Is It Really Over? Some Say Not So Fast

Rams-Saints outcome fuels lawsuit seeking a Rule 17 do-over

Data Staff Report

A Sunday night item explaining a rule that, in theory, gives the Commissioner the power to order a do-over as the remedy for extraordinary unfair outcomes apparently has fueled one lawsuit, and counting.

Via WDSU.com, a New Orleans lawyer has filed a lawsuit seeking to compel Commissioner Roger Goodell to invoke Rule 17 of the official rulebook and replay the balance of the NFC Championship game from the moment Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman wiped out, without consequence, Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis before a pass intended for Lewis arrived.

The New Orleans lawyer, Frank D’Amico, also has issued a press release that copies and pastes extensively from the original PFT story on the issue, without attribution. (Hopefully, D’Amico’s legal skills far exceed his P.R. abilities.)

A Lafayette law firm separately has informed the NFL that litigation over the outcome could be coming.

Lawsuits like this very rarely prevail. But the league will have to dot some i’s and cross some t’s to get out of this one, especially since D’Amico’s lawsuit undoubtedly will seek emergency relief aimed at forcing the Rams and Saints to reconvene in New Orleans for the final 1:49 of regulation, with the score tied at 20 and the Saints having a first down just inside the L.A. five.

Given that the lawsuit has been filed in Louisiana state court, the publicly-elected local judges may be inclined to take a more favorable look at this, forcing the NFL to potentially scramble through appeals courts and/or federal courts to avoid what could start as a half-joke and quickly become a deadly-serious problem for the league. At a minimum, a state-court judge could force the NFL to emerge from hiding and answer pointed questions about what happened on Sunday, when Rule 17 applies, and why it shouldn’t apply here.

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