2001 Jaguars-Browns game becomes issue in Saints-Rams lawsuit

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The lawsuit regarding the Commissioner’s power to undo the result of a game or to order a do-over has dredged up a game during which the Commissioner intervened to alter the on-field outcome. Sort of.

Via Christopher Dabe of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Saints season-ticket holders who are arguing that Commissioner Roger Goodell should have invoked Rule 17 to order that the NFC Championship game be replayed from the moment Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman blatantly interfered with Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis contend that their position finds precedent in a decision made by Commissioner Roger Goodell more than 17 years ago.

During the 2001 season, referee Terry McAulay ended a game with 48 seconds remaining after replay review overturned a successful fourth-and-two conversion by the Browns, prompting Cleveland fans to throw bottles onto the field. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue thereafter ordered McAulay to conduct the remainder of the game, which required a pair of simple kneel-downs by the Jaguars to complete a 15-10 win.

It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it demonstrates that the Commissioner indeed has the power to overrule the judgment of the referee, countering the NFL’s current insistence that referee decisions are final and cannot be reversed by the Commissioner or anyone else.

The league also has argued that Rule 17 does not apply to judgment calls, even though the plain language of the rule seems to be aimed at preventing teams from pursuing protests, not the Commissioner from acting on his own volition. Indeed, the league has argued in the alternative that Rule 17 constitutes an exclusive device for the Commissioner to determine that an extraordinarily unfair result requires him to take action.

And for good reason. The league office will never concede conclusively any limitation on the Commissioner’s power, reserving at all times the right for him to make any decision he chooses to make, unrestrained and unlimited by any authority other than his own.

As to the Rams-Saints decision, the Commissioner decided to take no action, and the league undoubtedly will fight tooth and nail to defend that position.

93 responses to “2001 Jaguars-Browns game becomes issue in Saints-Rams lawsuit

  1. Well, ole goodell gives his all important speech tomorrow, right? Think he’ll want to talk about the fake super bowl or the most notorious no call in the history of the NFL playoffs?

    Helmet to helmet? Pass interference? Both should have been called, neither was. One would have sent the saints to the super bowl.

    Super fake.

  2. The Royals and Yankees had to replay the last three innings of a completely meaningless non-playoff game from the point where George Brett his a pine-tar on-his-bat-aided home run.

  3. Buckle up, NFL. New Orleans has had all it can take of Goodell. We are a welcoming fan base. We’re hospitable to visiting opponents because we’re proud of our city, our culture. Make no mistake though….the optics here are bad. Nola will not relent.

  4. As a former Houston Oilers fan I demand a replay of the 1979 AFC Championship game. That’s the game that led to replay. Had that call been made correctly the Houston Oilers might stil exist today.

  5. Anyone waiting anxiously to see what the commish says about the Rams-Saints game- don’t hold your breath. Expect the talking point “League policy we cannot discuss items pending legislation.”

  6. The Bottlegate game was a farce call.. They replayed reviewed a play after two plays had been run. I still get upset every time I hear the word Bottlegate

  7. It’s not happening, New Orleans fans. Goodell sat on his hands for too long.

    The only relief would involve some monetary damage, like a winner or loser share of the Super Bowl for the New Orleans players and franchise. There’s no way they’ll move the Super Bowl date, and I just don’t see a Saturday or Sunday afternoon NFC conclusion game. Too little time for the teams, let alone the federal court.

  8. The saints and their fans need to get over it. If we want to talk about blatant missed calls, we mine as well just restart the whole season back to week 1. The best part of the game is human error no matter how bad it may become. All of our teams have been at the wrong end of officiating at critical times.

  9. The season ticket holders have the weakest possible case for damages. At best, the court might award monetary damages covering the face price of a ticket. You buy a ticket as a form of entertainment; forcing the Rams players into specific performance (replaying from the missed call, or playing an OT-like quarter) isn’t in the cards.

  10. It’s not a fake Super Bowl. The Saints had a 3 point lead and 1:41 left in regulation and a chance to win and they blew it. They then had the ball first in OT and the opportunity to score a TD and win or kick a field goal to take the lead. Instead, Brees throws an INT and gives LA good field position and they blow another opportunity. The defense can’t stop them and the Saints lose. 3 opportunities and the Saints blew each one of them. Sitting home is where they deserve to be. It sure seemed fine when your team had bounties on players and was cheap-shotting in 2009, but now you guys are all up in arms when things work against you. Too bad. Watch the Kitten Bowl or Puppy Bowl.

  11. boisestatewhodat says:
    January 29, 2019 at 10:46 pm
    Well, ole goodell gives his all important speech tomorrow, right? Think he’ll want to talk about the fake super bowl or the most notorious no call in the history of the NFL playoffs?

    Helmet to helmet? Pass interference? Both should have been called, neither was. One would have sent the saints to the super bowl.

    Super fake.

    What about the holding and illegal hands to the face by the SAINTS on the same play? Cant review 1 play without all the calls. They should sue Sean Payton for not running it 3 times and burning the rams timeouts. He choked, refs choked, but none of this is happens with 3 runs. His fault, accept it and move on.

  12. So by “not an apples to apples comparison” you mean it has no bearing on this whatsoever? This was an in game decision, to finish the game. Let the the necessary time run down. That’s all.

  13. boisestatewhodat says: “Buckle up, NFL. New Orleans has had all it can take of Goodell. We are a welcoming fan base. We’re hospitable to visiting opponents because we’re proud of our city, our culture. Make no mistake though….the optics here are bad. Nola will not relent.”
    ==============================

    If it wasn’t for Goodell’s dedicated effort, Tom Benson would’ve moved the Saints to San Antonio after Hurricane Katrina. That means no 2009 SB, no bountygate, no missed called last weekend. NOTHING.

  14. NOLA will relent, because time heals all wounds. Mostly. I’m still smarting from all the crappy calls against the Rams in the 1974 NFC title game against the Vikings. LOL

  15. Please stop feeding this insanity. A bad call/noncall is a heartbreaker for any fanbase. If they want to hold a grudge for life, that’s fine. But they have to accept their loss and move on (especially when Saints got noncalls go their way plenty in the game and there’s plenty of fingers to point at the coaching/players in the final minute + OT). The conspiracy theories and obsession with a do-over is just crazy to the extreme.

    Should we comb through history and look for every “unjust” call so we can replay the game for the right result? Fanbases have been up in arms before and will in the future (and yes, over big games like these). But I have never seen this level of unhealthy angst and whining.

  16. I hate to say it but. I hope that this issue gets buried in bureaucratic muck. Deep. Where no talk of precedent ever finds it.

    The Steelers lost to the Saints. I think two bad calls were decisive. Both pass interference calls on Hayden. Both kept Saints scoring drives alive, one at the end of the half. One at the end of the game. Steelers season ended with that game.

    If there is a process for re doing games … It will get used. A lot.

    I think the fans need to get used to imperfect outcomes.

    But man … I would love do over in that steeler game. That’s what being a fan(atic) is. Cooler heads must prevail.

    Bury it.

  17. So are the saints willing to have the commish fix two ridiculous PI calls on the Steelers that led to the Saints beating them or are they going to say Steelers had themselves to blame for their fumbles and 4th and 5 stupid gamble? I remember saints fans saying Steelers should have overcome the refs. Same here. These are hardly the worst playoff calls. Steelers got mugged by Talib on more than one occasion in the Denver Steelers playoff game a few years ago that AB missed. I dont see Steelers complaining aobut replaying that game. One of those muggings came on a surefire TD throw from Ben to Bryant that was broken up because talib grabbed him from behind clearly before the ball got there. Not to mention another TD pass broken up because Wheaton was PId by Talib and it was not called Stuff happens. All teams benefit from it at one point or the other.

  18. Of course it was a bad bad bad call but the Saints had plenty of opportunities in the game to win it much earlier (and also received the ball in OT).

    As a Raiders fan i hate the tuck rule but the Raiders lost that game themselves, late in the game they could have ran out the clock if they gained a yard, TE Roland Williams dropped an easy pass for a first down and then on 3rd & 1 Zack Crockett was stopped. One yard there and its game over and no controversy.

    Same for the Saints, after that quick start they had they should have won the game easily. Its a terrible call at the end but they had their chances before and after

  19. The existence of a precedent where the commissioner intervened in the moment to change an on-field decision and get it right just makes this situation, and Goodell, look even worse. All the “move-on-ers” need to grasp that the integrity of the game, such as it is, took a huge hit that defies any analogy with the usual “whatabout” list of other alleged missed calls – most of which, in the two games that day, have been since judged as correct. A league that has no answer 10 days after the Robey-Coleman infraction is a league that has sunk to WWF-level standards. #NotWatching

  20. ENOUGH ALREADY. Capitalize on a 13 point lead in the 1st quarter at home with a deafening home field advantage. Don’t throw on 1st down on that final drive. Make a stop after taking the lead at the end of the 4th quarter. Score a touchdown after winning the toss in OT at home. Kick a field goal in OT and then make a stop. And stop assuming that if that call is made it’s an automatic ticket to the Superbowl. There’s never been a bad handoff in the NFL? Never a bad snap/hold on a field goal attempt? Never a blocked field goal? I guess it’s better to cry about a bad call than to admit you didn’t do enough to win the game.

  21. If Nola fans want to vacate the outcome of this most recent NFCC game, then they should also have the integrity to pursue vacating the outcome of the 2009 game as well. You know…the game where the Saints Coaches cheated and were further assisted by Ref incompetence on multiple plays resulting from non calls and even a couple more calls that upon review, were not fouls either.

    Get over yourselves. This was not the worst non-call in the history of the NFL. It was a very poor job of officiating, agreed. Then followed by the Saints giving up the lead they did earn on that drive and subsequent inept play that cost them the game.
    This whole debate is pathetic.

  22. You already played the rest of the game. You lost in OT, remember? If Brees marches the troops and scores a TD we would have had a much less whiny 2 weeks.

  23. If we are replaying games because of bad calls get ready for a 28 game season. As an Eagles fan I want to replay the Cowboys game in Dallas because on the opening kick Dallas fumbled and only Eagles fell on the ball. It went to replay and they said “no clear recovery” happened. Dallas ball. Dallas won division and Foles finished season. Guess what, some how we moved on and realized refs are human.

  24. So, they replay the last part of the game, Payton does risky, overly aggressive play-calling and Brees throws another ridiculous pick again. Then they decide that the 2009 championship has to be done over, because they have to call personal fouls for all of the cheap shots on Favre. 50 year old Brett goes onto to rally the 2009 Vikings to the win and they win Super Bowl 53 with a QB older than Brady. We can’t let this happen!

  25. Look, was it an obvious missed call in a huge game? Of course it was. But let’s not pretend that the Saints didn’t have multiple opportunities to make better decisions to win the game, because they did. The game didn’t end on that play. Passing on 1st down, pour out defense, those things were there too but Saints fans won’t ever look at their coach and say geez Sean, why did you pass on first down? Sean Payton is so vocal about this call to cover his own mistakes.

  26. The Commish regularly overrules decisions on the field by fining players for actions the refs failed to call on the field long after the game has ended. This situation is exactly the same thing … providing corrective measures when a team has been wronged in some way. Since it is a playoff game, replaying the balance of the half is the only true way of making things “right” for the offended team.

  27. Saints fans are so annoying. Bad calls happen and teams get screwed out of the Super Bowl ALL. THE. TIME. Two examples off the top of my head are the tuck rule involving the Raiders in 2001 and the Bert Emmanuel catch for the Bucs in 1999.

    Quit whining and get over it already.

    Who remembers pre-2006 when the Saints had few fans and the threat of moving to LA or San Antonio was extremely real for that franchise?

  28. I feel Bad for Saints fans got robbed with possibly the last chance to go to the Superbowl with Brees but unfortunately Godell has the power and authority to do whatever he pleases thanks to the CBA First it was the BS BountyGate and now this Now you know how Patriot fans felt with DeflateGate The incident was suppose to be just a 25 thousand fine but instead Godell took it farther you know what he did and Brady tried to take him to court and again he couldn’t do anything because Goodell has the power because of the CBA
    Things need to Change and not for fans of the Saints or Patriots but all the fans who love the Game

  29. How about replaying Superbowl XL where the refs admittedly blew a number of major calls giving the Steelers a win over the Seahawks. That one was the worst I’ve seen and it was in a Superbowl.

  30. As bad a missed call as this was, it would be both a better league and a better world if this Commissioner took no action, ever.

  31. That Jags Browns game should not be referenced as a model of officiating. The call was so bad that it resulted in a riot with people getting hurt.

    The week prior to bottlegate, the Browns got hosed when the refs blew a call but it couldn’t be challenged because the next play was ran. During this game, they ignored this rule and overturned the call anyways. As bottlegate proved, you are opening a massive can of worms by doing this.

  32. boisestatewhodat says:
    January 29, 2019 at 10:59 pm
    Buckle up, NFL. New Orleans has had all it can take of Goodell. We are a welcoming fan base. We’re hospitable to visiting opponents because we’re proud of our city, our culture. Make no mistake though….the optics here are bad. Nola will not relent.
    ******************************************************************************************Are you guys done whining yet? You had your chances after the missed call and you #BlewDat. Just move on and look forward to another heart crushing soul sucking end to your season next year to. Might as well make it three years in a row!

  33. The difference for those of you who don’t know ….. … The replay came after the Browns had run another play. The NFL broke another rule to change the outcome of a game.

  34. Before I get raked over the coals for my comment I do believe the Saints got hosed on that call. The same people who figured the Saints had the game won on that play also need to consider the possibility of a fumble or a Malcolm Butler type interception.
    Now regarding the lawsuit using that game as an example is a stretch, the game wasn’t replayed from a penalty. The game was called by the head referee due to safety concerns for everyone on the field then completed. There have been also a few instances where teams have been brought back (Last year NO vs Minnesota) for point after plays were made after the clock expired even where the point after wouldn’t change the end result.
    Then the other matter is how the NFL bi-laws with the owners are enforced. The fans suing the NFL have to prove that there was a conspiracy to have the Rams win which would then give their argument merit that the league acted in bad faith thus causing mental anguish, emotional trauma, “loss of enjoyment of life” and “distrust of the game which has become the National pastime”, as per their lawsuit.
    The parallel is deflate gate where the majority of America was caught up in were or weren’t the balls purposely deflated. The actual lawsuit was the enforcement of the CBA. If someone signs an agreement even if it is a terrible one if it isn’t under duress that agreement stands.
    I do truly feel for the Saints fans they did get screwed but this lawsuit is going to go nowhere.

  35. I get it, but it’s time to move on.

    There are noncalls in every game.

    Are people going to start protesting everyone one of them.

  36. The end of the saints game, and this resulting lawsuit, will be used by the NFL to show Congress they need a piece of the betting businesses and money to increase controls and refs to maintain integrity and fairness..so Goodell it hurts.

  37. For the conspiracy theorists out there, the Super Bowl that was projected to bring in the most viewers prior to the conference championship games, was Patriots vs Saints. Due to the Brady vs Brees matchup. Why would they “fix it” for the Rams, a team that people in LA don’t even care about? If Payton hadn’t called a pass play on 1st down (which went incomplete), they could have made the Rams burn both timeouts and then run another 40 seconds before kicking the FG. Taysom Hill taking snaps inside the 10 twice instead of Brees? Not enough being put on Payton’s plate here…

  38. This is wrong:
    “During the 2001 season, referee Terry McAulay ended a game with 48 seconds remaining after replay review overturned a successful fourth-and-two conversion by the Browns, prompting Cleveland fans to throw bottles onto the field.”

    Terry McAulay went back two plays to review the 4th and 2 conversion.

  39. These are so unrelated. The fist was just to complete a game not overturn a referee’s call or no call. How can anyone even bring this up? Let’s move on. Or how about go back to where off was facemasked and start from that non-call. The Rams would have scored a TD.

  40. Let’s be a little bit more accurate though. Browns fans didn’t throw bottles onto the field because the 4th down conversion was overturned. They threw bottles onto the field after the 4th down conversion was overturned after another play was run.

    The real apples-to-apples comparison with the Saints-Rams would have been if the commissioner had required the Jags and Browns to replay the game from the first-down spike.

  41. Yes – it was a bad call. The refs missed another blatant DPI on the Saints’ previous drive, as well. The refs missed the facemask againt Goff.

    However, after that horrible no-call, the Saints still had opportunities to win that game. They also had poor clock management at the end of regulation. So, yes, it sucks, but every team has calls go against them.

  42. Again I ask, does Rule 17 also apply to the Ram’s previous possession where a missed field goal would have put them goal to go inside the 5 yard line?

    And the Saints had the opportunity to rectify the situation by scoring a touchdown in overtime but we all know what happened there….excuses…

  43. Everyone says….”The Saints had every chance to win that game”.
    While this may be true, there is only ONE way that the Rams “won” that game.

  44. The NFL & the owners have the teams they wanted playing in the Super Bowl…The Rams have the 2nd largest TV market & New Orleans has the #50 ranked market….Boston has the #9 position…follow the money…

  45. That’s not a very good example considering the commissioner didn’t address the reason that game was stopped in the first place which was that the review of the play that gave Jacksonville the ball was illegal. The game should have been restarted at the point of the controversy, not just to let the clock run out.

    The issue was the refs stopped that game to review the play before the last one ran. That’s why the crowd (and more memorably the announce team) got hostile since only the previous play can be reviewed (which was a Tim Couch spike). Should have been 4th and 2 with Cleveland having the ball and one minute left during the restart.

    Referees vs early 2000’s playoff contending Browns were a weekly thing back then.

  46. Just a clarification, and to defend my beleaguered hometown a bit… it wasn’t that they overturned the play that caused the crowd to erupt, it was that they overturned the play after the browns ran a spike play too. The refs overturned the 2nd to last play, not the previous one.

    So yes, Browns fans can be obnoxious idiots just like everyone else, and Bottle-gate was an awful display, but it was more than a simple overturned call.

  47. At the very least I want my money back on season tickets for the injustice. Paying to watch an inferior product does not bode well in the minds of Saints fans

  48. The commissioner should be at a “command center” during the playoffs to make important decisions. The NFL should also be able to rule that a penalty should have been called and not just overturn penalties that were called. They better clean this mess up because when the states get their legal sports gambling operations up and running they will not put up with this nonsense because it will be bad for business.

  49. We’re going to be talking about this, and the solutions for it not to happen again, all off season. I’m already sick of it.

  50. The refs were in a position to change the outcome of the game at that point in time. Look at the pictures. This was not a bad no call, this was an intentional no call. No other explanation has been offered by the league. Sorry hater, look at the pics of the refs position on the field, look at the receivers position on the field, look at the DB’s position on the field, look at the hit, look at the position of the ball. Look as one ref calls off the other. Sorry guys, the fix was on at that point in the game. The game should never had gone into overtime. I am not mad at the Rams and may pull for them if I decide to watch this tainted Super Bowl.

  51. Browns were robbed, Saints were robbed.

    Just let it go. (unless it leads to Goodell being removed as commissioner)

  52. Buckle up, NFL. New Orleans has had all it can take of Goodell. We are a welcoming fan base. We’re hospitable to visiting opponents because we’re proud of our city, our culture. Make no mistake though….the optics here are bad. Nola will not relent.

    NO was already gifted an NFC championship game 10 years ago so get over it. The Payton cheap shot/Bounty Gate saga has jinxed the Saints for life.

  53. Goodell isn’t Tags nor Rozelle. Goodell has been an absolute disaster for the National Fixed League. Yet, he is just a puppet for the owners and in particular the new ilk group of Kraft, Jones, Blank, Kroenke, and Snyder. These are the owners that have destroyed the integrity of today’s game. Just remember under Goodell we have Deflategate, Spygate, Bountygate, Ray Rice, Kareem Hunt, Kneel Downer, No Calls, Fixed Games, CK, Ignoring Concussions, New rules hurting the game, London and Mexico City?, Relocation, etc etc.

  54. brettbabz says:
    January 30, 2019 at 8:43 am
    Everyone says….”The Saints had every chance to win that game”.
    While this may be true, there is only ONE way that the Rams “won” that game.

    ——-

    Yes. The Rams scored more points.

  55. brettbabz says:
    January 30, 2019 at 8:43 am
    Everyone says….”The Saints had every chance to win that game”.
    While this may be true, there is only ONE way that the Rams “won” that game

    =============================

    yes that is true. they won bc they shut down the saints and outscored them 26-10 after their early gift lead. saints arent worthy representatives thats why they didnt make it

  56. No one expects anything to come of this obvious attorney publicity seeking. But nowadays people who show no sign of injury go on TV to say their lawyer got them $750,000. That’s the world we live in. Even so, anything that reveals Goodell to be the hypocrite he is has some value. Btw the obvious difference between this call and the other misses is it eliminated at least a 90% chance of victory, for the Rams would have had only maybe 20 seconds and no timeouts. If the facemask was called and the Rams scored with 6:52 left,the drive that ended with this call could well have ended in a Saints TD from the Rams 5 and thry retake the lead. Not all bad calls are equal.

  57. hoops737 says:
    January 30, 2019 at 8:58 am
    At the very least I want my money back on season tickets for the injustice. Paying to watch an inferior product does not bode well in the minds of Saints fans
    ********
    Saints fans have been paying to watch an inferior product for most of their existence. It’s not the NFL’s fault that the Saints product is inferior to their competition

  58. Can this judge actually stop the Super Bowl from being played until a decision is made?

    At the very least, this is making the league explain themselves, something they hate to do.

    #taintedsuperbowl

  59. The fact that this “lawsuit” even exists is ridiculous and disgusting. What a complete waste of time and money. We live in a truly pathetic time in history.

  60. Might as well go back & replay the 2005 SB between the Steelers & Seahawks while we’re at it. The Seahawks got royally screwed in that game. I hope Matt Hasselbeck, Sean Alexander, Hines Ward, & Jerome Bettis have stayed in shape!

  61. If nfl wins lawsuit any impact on the saints?
    Penalties for causing nuisance like judge Judy?
    What about saints fans , would they stop watching nfl?

  62. Every Saint fan writing in to complain should be forced to write a dissertation on the injustice of their 2009 trip to the Superbowl where the Vikings were absolutely robbed by the refs.

  63. “The league also has argued that Rule 17 does not apply to judgment calls” uh and how again was Tagliabue overriding that ref not a “judgement call”. Goodell and his lawyers are hitting a dead end there. Just save us all time and claim “article 46!” and move on.

  64. boisestatewhodat says:
    January 29, 2019 at 10:46 pm
    Well, ole goodell gives his all important speech tomorrow, right? Think he’ll want to talk about the fake super bowl or the most notorious no call in the history of the NFL playoffs?

    Helmet to helmet? Pass interference? Both should have been called, neither was. One would have sent the saints to the super bowl.

    Super fake.
    —————————————————————
    Maybe, since you’re so concerned with integrity now, the NFL should vacate the 2009 season for the Saints and have no super bowl winner.

  65. boisestatewhodat says:
    January 29, 2019 at 10:59 pm
    Buckle up, NFL. New Orleans has had all it can take of Goodell. We are a welcoming fan base. We’re hospitable to visiting opponents because we’re proud of our city, our culture. Make no mistake though….the optics here are bad. Nola will not relent.
    ——————————-
    Now New Orleans is worried about optics? A little late for that don’t you think. The optics train left the station in 09.

  66. Thanks Florio! As a Browns fan I had almost completely forgotten about Bottlegate. The best part of that game was when Carmen Policy was asked about the fans throwing the bottles on the field (and at the referees!) he downplayed it saying the bottles were plastic and didn’t carry much of a wallop. Ha Ha. Good times

  67. I was at that game and those bottles were not filled with Beer, remember the Wide Mouth Bottles….well they are now banned and pretty easy to you know, fill them up and let them fly…

    Good Times and Go Browns!!!

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