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Saints head coach Sean Payton calls Thursday night games 'foolish'

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The Super Bowl-winning coach is not happy about the way his team's schedule broke down these past two weeks.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is not happy about playing a Thursday night game after a Sunday night showdown. He made it clear by not making himself or any players available for interviews to NFL Network following the Saints 28-10 win over the Carolina Panthers, according to Katherine Terrell of the Times-Picayune.

Payton was not mad about having to play on Thursday, something every team is scheduled to do throughout the season. Instead, he was upset at the back-to-back schedule that had the Saints travel on the road to Carolina after playing into the wee hours of Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers. Given the already short week, Payton was upset with the loss of an extra half day on Sunday.

Most importantly, Payton insinuated that three players on New Orleans were injured because of the grueling schedule, including running back Mark Ingram (shoulder), receiver Kenny Stills (groin) and offensive lineman Zach Strief (back). Strief was the only player forced from the game permanently.

"I just think it's foolish," Payton said after the Saints' 28-10 win over the Panthers. "I've got three guys that are hurt in there now."

Payton continued to rail against the way the schedule was made, believing the NFL could have done a better job.

"I think the challenges were obvious with regards to logistics," Payton said. "Thursday night games are one thing, but to come out and play on a Sunday night and come back and play on a Thursday. It's not an excuse for your players, you don't want it to be, but I would say it's crazy. It's silly. It shouldn't happen.

"When you actually go through the logistics and see what your players go through, they get out of the stadium Sunday night at midnight. And look, it's an easy thing to fix."

Payton was not the only man in the Saints locker room voicing his opinion on the situation. Veteran tight end Ben Watson also chimed in about the effects the schedule has on a player.

"It is a safety issue," said tight end Ben Watson. "It's just not an ideal situation, especially when you're playing on a Sunday night, and then you turn around and travel."

Payton has been in a bad mood following games before, telling a reporter to be quiet after a 24-23 loss to the Detroit Lions. This time around, it seems Payton had a right to be mad even after a win that vaulted his team into first place in the NFC South.