New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton confirmed he smashed a fire alarm inside his team's locker room before Sunday's victory at Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium, saying, "I just needed the noise to stop."
Fire alarms had been going off throughout the stadium for an estimated 10 minutes in the hours leading up to the game.
"Clearly we were having issues with the fire alarm at a time relative to 20 minutes, 30 minutes before we're supposed to be out. And it continued, it had gone on for 10 minutes. And I just needed the noise to stop," Payton said.
"And I gladly will take care of the repair cost. And I consider the Brown family (Bengals ownership) and that organization as close allies and people we have a lot of respect for, the same way with Marvin (Lewis). And it was just something that had gone on -- and in order for us as we got ready for the game, I thought that was important."
Payton said it was not a motivational tactic. And he made a sarcastic comment about the damaged alarm, first reported by NOLA.com on Sunday, being a "huge story." The coach also said calling the alarm "destroyed" would be "a little sensationalist."
The loud distraction before the game clearly didn't throw off the Saints on Sunday as they thoroughly dominated the Bengals to win their eighth straight game. https://t.co/rWZMUOT374 pic.twitter.com/1V6L6e5SgK— New Orleans Saints | NOLA.com (@SaintsNOW) November 11, 2018
The broken pieces of the fire alarm could be seen above the players' lockers after the game.
It's unclear if Payton will face any sort of punishment aside from the repair cost. The Bengals said in a statement, "We are aware of the situation and have been in touch with the authorities, but have nothing more on it at this time."