Sean Payton: Officials fair on Jimmy Graham fumble call

METAIRIE, La. -- Sean Payton didn't have many complaints about the way the officials handled the Jimmy Graham fumble call during the New Orleans Saints' 30-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Although Payton said Sunday that he thought it "looked pretty clear" on the JumboTron that the ball crossed the plane of the end zone before Graham fumbled, Payton credited the officials for their explanation to him on the field.

"Listen, No. 1, in fairness to the officials yesterday, I really got a fair -- although I didn't want to hear it -- a solid answer from [referee John] Parry," said Payton, who added that "it's a crew that we think is one of the better crews year in and year out."

"The challenge is it's that 'conclusive' [standard]. And depending on which team or which fan base you're a part of, [you could make an argument]. Had it been called a touchdown, I'm quite certain it would've remained a touchdown," Payton said. "And he said they spent a ton of time -- and not only are they spending time, they're spending time [communicating] with New York and looking at it. It's hard to really argue that, because it kind of is what it is. Obviously it was a significant play in the game. And yet, it wasn't just the deciding factor."

Payton said he appreciates the way the NFL has increased efforts to get replay calls right in recent years -- including that communication with the officiating headquarters in New York and the automatic reviews of all scoring plays and turnovers.

Payton said he expects that to continue in the coming years with the increase in available technology.

"We're really a year or two away before there's a chip in the ball and the plane [of the end zone] being marked," Payton said. "Shoot, we do it with our dogs right now."