Saints coach Sean Payton was furious over a blind blocking appeal against his team on Thursday night, but after the game he couldn’t say a little.
Payton said he had no explanation for the penalty and was unsure why it was imposed.
“I’m not really familiar with this type of blockage on this situation. It’s not familiar, ”Payton said.
Payton was a member of the league’s competition committee when the NFL extended the blind block rule in 2019, so he surely knows the rule. The fact that he says he’s unfamiliar with the call strongly suggests that he thinks the call was against NFL rules, but he doesn’t say this to avoid a fine.
Since the blind block rule was extended, many strokes that do not appear to meet the definition of “blindside” have become penalties. But if the blocking of Saints tight end Garrett Griffin on Cowboys defensive back Jayron Kearse is considered an illegal block, it should have been explained to Payton.
This should also be explained to NFL fans. The FOX show didn’t do a great job with the appeal, at first not even showing referee Brad Rogers announcing the penalty, then never bringing former NFL chief to officer Mike Pereira to discuss the call. Analyst Troy Aikman blasted the call and said Pereira agreed with him that it was a bad call, but Pereira himself never said a word about it, even though he was on the show.
The NFL officials department also did not explain the call. Although the @NFLOfficiating Twitter account was active during the game and explained why a Dallas interception was confirmed, nothing was explained about the game’s most controversial appeal.
An explanation is in order. Payton and the Saints deserve to know why they were penalized. All 32 teams need to know exactly what will and will not be reported as an illegal blind block. And NFL fans should be able to trust that the games they watch will be called correctly. When the league doesn’t offer an explanation for such a controversial call, it undermines the sport.