Saints head coach Sean Payton is continuing to bang the drum for improving officiating, and he has an idea that goes beyond expanding instant replay.
Payton wants the league to stop using “all-star” officiating crews in the postseason and instead use the same crews who worked together for 16 games during the regular season. Payton says that when his team was on the wrong end of a missed pass interference call in the NFC Championship Game, the two closest officials, who had never worked together before, failed to communicate properly.
“I don’t think we’re gonna see the all-star crews as much,” Payton said. “On that specific play, we watched a young official acquiesce to a veteran official. It’s the first time they were working together.”
Payton also said he thinks the postseason officiating assignments are based too much on seniority and not enough on an official’s grades.
“The referee has to be five years a ref before he can work the Super Bowl. What if he’s Patrick Mahomes the referee? What if he’s the best in Year 2?”
Payton also noted that the NFL won’t assign the same referee to two consecutive Super Bowls, and he said they should if a referee grades out the best in consecutive years.
“When’s the last time we had back-to-back referees work the Super Bowl? I know we’ve had back-to-back quarterbacks, we can’t get Brady out of this game, but if the best referee truly was the best, let’s just hypothetically say, last year, this year, let’s say he had a three-year run,” Payton said, then he should get to referee three straight Super Bowls.
Payton raises good points, points that we’ve raised before. The two best teams are on the field in the Super Bowl, and they ought to have their game officiated by the best crew.