Sean Payton: Saints will 'never get over' blown pass interference call

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Opening Statement
“Obviously it’s a disappointing way to lose a game. It’s frustrating. Just getting off the phone with the league office. They blew the call and… Man there were a lot of opportunities though. That call puts in first and ten. We’re on our knee three plays (and kicking a field goal) and it’s a game changing call. That’s where it’s at so it’s disappointing. Credit the Rams. They made enough plays though. They won the game. The kicker made some big kicks. But for a call like that not to be made. Man, it’s just hard to swallow and then to get a phone call. So what do you do? You get back up. You start going to work. This will be a tough one for these players. For the coaches. Again the Rams did a great job. It was a well-fought game. Hard-fought game, but… Any questions?”

On what kind of explanation the league gave him in regards to the no call for pass interference:
“It was simple. They blew the call. It should never have not been a call. They said not only was it interference, it was helmet to helmet.”

On if he called the league office or if the league office called him:
“We spoke initially. Then I called to follow up. First thing Al (Riveron) said when I got on the phone. They messed it up and…But we went to these league meetings. We sit as an ownership group and we don’t further evaluate the replay system. It’s just too much at stake. Listen, it’s a hard job for those guys because it’s happening fast, but I don’t know if there was ever a more obvious pass interference call that, here it is the NFC championship game. Tough one to swallow.”

On the explanation he was given by the field official:
“The normal, “hey we talked, they arrived at the same time.” That kind of thing.”

On play-calling adjustments since playing them previously as well as Josh Hill’s injury:
“A little bit. Look, we knew the last seven weeks this team had really shifted defensively to more of zone principles. It was a lot more zone coverage. It’s some brackets. But his concussion affected us some and yet and it’s part of the in game process of us dealing with it.”

On the defense’s ability to make big plays to stop teams at the end of the game:
“They played well. Our team played well, well enough to win the game. We should have (won).”

On how he will get over this situation on New Orleans’ final full offensive drive of regulation:
“It’s tough to get over it. My problem with it was, I just don’t know. If we were playing pick-up football in the backyard, the team that threw the foul… I mean it was as obvious a call… And how two guys can look at that and arrive with their decision. It happened though so, you can’t dwell on it. We will probably never get over it. The truth is some of these losses like this (are impossible to get over). One like that, it’s too bad.”

On what he says to the team after a loss like that:
“It’s disappointing. Man I was proud of these guys. This is a… It’s been a great season. It’s a great group of guys that’s worked extremely hard. And you come off a tough loss like we did last year and fight back and put ourselves right in this position. Right there in position inside the ten-yard line to go to the Super bowl. I’m proud of every one of them.”

On dealing with a situation like this, especially considering people like Ben Watson’s career finishing on a game like this:
“Listen there’s a finality to the last time this team plays together. So that’s part of it.”

On whether he worries about how people view the NFL after a call like that:
“Next question.”

On the missed opportunities in the first half:
“Those two red zone possessions, we ended up with field goals. We will obviously pay attention to all of those.”

On what He saw during Drew Brees’ overtime interception play:
“Well it’s hard to see on field level. He got hit as he threw it.”

On his opinion of whether replays should be included on plays like the third-and-ten play on New Orleans’ final full drive of regulation to see if there is a foul on a play:
“We all want to get it right? I mean we have the technology where we… We have plenty of technology to speed things up. Look I’m on the competition committee. So hopefully that provides a voice. Man I hope no other team has to lose a game the way we lost that one today. We were in position. Like I said, being right there on the ten-yard line. Whatever yard line. Be on a knee for three plays (and kick a field goal). It’s disappointing.”

On the difficulty of dwelling on the third and ten situation in New Orleans’ final full drive of regulation when going in to overtime:
“It’s difficult but we shifted gears and here we go.”

On his choice to pass on the first down during that final full drive of regulation:
“It was a run to begin with. We got a zero blitz out of it. That’s a good question. I’m sorry. I thought you were talking about overtime.”

On if the pass on first down was a check by Drew Brees in-game:
“It’s kind of a built in play that handles some of the zero blitz.”

On what was said to Sean McVay after the game:
“Oh yeah. Listen afterwards, I congratulated him. He’s a great young coach. (He’s) Someone I consider a friend. There’s a lot of close relationships to guys on this staff. Those guys did a great job.”

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