When the NFL outlawed the goalpost dunk, Saints tight end Jimmy Graham vowed to lead the league in penalties. While he’ll have competition from defensive backs throughout the league, Graham got off to a good start on Friday night.
Two touchdowns, two dunks, two flags for Graham. And one pissed off coach.
Payton said nothing to Graham after the first one. Payton apparently said something to Graham after the second. Payton definitely said something to the media afterward.
“Yes, I was [upset],” Payton told reporters, via Nick Underhill of the Baton Rouge Advocate. “I’m very upset. Would you be upset? I was, particularly.”
In all, the Saints had 22 penalties. But the most avoidable came from Graham, who simply needs to not continue to do that which became illegal after he knocked a goalpost askew in Atlanta during a regular-season game in 2013.
Even if Graham’s defiance of the rules and his coach ends now, it’ll likely be costly. Under the 2014 fine schedule, a first offense unsportsmanlike conduct foul costs $11,025. A second offense costs $22,050. If the league decides to send a message to Graham, he could be donating $33,075 to the various charities that receive the fine money collected throughout the season.
Ongoing defiance would get more costly. But it’s likely that Graham won’t have to worry about testing the NFL’s limits; Graham already has exceeded his coach’s.