Saints coach Sean Payton confirmed he dispatched a fire alarm at Paul Brown Stadium prior to Sunday's road game against the Bengals.
According to Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Payton told the media during a phone interview on Monday that he did in fact smash a fire alarm in the middle of the visitor's locker room. The alarm, Payton said, had been going off for about ten minutes a few hours before kickoff.
"I will confirm I destroyed a fire alarm before the game," Payton said. "Destroyed would be a little bit sensationalist. Clearly we were having issues with a fire alarm. I just needed the noise to stop."
The alarms went off just as the Saints were preparing to take the field for their initial pre-game warmups. Payton said he wanted his team to remain focused and took matters into his own hands. The Bengals notified authorities on Sunday but declined to provide NOLA.com with a comment on Monday.
Payton added that damaging the alarm was not a motivational play.
“Gladly, we’ll take care of the repair cost and I consider the Brown family and that organization as close allies and people we have a lot of respect for and the same way with (coach) Marvin (Lewis)," Payton said.
While smashing a fire alarm meets the definition of criminal mischief in Ohio, it is unclear whether Payton will be penalized by county prosecutors for the incident.
It is also still unclear what caused the fire alarms to go off throughout the stadium. The Saints ended up defeating the Bengals 51–14 on Sunday despite the disturbance.