Superdome Received Bomb Threat During Saints-Lions Wild Card Game

Paul Rioux of the NOLA.com is reporting that a Detroit Lions fan called in a bomb threat to the Superdome during the second half of the New Orleans Saints 45-28 playoff win over the Lions on January 7, 2012.

Holy Crap! Did any of you know about this until now?

This story came up in my Fleur-De-Links story search this afternoon, and given the lack of any real Saints news and the bizarro nature of this crazy action, I felt it merited its' own feature.

And you won't believe this: the fan who did this is a dude named Shawn Payton. Tell you what, real Sean Payton, you'd better get some extra security at Airline Drive and at your Rancho Relaxo spread in Texas.

Make the jump for more details...

The first call (he made more than one!!) came in the third quarter of the game:

A few minutes after tight end Jimmy Graham caught a Drew Brees touchdown pass to extend the Saints lead to 24-14 in the third quarter, the Superdome's Gate F reception desk received a threatening call at 9:12 p.m., according to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court Wednesday.

"I will blow up your building," a man said after confirming that he had reached the Superdome, which was jammed with a capacity crowd of more than 73,000.

Then, almost an hour later...

As the Saints continued lighting up the scoreboard, a second threatening call came in at 10:03 p.m., with a message intended for Saints coach Sean Payton, according to the affidavit by FBI agent Dawn Hofmann, a member of the agency's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

"Hi, I want you to relay a message to the sideline. If your stupid Southern team keeps winning, there will be reper...severe consequences. OK?" a man said after a failed Lions onside kick set the Saints up for a short touchdown drive that would ice the game.

It didn't long for the Federales to sniff this guy out.

FBI agents used phone records to trace the calls to Shawn H. Payton, a Michigan native who moved back to his home state in November after living in Huntsville, Ala....

And apparently, he had no idea this was illegal, and that phone calls can be traced.

Until he was informed by a reporter, Payton said he was unaware that a warrant had been issued for his arrest on charges of making threatening phone calls.

"I'm scared," he said. "I hope they realize that I didn't mean it and that I'm taking steps to get counseling."

Maybe Dr. Melfi could help him out.

You'd think this kind of thing might involve alcohol, but Shawn Payton didn't need any of that...

"I don't drink, and I don't do drugs. From time to time, I do get frustrated and go off without meaning it," he said. "I let some words fly out of my mouth, and I sincerely apologize. I will never ever, ever, ever do anything like that again."

I think a few of us here can understand that. He apologized more deeply, too.

"I'm not a bad person. I was just so proud of the Lions finally making the playoffs for the first time in God knows how long," he said. "I got caught up in the heat of the moment, and I seriously, highly regret making those calls."

Poor guy's in the middle of a challenging stretch...

Payton, who said he recently got a job as a McDonald's cook, said he's had a rough couple of years, starting with injuries suffered in a "near-fatal" car crash in 2009 that required four months of therapy before he could walk again. He said he's also in a long-distance battle with his daughter's mother in Alabama over visitation rights.

The story concludes with a run-down of other recent examples of fans behaving badly...

An Alabama fan was arrested on sexual assault charges after he pressed his testicles on the neck of an unconscious LSU fan in a Bourbon Street burger joint after the Jan. 9 BCS Championship Game.

An argument over a Jan. 14 playoff game between the Saints and 49ers allegedly led to the shooting of two men in a restaurant parking lot in suburban Atlanta. And at the game itself, San Francisco police made 23 arrests, including a felony battery in which the victim suffered a broken nose.

And there you have it. Let's talk about this some more in the comment section...

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