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No, You Can't Sue the NFL Over a Blown Call

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Even the National Football League Commissioner admitted that referees botched a late non-pass interference call in the NFC championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints. "It's a play that should be called," Roger Goodell admitted this week before the Rams, who won the game, will face the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. "We're going to make sure that we do everything possible to address the issues going forward and see if there are improvements we can make with instant replay or anything else. I understand the emotions."

But "everything possible" does not include reversing the call and putting time back on the clock, as a failed lawsuit filed by two Saints season ticket holders asked a federal judge to order.

Who Dat?

New Orleans attorney Frank D'Amico filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of the two plaintiffs seeking a "writ of mandamus" ordering Goodell to "do the right thing" in regard to the infamous non-call, specifically asking to invoke his power as commissioner to enforce Rule 17, a statute allowing him to reverse the result of a contest if an "unfair act" played a part in the final score of the original game.

"The Commissioner's powers under this Section 2 include the imposition of monetary fines and draft choice forfeitures, suspension of persons involved in unfair acts, and, if appropriate, the reversal of a game's result or the rescheduling of a game," according to Rule 17, Section 2, Article 3, "either from the beginning or from the point at which the extraordinary act occurred." of the rule, however, clearly states: "The Commissioner will not apply authority in cases of complaints by clubs concerning judgmental errors or routine errors of omission by game officials."

Therefore, U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan denied their request that she order the NFL to replay the end of the game.

That Guy

"We understand the frustration that they feel right now," Goodell added. "We certainly want to address that. Whenever officiating is part of any kind of discussion postgame, it's never a good outcome for us. We know that. Our clubs know that. Our officials know that. But we also know our officials are human."

So, Saints fans, you have the commish's sympathy, if not a directive to replay the game.

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