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Saints executive vice president and general manager Mickey Loomis on the field before kickoff in an NFL divisional round playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, January 13, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.

MOBILE, Ala. — Mickey Loomis would much rather his team be preparing for a Super Bowl this week.

Instead, the Saints executive vice president and general manager is in Alabama for the Senior Bowl, a showcase of the nation's top college football players.

But for Loomis, three days removed from the Saints' heartbreaking and controversial loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC championship game, it's a much-needed getaway.

"I had to get over here for my mental state," Loomis said.

He admits there have been some sleepless nights since the season ended Sunday, thanks mostly to the no-call on what should have been a pass interference against Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman on Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis in the final two minutes of regulation.

Loomis didn't want to comment on the actual play, deferring to the statement sent out by team owner Gayle Benson on Monday.

"(Her statement) does a great job of capsulizing how we feel about it," Loomis said. "We'll stand on it."

The Saints haven't heard from the NFL since immediately after the game when Sean Payton was told the officials missed the call. Loomis said he isn't frustrated that the league hasn't put out a statement.

"It is what it is," he said.

But Loomis understands the disappointment of the fans.


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"Our fans are hurting," Loomis said. "Our coaches, our players, our staff put so much time and effort and we achieved so many great goals. Win the division, secure the No. 1 seed, win the divisional round in a tough game.

"We did enough to put ourselves in position to win this game, and to have that happen and have the rug pulled out from under you, so to speak, is difficult to take. It's difficult for our fans to take. I understand the hurt. It goes under the category of 'Life ain't fair.’ ”

Even though the season ended with the Saints coming up one win short of the Super Bowl, Loomis was pleased that the team equaled the best record in franchise history (13-3) and won the NFC South for the second straight year.

It was the first time the Saints had won back-to-back division titles.

"We had a great season," Loomis said. "Coaches and players did a fantastic job. We achieved a lot of our goals. The ending was obviously a disappointment. I don’t think we should overlook that our coaches and players and team did as well as individuals. You've always got to keep that in mind."

He was just as pleased with Saints fans — especially during the playoff games against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Rams.

"These last two games, that crowd at the Superdome was unbelievable," Loomis said. "Best I've ever seen, any place, anywhere. It was fantastic and affected the game."

Many of those fans have expressed their bitterness and disappointment toward the NFL. Some have even gone to social media and vowed to not watch any more games. But Loomis expects those sentiments to eventually change.

"They still love the Saints," Loomis said. "So they'll be back. We want them back. The disappointment will never go away and that pain will never go away. But we're still here, and we love our fans, and they love our team, and we just have to come back and put ourselves in that position again next year."

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.