Jimmy Graham has already been very vocal in expressing his displeasure over the rule change. On Thursday night, the New Orleans Saints tight end decided to make a point by accepting two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after scoring touchdowns. Sean Payton was not pleased about it.

Graham caught five passes for 48 yards and two touchdowns in a preseason win over the Tennessee Titans. He dunked the ball on the goal posts both times he got into the end zone. Payton was asked if that made him “particularly upset.”

“Well, would that make sense? Would you be upset?” Payton said, via ESPN.com. “Yeah, I was. Particularly.”

After Graham’s second penalty, Payton ran over to him and was seen lacing into him. Both Graham and Calvin Johnson have said they still plan to dunk on the goal posts during the 2014 season, but we have to assume neither player will do it in the regular season.

Saints offensive lineman Zach Strief, who tried to calm Graham down during his argument with Payton, is operating under the same assumption.

“I understand Jimmy’s frustration with that rule change. I understand what he’s doing,” Strief said. “And yet it’s something, look, if this is a regular-season game, Jimmy’s not dunking over the goalpost. Coach Payton was completely, I think, correct to jump on him. Any of us, I think would expect it. I think Jimmy probably expected it.”

Had it not been for Graham bending the goal posts in a game against the Atlanta Falcons last season, the rule probably would not have gone into effect.

Jimmy Graham goal posts

Personally, I think the NFL is hurting their product by being too strict with celebration penalties. I get why Graham is angry about it, but I also understand Payton’s perspective. The preseason is supposed to simulate the regular season. Intentional penalties might make it harder for the coaching staff to evaluate players on special teams, with the ball being kicked from the 20 yard line instead of the 35. That’s probably why Payton was angry.

GIF via GIFD Sports

Sean Payton: Much better at calling offensive plays than operating binoculars

Sean Payton binoculars

So this might explain why the New Orleans Saints have so much trouble scouting defensive players. Memo to Sean Payton: When operating binoculars, you look through the little end and out the big end.

H/T SB Nation

Sean Payton reportedly agrees to new contract with Saints

Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints reportedly have agreed on a contract that will keep the head coach with the team for the next few years, FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer first reported.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter says the deal is for five years, while CBS Sports’ Mike Freeman says the compensation is in the ballpark of Bill Belichick’s $7.5 million salary per season.

There had been speculation the past few months that Payton, who was suspended for the season because of the bounty scandal, might leave New Orleans after a contract extension he and the team had agreed upon was rejected by the league. Payton was mentioned in connection with with the Dallas Cowboys job, but Jerry Jones appears set to retain Jason Garrett as his head coach.

Payton has been with the Saints since 2006 and has gone 67-37 with them. He has led the team to four playoff appearances, including a Super Bowl win.

Without Payton as coach, the Saints are going through their worst season since an 8-8 finish in 2008. They had gone 37-11 the past three seasons and are 7-8 entering Sunday’s season finale.

After seeing the Saints without Payton, it’s hard to say he’s not worth that kind of money. Drew Brees has thrown the second-most interceptions of his career (18), and he has his lowest completion percentage (62.7%) since 2003. About the only upside to the suspension for Payton, besides having some time off, is that his bank account should see a nice benefit.

Giants P Steve Weatherford doesn’t believe Sean Payton has no contact with Saints

strong>Sean Payton is prohibited from having any contact of any kind with the New Orleans Saints this season. By definition, he is “prohibited from direct or indirect communication of any sort with employees of the 32 clubs, including through third parties; and such prohibited communications shall include, but are not limited to, phone or electronic contact.” While we’re not saying Payton has ever violated those terms, we have no way of knowing for sure.

Many people feel it would be naive to think that Payton hasn’t spoken to his team at any point this season. One of those people is New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford.

“Of course he will get his message to them somehow,” Weatherford and other unnamed Giants reportedly told the NY Times. “I’m not saying anything about Sean Payton as a person or anything, but I think any coach would do that. It’s not like he’s just going to sit at home and watch the games and not have any thoughts. His message will be heard.”

Weatherford could be right. Even if it’s through a person who knows a person who knows a person who talks to an assistant coach, it would not be surprising to hear that Payton somehow gives the Saints feedback after he watches the games. Rick Nelson, a counterterrorism and intelligence expert who works at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the NY Times that there are a number of discreet options Payton could use to keep in touch with the team and there would be “very little” the NFL could do about it.

Whatever the case, the Saints are 5-7 and likely out of the playoff race. Even if Payton has been in contact with the team through some means during the regular season, it clearly hasn’t been enough to make a difference.

H/T Shutdown Corner

Sean Payton gets his freak on with blond girl at club in Bahamas (Video)

Saints coach Sean Payton recently filed for a divorce from his longtime wife, and it looks like he’s not wasting any time moving on. Thirty Mile Zone shared the above video of Payton bumping and grinding on the dance floor of a nightclub at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas last week.

Since he’s suspended from coaching, Payton can afford to take some vacation and go out clubbing in the Bahamas. Even though it’s odd to see an NFL coach out of his usual environment, this video shouldn’t come as a surprise; we’ve shared video in the past of Payton grooving on stage at a Jimmy Buffett concert.

Does this guy know how to party or what?

Saints leaving vacant chair during team activities to honor Sean Payton’s absence

With Sean Payton suspended for the entire 2012 season and expected to remain out of contact with the team, the Saints are facing a serious challenge until next April. The NFL expects Payton to be nonexistent to the team, but that has not stopped the team from honoring him in his absence.

According to the Times-Picayune, the Saints have been leaving a vacant chair at various team functions this offseason and will continue to do so throughout the season. The team leaves an empty seat on buses and plane rides as well as in meetings and other team activities. Interim head coach Joe Vitt, who is suspended for the first six games of the season, says Payton will be missed in the same way any other coaching legend would be missed.

“How would Pittsburgh react if Chuck Knoll was gone?” Vitt asked. “Or how would Dallas react if Tom Landry wasn’t there? Or San Francisco without Bill Walsh? Sean’s put those kinds of numbers up. He has that kind of recognition in the league. Nobody can take his place. … We recognize the challenge we are facing.”

As Shutdown Corner pointed out, Payton has won one Super Bowl to Knoll’s four, Walsh’s three, and Landry’s two. He also has 67 NFL victories whereas Knoll and Walsh each have over 200 and Landry has over 100. Clearly he has not put up “those kind of numbers,” but Vitt is right about his importance to the team.

New Orleans has plenty of talent, but it will take a lot of effort to fill the leadership void left by Payton, Jonathan Vilma and others. It’s going to take a lot more than an empty chair to keep the Saints focused in 2012.

Sean Payton played the bongos for Jimmy Buffett, who wore a ‘Free Sean Payton’ shirt (Video)

Since the NFL announced that Sean Payton has been suspended for a full year as a result of the Saints bounty program, Payton has had plenty of supporters. While the situation is serious, most people seem to believe the punishment for Payton in particular is too harsh. Over the weekend, he may have received his strongest endorsement yet. Payton was a special guest at Jimmy Buffett’s Final Four concert in New Orleans on Sunday night. As you can see from the video that Shutdown Corner shared with us, Buffett even had him hop on the bongos during the song “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.” But wait, there’s more.

Buffett also took the stage at the start of the concert wearing a “FREE SEAN PAYTON” shirt as the crowd went crazy and chanted, “Who dat?” Your move, Roger Goodell. We all know the Commish rules with an iron fist, but can he compete with Margaritaville? Time will tell.

Photo credit: @willbrinson via @buffettworld