Sean Payton not surprised to see NFL do away with pass interference challenges

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton | Photo Source: AP Photo / Marcio Jose Sanchez
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (The Advocate) - The rule change the New Orleans Saints championed to allow teams to challenge pass interference penalties is gone after one ineffective season, and coach Sean Payton is not surprised.

In an appearance with Jason La Canfora on WJZ-FM in Baltimore, Payton said he believed the NFL was not properly equipped to implement and enforce the rule properly.

“I think the theory behind it, and what the league voted on — and when I say the league, all 32 teams — certainly it had a chance to be successful,” Payton said. “But quite honestly, we weren’t ready in New York (at the league officiating center) to handle it. I know that sounds critical, but that’s just a fact.”

The Saints fought to bring the rule change to the table after the 2018 season, after a blown non-call late in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship likely cost the team a Super Bowl berth. The rule change was approved by a 31-1 margin by NFL owners.

But the optimism surrounding the rule change was soon gone. Coaches rarely had plays overturned by replay (between Weeks 4 and 11 last year, the success rate on such challenges was 3 %) and there seemed to be no common understanding on what it would take to effectively overturn a call on the field.

That lack of consistency, Payton said, was the biggest issue.

“And if we’re not ready there, then we shouldn’t have it,” Payton said. “I think that’s the feeling that all of us have right now, including myself.”

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