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New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton: Possible replay changes must be thoroughly processed

Unintended consequences have to be minimized

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, center, talks with officials before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)

Indianapolis – The decision of what modifications, if any, will occur with the NFL's replay system remains in the shaping stages.

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton, a member of the league's Competition Committee, said the group met Monday through Wednesday at the NFL Combine and made progress on several fronts.

"The process begins like this: The very first week of meetings for the Competition Committee is this week," he said. "They started Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday, and we meet with the coaches, we meet with the officials, we meet with the players union. There's a lot of discussion that really begins that process.

"I thought we had three really good days here. There were a number of things discussed relative to the officiating and replay, but also player health and safety, where the game is going. Now, we'll hone in on it and get a little bit more specific when we go to the spring meetings."

The spring meetings will take place March 24-27 in Phoenix.

Payton said that a decision on expanding replay is one that thoroughly must be discussed and flushed out, and it's not simply a matter of garnering enough votes in order to pass a modification.

Possible replay expansion perhaps reached its hottest point of debate following New Orleans' 26-23, overtime loss to the Rams in the NFC Championship Game. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and league officials agreed that a pass interference penalty should have been assessed to the Rams inside the last two minutes of regulation.

If the penalty correctly had been assessed, the Saints could have milked the clock before attempting a chip-shot, lead-taking field goal while leaving the Rams less than 20 seconds, and no timeouts, with which to attempt to navigate into field goal range to tie the score.

"I think more than anything, you're having discussions on a variety of topics," Payton said. "Some are very easy – some, in a matter of a few minutes, 'Hey, that'll be easy to change.' And there's not a lot of debate or discussion.

"Other topics, when you start talking about replay, you want to make sure specifically, if there's a tweak or a change, there's not something else that is a reactionary event that you look back on and say, 'We weren't thinking about that.' So there's a lot that goes into it. And that's why you sit in a room for a few hours and try to hammer out those things."

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