Sean Payton: Status quo means NFL “comfortable with what happened”

Charean Williams
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Neither of the Competition Committee’s two versions of a modified expansion of replay would address what happened in the NFC Championship Game. Both would allow only for reviews of plays where a flag was thrown.

A chance also exists that owners could do nothing or they could vote on a different version of expanded replay. No one seems certain.

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Saints coach Sean Payton, a member of the Competition Committee, told NFL Network that if the league doesn’t make a change “then ownership is saying they’re comfortable with what happened a year ago.”

Payton also wants officials to become full time.

His comments to the league’s network — his strongest to date — come on the heels of owners’ vote.

“There are a handful of things that we’ve got to be better at right now,” Payton said on NFL Network, via Mike Triplett of ESPN. “Our best at playing and our best at coaching are spending 20 hours, 18 hours a day. Our best at officiating, it’s their second job. That has to change, because it’s too hard. There’s too much at stake for someone who’s a teacher at a school, who’s a florist, an attorney. That’s backward thinking.

“And really as we move forward into the next 10 years, for instance, of our game, where do we want officiating? With all of the technology we have available to us, our fans are closer to the game, our fans are way more in tuned and educated as to the correct calls in the game. And we just need to be better.”

It’s out of Payton’s hands now. The Saints have only one vote, and any rules change needs 24 of 32 to pass.

“I can’t control that,” Payton said. “In other words, you can only get so upset and so angry. But if not, it tells you to some degree — look, there’s part of you that believes that there are those in television that think that drama [of a missed call] is perfect. That’s hard to take, but there are those that believe that.

When asked about those who insist the Saints got “robbed” when officials failed to throw a flag on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman on his hit on Tommylee Lewis late in the NFC Championship Game, Payton said, “Put me in that number.”

“But the idea that we’re discussing it today and that we’re having this impactful discussion today would get back to that group that says, ‘Hey, people don’t want to [tune] into a car race with no bumps or crashes. People don’t want it to be finely-tuned,” Payton said. “Hey, I understand that line of thinking. But we’ve got to get that corrected, I think, though. The big errors like that, especially in 2019.”

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