The controversy over the non-call of what appeared to be an obvious penalty in the New Orleans Saints-Los Angeles Rams NFC playoff game is still being talked about, especially in social media circles with the comments often ending in, "What can we do about it now?”
That’s not a question for the average fan, but it could be a question for Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League, to answer.
According to the rules of the NFL, under Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1: “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.”
Now, classifying the non-call against Nickell Robey-Coleman, who slammed into Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis near the Rams’ goal line, a “calamity” may just apply to the sensibilities of Saints’ fans (Robey-Coleman admitted in an interview following the game that it was pass interference), but what the rule states is that the commissioner has some extraordinary powers when it comes to NFL football games and their outcomes.
To drill down a bit more, another NFL rule, Rule 17, Section 2, Article 3, that outlines a commissioner’s powers states that: “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.”
Will Goodell use the rule to reverse the outcome of the game? It’s unlikely, most think, though thousands have signed a petition asking for a rematch of the game.
Barring any change of the outcome of the game, the New England Patriots will face the Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, Feb. 3, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
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