Eagles DB Malcolm Jenkins did not appreciate a go-for-it call by his former coach last Sunday, and the camera caught him flipping off coach Payton.
Early in the fourth quarter, the New Orleans Saints were facing fourth-and-6 at the Eagles 37-yard-line leading by 31 points, which meant that they were too close to punt and a bit far from going for a field goal. So, coach Sean Payton took the easiest choice – although maybe not the most correct one sportsmanship-wise – and let his offense on the field. Drew Brees connected with running back Alvin Kamara and converted for a touchdown.
After the play, Jenkins – who was covering Kamara one-on-one – flipped the finger in the direction of the Saints sideline, more specifically to Sean Payton.
However, the Eagles defender told NBC Sports Philadelphia that he talked with coach Payton after the game and there are no hard feelings, adding that he has high praise for him.
"We talked after the game,” Jenkins said. “It's all good. I know Sean. They're going to go for it. I was more so upset that it was on me," Jenkins said. "I got a lot of respect for what they're doing, especially Sean."
"I'm a competitor. I love Sean to death. I know what type of guy and coach he is. That was more so personal between me and him."
While the call to go for it felt unnecessary, it seems that New Orleans just wanted to make a statement, showing the whole league that they are the most powerful offense in the league and they will not have mercy on anybody until they win the Super Bowl.
Payton said that he didn’t want to take his foot off the pedal when there was nearly an entire fourth quarter ahead of him. Besides, he admitted having high praise upon his former player as well, pointing out that letting Jenkins go was one of the worst mistakes that the franchise has made in 13 years. Jenkins played for the Saints from 2009 to 2013, helping them win the Super Bowl in the 2009-2010 season as a rookie.
"I think the world of him. He's a tremendous player," Payton said. "I hate that he got out of here. That was probably as big a mistake as we've made here in 13 years. He's made up of all the right things, and he's a tremendous competitor."
Sunday’s game was a rough night for the Eagles, which actually turned into the worst loss ever by a defending champion.