The National Football League (NFL) has come out in strong opposition to a lawsuit seeking to force a rematch between last weekend’s Rams-Saints NFC Championship game, the scene of a blown call that almost certainly cost the Saints a shot at the Super Bowl, Fox News is reporting.
Following last week’s devastating Saints loss, in which a badly-blown non-call worked against the Saints (more on that in a few paragraphs), two Saints fans filed suit in federal court asking the NFL to either replay the final, blown play, reverse the result of the game in favor of the Saints, or replay the game in its entirety.
However, with Super Bowl LIII scheduled for next Sunday, with the Rams taking on the New England Patriots, time is running out, and the NFL says that there simply isn’t enough.
In the waning seconds of last week’s NFC Championship Game, Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw a pass to intended receiver Tommylee Lewis. Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman clearly and unambiguously hit Lewis while the ball was in the air, and in any other game would have resulted in a Pass Interference call. Had that happened in this situation, the Saints would have been given a first down, closer to field goal range, and could have kicked a game-winning field goal.
Instead, the non-call forced the Saints to kick the field goal from further away — unsuccessfully — thus giving possession to the Rams and forcing the game into overtime, which the Rams won.
That Robey-Coleman committed a penalty against Lewis remains unambiguous: the league fined him $26,739 for the illegal helmet-to-helmet contact.
Asking The Court To Force A Do-Over
Unfortunately for the two Saints season-ticket holders who filed the lawsuit, the odds of getting a do-over appear to be slim to nil. As the Oregonian reports, the NFL has never, in its history, replayed a game, replayed part of a game, or reversed the outcome of a game.
Meanwhile, NFL Chief Financial Officer Joseph Siclare said in a sworn affidavit that replaying even part of the game would cost the NFL upwards of $100 million, because doing so would delay Super Bowl LIII.
“The Super Bowl, the NFL’s premier event, is a carefully planned and enormously expensive undertaking, with preparations carefully sequenced [from logistics to a] full-blown music concert at halftime.”
It remains unclear, as of this writing, if a court will be able to rule on the lawsuit before Super Bowl LIII kicks off on February 3.