Saints' Sanders: 'What the heck is going on with these refs?'
Sean Gardner / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders believes NFL officials are mistreating the New Orleans Saints.

"I've never seen the type of calls that they're calling on the team over and over and over," he said on Sirius XM's "17 Weeks" podcast. "I've never been a part of a team where we're the second-most penalized team. Now just being on the sideline, it's weird to see the penalties that happen."

While penalties are down across the league over the first three weeks compared to previous seasons, the Saints remain one of the most frequently flagged teams in the NFL. They're tied with the Dallas Cowboys for the second-most penalties with 24 and trail only the Arizona Cardinals, who have 27.

The Saints had the sixth-most penalties last year. They were tied for the fifth-fewest penalties in 2018, a season that infamously featured a missed call for pass interference in the NFC Championship Game that would have allowed New Orleans to run the clock down and kick a game-winning field goal to clinch a Super Bowl berth. The Saints were extremely critical of the officials after that game.

"I've been in the league 11 years, I've never seen the calls that they make and then the calls that we don't get, you know?" Sanders said. "Like, I see a running back running down the sideline and I see the cornerback get held and I know the refs see it but they don't throw it. Sometimes I sit back and analyze like, 'What the heck is going on with these refs?'"

Sanders, who is in his first season with the Saints, added that New Orleans has faced questionable officiating "for at least the last two weeks."

The Saints enter Week 4 with a 1-2 record after dropping back-to-back games following a season-opening win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Saints' Sanders: 'What the heck is going on with these refs?'
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