Saints coach Sean Payton opened up about the NFC Championship game Wednesday during his mandatory end-of-season press conference and revealed how he handled the disappointing loss to the Rams after controversy late in the game.
But how did Payton deal with the infamous no-call on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman that prevented the Saints from advancing to the Super Bowl? He revealed he “ate Jeni’s ice cream and watched Netflix for three straight days.”
Payton explained the anger from that call lasted about 24 hours and he felt disappointed after that, though he did give credit and gratitude to NFL’s head of officials, Al Riveron, for being “fantastic” and “brutally honest” immediately following the Saints’ 26-23 overtime loss to the Rams on Jan. 20. Riveron admitted to Payton after the game that the officials “blew the call.”
In the days following the loss, Payton said he spoke with commissioner Roger Goodell and executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent to discuss the play and whether the NFL would release a statement. Payton had already accepted nothing could be done to reverse the call.
“My discussions briefly on Monday and Tuesday with the commissioner and Troy were relative to — not any type of reversal or anything like that — just the play and any statement,” Payton told reporters. “But there’s tons of people that reach out to you, you get a ton of text messages and emails, and you’re appreciative of all that, then you just want to disappear into your cave for a little while.”
Payton did say he hopes the league will take what happened to the Saints, learn from it and work to prevent something similar from happening in the future.
“Look, it’s very common in our league for certain events to take place. And then, man, there’s a reaction maybe in the offseason where oftentimes we find our own flaws because of some loophole,” Payton said. “If you look throughout the history of our game — the forward fumble by the Raiders. … (But) the topic’s one thing, the solution is the more challenging thing that we’re all looking for.”
The 55-year-old coach added the Saints are working to get past the anger and disappointment through the team’s strong leadership.
“This one, where it happened in the postseason, we’ve gotta be able to get past that. And we will,” Payton said. “We’ve got good leadership on this team. I don’t know that you ever really get over it but you do get past it. And there’s enough resolve that this time away is healthy. And when it starts back up again in the spring … you get back at it again.”