Sources: Saints' Payton fined $15K by NFL for criticizing officiating

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has been fined $15,000 for his comments critical of officiating during the team's 34-32 loss to the Denver Broncos last Sunday, league and team sources said Saturday.

Payton is expected to appeal the fine, a team source said. He was critical in his Monday press conference, citing an obvious error in which Broncos linebacker Jamie Winborn appeared to be lined up in the neutral zone on third and 1 with 2:40 left to play.

There was no penalty called, which would have given the Saints a first down at the Denver 19-yard line with a little more than two minutes to play. The Saints lost a yard on the play and Martin Gramatica missed a 43-yard field goal in the two-point loss.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all clubs this week, clarifying league policy on criticism of game officials.

He told teams the league welcomes criticism but only in private communication with the league office. Public criticism will result in disciplinary action, the commissioner said.

Chris Mortensen is a Senior NFL Analyst for ESPN.