Saints' Payton voices displeasure with overtime reform, voting
NFL owners voted 28-4 in favor of OT reform; coaches were not present at vote
Payton says NFL snuck new rule in back door by excluding coaches on Tuesday
Goodell: 'This may not come as a news flash ... but the owners have the vote'
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Echoing the feelings of the many coaches unhappy with the new overtime rule, Super Bowl champion coach Sean Payton ripped the reform and how it was implemented at the NFL Meetings Wednesday morning.
"I hate it," Payton, speaking from the annual NFC Coaches breakfast, told me on Sirius NFL Radio. "I'm not a big fan of the rule that was implemented. I'm probably going to have to spend a half-hour explaining it to my wife."
With general managers and coaches out of the room, NFL owners voted 28-4 Tuesday to change overtime rules from simple sudden death to a modified sudden death format. Under the new rules, implemented for the playoffs only as of now, each team will get at least one possession in overtime unless the first possession ends with a touchdown or a safety. If the receiving team in overtime kicks a field goal, the other team will get at least one possession before the game becomes sudden death.
Despite the nearly unanimous support from the owners, Payton's comments indicate that not all in the NFL felt the overtime rules needed fixing.
"The old system was an asset, not a liability," said Payton.
Payton seemed less upset by the change, however, than by how the change came about -- that it was "snuck in on the back door" while coaches were on a golf outing Tuesday afternoon.
The coaches were under the impression that overtime would be voted on Wednesday, but, as is his prerogative, Commissioner Roger Goodell called for a vote during a session with owners and owners' representatives only on Tuesday. Payton called that "most disappointing."
"I was sitting next to what I thought was seven no's [on the golf course]," Payton said, adding that Tuesday window became "perfect timing" to call for the vote because "a handful" of the owners and owners' representatives were not very well informed on the issue.
Asked for his reaction to Payton's sharp criticism, competition committee co-chair Rich McKay of the Falcons said, "I'm fine with it. The coaches didn't want the two-point conversion. They didn't want instant replay. Both of those things turned out pretty good."
Goodell similarly minimized the complaints of coaches at his news conference late Wednesday morning. "This may not come as a news flash," he said wryly, "but the owners have the vote. ... We had a full discussion with the coaches in the room Tuesday morning. The ownership thought that [the overtime proposal] was good for the game and good for the fans."
As one longtime league official told me Wednesday morning: "Owners own, coaches coach. That's what happened here." And that is the moral of this story.
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