Sean Payton made it clear he didn’t want his players fighting during their work against the Patriots.
But according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, Payton also didn’t let the league off the hook for its role in what looks like a small epidemic of fights in camp.
“You guys watched it last night,” Payton said of Tuesday’s Cowboys-Rams rumble. “For as much as we’re harping about avoiding it, hell, the network puts it on 11 times.”
He didn’t mention a specific network, but the NFL itself does happen to run one, and it’s commonly referred to as “the network” by many of those who work for and around “the shield.”
So maybe Payton meant NBCSN. Or ESPN. Or, heck, maybe Lifetime.
But what is clear is that fights draw eyeballs, and as long as the NFL Network is in that business as well, then they’re complicit in the outbreak, which they want to sound so concerned about.
But Payton also mentioned the recent Houston-Washington brawl on “Hard Knocks,” another venture the league has a stake in (via NFL Films and HBO).
“It’s a big reason why we’re practicing with them [Patriots] a third time,” Payton said. “We know it’s gonna be about improving both teams. We’re both trying to do the same thing at this period of training camp.
“That’s unfortunate when you see it happen with other teams. And clearly when you put a team on television like “Hard Knocks” and then practice with someone else, we’ve seen that formula happen two years in a row. So that’s nothing new.”
And neither is the fact television networks will run the footage on a loop, since it’s more interesting than most anything else they can show from a football practice.