Look, I understand that the league has rules about publicly criticizing officials (feel free to rip away behind close doors, however -- it's encouraged, even!) but fining Saints head coachSean Payton for some vague comments about a humongous no-call in last week's loss to the Broncos -- Denver's Jamie Winborn was absurdly offsides on a critical third and 1 late in the fourth quarter -- is sorta dumb.
First, the $15,000 comments (from Payton's Monday press conference):
"There are some things that are frustrating about the game that don't sit well. When you guys take a peek at the television copy and I see a no-call, that's that much of a violation, I have a hard time swallowing that, because at some point there's a decision made to say I'm just not throwing the flag. At least that's how it appears to me. It's not a judgment call. You're either offsides or you're not. I have a problem with that."
And this was after Jones went on a Dallas-area radio show to tell Hochuli to "keep that whistle out your mouth."
Unless it went unreported, the NFL didn't fine Jones, even though most reasonable people would agree that his words were more critical than anything that came out of Payton's mouth.
But, hey, rulz is rulz ... unless you're Jerry Jones, apparently. Maybe next time Payton should make his remarks less nebulous and more personal -- and on the radio. I think that's the key.
Or maybe the officials can just do their jobs and we can avoid all this. I mean, it's one thing for Hochuli to inadvertently blow the whistle -- that happens, fine -- but it's something entirely different for an official to ignore the fact that a player is hanging out in the neutral zone, and makes the conscious decision to not throw a flag.
Whatever, Payton's appealing the fine. I'd like to think common sense would prevail here, but, well, I'm skeptical.