Saints being criticized for postgame photo opp Monday night
The New Orleans Saints are doing their best to downplay some celebrating Monday night in the Georgia Dome after they upset the Atlanta Falcons to remain in contention for the NFC South title.
Saints coach Sean Payton and linebacker Jonathan Vilma say too much is being made of a little get-together at the middle of the field for a picture where at least one player, Remi Ayodele, told Pete Prisco of CBS Sports that he “pissed on the Falcons logo.”
“The only thing I'm surprised about is that they were so quick to put a negative spin on it," Vilma said, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "For us, it was a group of guys, we clinched a playoff berth. That was huge. These are memories for us to have for years down the road. We wanted to take that picture.
"It had nothing to do with Atlanta. It had nothing to do with showing them up in their home stadium. It had nothing to do with that. It was us being happy. We're in the playoffs. We wanted a picture. Same thing we did in Dallas. We won the Thanksgiving game. I had never done that before. Won the Super Bowl, you take a picture. You have milestones in your career that you want to remember, and you take pictures regardless of the stadiums. I was just surprised at the negative spin they put on it. Aside from that, I don't care."
But when a player claims he pissed on the logo – even if he didn’t – it can’t sit well with the opposition. That’s totally understandable. The Falcons don’t want to see the Saints taking some trophy – imaginary or not – out of their building either.
"It's something the linebackers have done for a while here," Payton said. "It's always done with respect and after the game and they've gone out. If you go into our linebacker meeting room, there's pictures there with their families.
"There are pictures of the Super Bowl. There are pictures after a big win at Dallas, but it's always after the teams leave the field -- and it's never in any way, shape or form meant at all to be disrespectful.”
And a win at Atlanta in Week 16 is not a Super Bowl win.
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune