National Football League replay lawsuit moves forward

Sherman Parsons
January 30, 2019

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell does not have the authority to overturn the result of the NFC Championship game, despite an acknowledged missed call by officials on a key play late in the fourth quarter of the Rams' victory over the New Orleans Saints, the league's lawyers said in a brief filed in federal court Sunday.

Responding to a lawsuit which was filed Sunday in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana, the league admitted referees did make a mistake by not throwing a pass interference flag.

Among the damages the plaintiffs sought was a court order to force the league to invoke Rule 17, which requires Goodell to investigate an on-field "calamity" that unfairly turned a game - and order the teams to replay part or all of it if he sees fit.

Two Saints season ticket holders have filed a lawsuit seeking to have Goodell reverse or reschedule the game through the use of an National Football League rule regarding "extraordinarily unfair acts". All it did was fine Robey-Coleman almost $27K for the helmet-to-helmet hit that went uncalled, and acknowledge on background to the Saints that on-field officials missed the calls. A play that if called correctly, would have likely helped the Saints win the game and go on to Super Bowl 53. But their newest tactic may make the loudest statement - a Super Bowl boycott.

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It's safe to say that Saints fans won't get over the controversial NFC Championship Game for a long time.

"We're not trying to stop the Super Bowl from going forward", D'Amico said. Say the Saints did get that pass interference call. "They have done their due diligence".

Schefter explained the four officials were also the ones mostly responsible for the non-call on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman's helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis. New Orleans' first drive culminated in a field goal, and they quickly added another three points after intercepting a Jared Goff pass that bounced right off Todd Gurley's hands deep in their own territory. Records show she got the case after it was initially assigned to U.S. District Judge Barry Ashe - who removed himself from the case because he has Saints season tickets.

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