A pair of NFL season ticket holders who wanted to see a full or partial rematch between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams were out of luck Thursday after a federal judge said she wouldn’t force the league to implement a rule that could’ve led to a do-over.
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan ruled against two Saints season ticket holders who brought the legal battle against the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell after their team was defeated in the NFC championship game. The loss dashed the organization's hopes of a Super Bowl appearance this year.
The issue between the parties came about when game officials didn’t call a penalty after Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman hit Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis while a Drew Brees pass was in the air with less than two minutes remaining in the Jan. 20 game.
A flag for pass interference would have given the Saints a first down and a chance to run down the clock before kicking a potential game-winning field goal.
Instead, the Saints were forced to kick the field goal sooner and returned possession to the Rams — giving Los Angeles enough time on the clock to tie the game again and force it into overtime, where the Rams won.
The ticket-holder’s filing wanted the NFL to enforce a rule permitting the commissioner to investigate "extraordinarily unfair acts" that affect the game. Remedies under that rule include rescheduling the game in full, or from the point at which the unfair act occurred. However, the judge rejected the petition that the ticketholders were entitled to an order, known as a "writ of mandamus."
“None of the actions Plaintiffs might seek to compel Commissioner Goodell to do are the kinds of actions a writ of mandamus may address,” the order said. “Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure article 3864 authorizes a writ of mandamus be directed to compel performance of a ministerial duty; such as the holding of an election or the performance of other duties required by bylaws, articles of organization, or operating agreement or as prescribed by law; or to compel the recognition of the rights of the shareholders or members.”
NFL Chief Financial Officer Joseph Siclare reacted to the lawsuit last week, saying in an affidavit that replaying the final minutes of the game could cost the league “more than $100 million” because it would mean delaying Super Bowl LIII.
Fox News’ William Mears, Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press contributed to this report.