Saints head coach Sean Payton told NFL Network that officiating needs to be "better" following a botched call that cost the Saints a Super Bowl berth.
Payton was referring to the missed pass interference call in the Saints game loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship, and he added officials should be hired on a full-time basis instead of part-time. In the interview, Payton also discussed why he isn't a fan of the all-star officiating crews that are used for playoffs.
"There are a handful of things that we've got to be better at right now," Payton said during an interview at the league meetings in Phoenix. "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."
Payton is a on the NFL's competition committee, which has proposed expanded replay for pass interference.
The no-call came with under two minutes left in the game. With the Saints facing third-and-10 on the Rams' 13-yard line, quarterback Drew Brees threw an incomplete pass to Tommylee Lewis. The Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman broke up the pass but appeared to make contact with Lewis well before the pass came. Without what should've been a penalty against Los Angeles, the Rams got the ball back, kicked a game-tying field goal before beating the Saints 26–23 in overtime.
The Patriots beat the Rams to win Super Bowl LIII.