Payton on officiating: 'We need to make more strides'

Print

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has been very vocal in recent days on the need for change in replay and how games are officiated.

Payton, a member of the NFL competition committee, provided perhaps his strongest take on both areas since a blatant missed pass-interference call during the NFC Championship Game contributed to the Saints losing the matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.

"We're not talking about splitting the atom here," Payton said emphatically Tuesday during the Coaches Breakfast with reporters at the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix. "We're an organization that is pretty small, pretty smart and we've made great strides in a lot of areas.

"I just think we need to make more strides in this area relative to not just replay, but relative to what we're saying about the officials. I don't think we're going to see the all-star crews too much."

Payton previously gave his opinion, which wasn't favorable, on the use of all-star officiating crews during an interview with NFL Network's Steve Wyche, and he repeated his stance Tuesday.

When it comes to replay, Payton told reporters that the competition committee proposed an amended rule change (6B) to allow coaches to challenge offensive or defensive pass-interference infractions in the absence of a penalty flag.

"The call has been made, the coach can say, 'That wasn't pass interference, that wasn't defensive pass interference,'" Payton said. "The difference, though, with 6B is no flag is on the field and I can pull my challenge flag out and say, 'That should've been offensive or defensive pass interference.' So, that's unique, but the fact that we're discussing challenging OPI and DPI."

Whether the proposal makes it through remains to be seen, and the voting is scheduled to occur at some point later Tuesday. But Payton was clear in his stance that something needs to change.

The Saints head coach also believes the league will eventually utilize an eighth official upstairs in the booth to help out with egregious missed calls, which Payton said came up during the coaches' discussions.

"We're going to have a point -- not this weekend, not today -- but we're going to have a point where this eighth official up in the booth is going to allow this game to flow," Payton said. "He's going to allow it to flow and he's going to buzz that buzzer when he feels a certain level of mistake has been made. How does that sound? That's going to happen."

Print