So Sean Payton is pissed off about all the penalties in last night's Saints preseason win over the Titans 31-24. Rightly so. He should be considering the Saints had a whopping 22 penalties for 184 yards. Those numbers are ridiculous.
All of those penalties are the reason why the Saints were only up by seven points in the middle of the fourth quarter despite five turnovers. Payton was quick to point out that fun nugget of truth following the game. Penalties can suck the life out of an otherwise talented team.
So I've got to imagine Payton must be most upset with Jimmy Graham, who racked up two completely unnecessary 15-yard Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalties, for dunking the ball over the goalpost after his two touchdowns. Those yards turned into poor field position on the ensuing kickoff. Whether he intends to or not, Graham puts himself ahead of the team when he does that.
Surely there was some communication between Graham and Payton before the game about the possibility of taking a penalty. I've got to imagine the conversation went a little like this:
Graham: Hey coach, just letting you know if I get in that end zone I'm still gonna dunk the ball.
Payton: That's cool, it'll give the special teams guys a little extra work and more chance for us to evaluate. But just this one game, Jimmy.
Graham: You got it, coach. Thanks.
Payton: Alright. F*** Goodell.
Graham: F*** Goodell.
It might not have gone exactly like that. There might have been another "F*** Goodell" in there at some point, but you get the idea.
Hey I get it. It's preseason, the first game back in the Dome, a contentious off-season, first touchdowns of 2014, yada, yada, yada. I'm not mad with Graham's selfishness. Not yet anyway.
I just want to know if this is going to become a regular occurrence. Because as much as I love a good old Jimmy Graham touchdown and celebratory goalpost dunk, there's something I like more: winning. Unfortunately, thanks to you-know-who, those two things no longer mix well together. So the dunking really needs to become a preseason only tradition. Because that stuff's not gonna fly with me when it's late in the 4th quarter of a close game that counts.
Ya feel me?