New Orleans attorney says he’ll file lawsuit over no-call in NFC championship

Geaux Black and Gold

NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans-area attorney says he will file a lawsuit against the NFL Tuesday morning after the Saints’ heartbreaking loss in the NFC championship Sunday.

In a statement to the media Tuesday, Frank J. D’Amico, Jr.’s office said that he had been approached by season ticket holders to take legal action against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

The statement adds that D’Amico Jr. will a suit in Civil District Court for Orleans Parish to ask the courts to order Goodell to take action and enforce “Rule 17” in the NFL rulebook.

“There’s language in the rulebook that could, in the right circumstances, allow the commissioner to take extreme action in the face of a grossly unfair result,” the statement said.

Los Angeles cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman committed a blatant interference penalty with a helmet-to-helmet hit on Tommylee Lewis well before the pass arrived inside the 5, forcing the Saints to settle for Wil Lutz’s 31-yard field goal that made it 23-20 with 1:41 left in regulation.

“Came to the sideline, looked at the football gods and was like, ‘Thank you,'” Robey-Coleman said. “I got away with one tonight.”

If the pass interference penalty had been called, the Saints could’ve run most of the time off the clock to set up a winning field goal from chip-shot range.

Fans have pointed to Rule 17, section two, article three called “Penalties for Unfair Acts” under the “Emergency Unfair Acts.” The rule says NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has the power to enact:

“The reversal of a game’s result or the rescheduling of a game, either from the beginning or from the point at which the extraordinary act occurred.”

But there’s one problem. 

In essence, Rule 17 is not a way for NFL teams to protest a call. Article 2 goes on to say:

“The Commissioner will not apply authority in cases of complaints by clubs concerning judgmental errors or routine errors of omission by game officials.”

And here is the tough pill for Saints fans to swallow:

“Games involving such complaints will continue to stand as completed.”

Rule 17 is really about natural disasters or calamity, or if a fan runs on the field and interferes.

“So what can the NFL do about the outcome of the Rams-Saints game? Probably nothing. Bad calls happen. Sometimes, bad calls have bigger consequences than others,” the statement from D’Amico’s office said.

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