Sean Payton says NFL needs full-time officials like other leagues

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said he believes it's "madness" that the NFL doesn't employ full-time officials Tuesday while venting on some of the league's officiating issues during an interview with NBC Sports Radio's "Pro Football Talk Live."

"There aren't many Mondays that go by that there aren't at least 28 to 30 head coaches that are ticked off about certain calls that were missed or weren't made. You see it all the time," said Payton, who referenced the pass interference non-call from the Atlanta Falcons' loss to the Seattle Seahawkstwo weeks ago and a pass interference call on the Saints against the Oakland Raiders in Week 1. "And it's the frustration that the system currently hasn't improved. We say it has, but it hasn't.

"We're the only league that has officials that have primary other jobs, which is really madness. We can pay these guys. They should be full-time NFL officials, and they should be working throughout the week, communicating. And I know they get their hour in here, their hour in there, and maybe even more than that. But by and large, every other sports league employs full-time officials. And ours, these guys all have other significant jobs. And I just think it's very difficult to do with the speed of the game."

Payton said two weeks ago that he believes pass interference calls should be reviewable on replay. But that was hardly his only concern.

The conversation Tuesday began with a question about the Carolina Panthers' complaints that teams aren't being penalized for hitting Cam Newton. Payton also threw in another jab at the NFL's decision to change touchbacks to the 25-yard line, which he said landed like a "lead balloon."

He also talked about his issues with the replay system in general.

Payton said he prefers the college replay system, where an official up in the booth with more technology available can "beep down" into the game if something needs to be reviewed or changed. He said that would help the flow of the game as well as allow officials on the field and coaches to focus on the task at hand.

"Listen, I think we've got a great group of officials. These guys work their tails off. And yet, there are so many things right now that need to be fixed. And I think we as a league need to look at and help 'em," Payton said. "When it comes to the challenge system, when it comes to this red handkerchief with a ball of sand in my pocket and a rubber band around it, and I get to throw two, and if two of 'em are right I get to throw a third. There's a lot of stuff that I don't think is being driven necessarily by what's best for our game. It might be best for television. Those are the things we've got to clean up.

"Because I think the job description they have right now is awfully difficult. ... So we've gotta be better in that area and be more flexible when it comes to replay. I think those are just a handful of thoughts."
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