NFL Commissioner Has Authority To Reschedule Saints-Rams Game After Controversial Non-Call
If you're a Saints fan who feels like there's no hope to overturn the egregious way we lost in the NFC Championship, that's not totally true.
It would be an understatement to say that the non-call on Tommylee Lewis had a major effect on the outcome of the game, but bad calls are part of the game, right? Sure, they are—but this non-call led to a "grossly unfair result," and in theory, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can step in and do something about it.
According to a story from Pro Football Talk, there is language in the NFL rulebook that describes this exact scenario. Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1 states:
The Commissioner has the sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which the Commissioner deems so extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of the game.
The question is, was this non-call "extraordinarily unfair?" Well, even Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman admits he was surprised there was no call. He actually went as far as saying he knew he was beaten for a touchdown which is why he opted to take out Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis.
Check out the same rule and section, but pay extra attention to Article 3:
The Commissioner’s powers under this Section 2 include the imposition of monetary fines and draft-choice forfeitures, suspension of persons involved in unfair acts, and, if appropriate, 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. In the event of rescheduling a game, the Commissioner will be guided by the procedures specified in Rule 17, Section 1, Articles 5 through 11, above. In all cases, the Commissioner will conduct a full investigation, including the opportunity for hearings, use of game videotape, and any other procedure he deems appropriate.
Do Saints fans want the commissioner to reverse the outcome of the game's result? Of course not, but I know just about everyone in the Who Dat Nation would love for the game to be rescheduled. Put both teams back on the field, give the Saints the ball—first and goal at the spot of the foul with 1:49 left on the clock tied 20-20 with the Rams who would have only one time out left.
It's HIGHLY unlikely that we'll ever see this scenario come to fruition, but why is it even in the rulebook? If there was ever a situation fit for this rule, this is that situation.
We'll wait for the league to make an official statement on the non-call that Saints fans and players will never forget, but based on the wording in Rule 17 they better choose their words carefully.