New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton turns away as official replay a pass interference in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

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Sean Payton, Mike Zimmer challenge pass interference calls in preseason opener

Amos Morale III
August 10, 2019 - 12:50 am
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The infamous “no call” in last years NFC Championship Game led to the NFL changing replay rules to allow coaches to challenge pass interference calls.

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It didn’t take long for it to be introduced as both Saints coach Sean Payton and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer took advantage of that new regulation and each challenged a play in Friday night’s preseason opener, a 34-25 Saints loss, in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Zimmer threw his challenge flag early in the game hoping the referees would spot an offensive pass interference call on an Alvin Kamara first down catch and Payton threw his when what appeared to be a good defensive play from Saints cornerback Kayvon Webster drew a defensive pass interference penalty.

Both rulings stood. 

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Despite that, Payton said after the game he expects the Saints to be more conservative when it comes to challenging those types of plays.

“In a preseason game, it is a little easier to throw a flag,” he said. “… Being on the competition committee I just know the approach the league’s going to take when they are reviewing. They are going to be pretty conservative. They are going to have to see something pretty substantial to overturn it.”   

The Saints pushed for the rule change after a controversial play in which a St. Louis Rams defensive back appeared to hit a Saints receiver early and was not flagged for pass interference. The “no call” was a contributing factor in the Saints' NFC Championship Game loss and even spurred a lawsuit against the NFL.

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