In the days after the NFC title game, the result of which almost surely swung on the missed pass interference (and helmet-to-helmet contact) penalty on Rams corner Nickell Robey-Coleman, there has been abut Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1. If you've never heard of that rule before, here's what it says:
"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."
Several players on the Saints even alluded to the rule publicly, perhaps hoping to put some sort of pressure on the league to enforce it in this instance.
The league, for its part, did not really respond for most of the first week after the title game. All it did wasfor the helmet-to-helmet hit that went uncalled, and acknowledge on background to the Saints that on-field officials missed the calls.
Well, the NFL officially responded to the Rule 17 idea over the weekend, filing a brief in response to a seeking to overturn the outcome of the game. The NFL's argument, in relevant part, essentially states that officials are human and errors will happen, but that decisions made by referees on the field are final, and so Rule 17 does not actually allow for the commissioner to overturn the result of the game.
The league also argued that season ticket holders do not "have a legally cognizable right to ask a Court to order the Commissioner to act on an officiating omission" because Rule 17 is a discretionary mechanism vesting the power with the commissioner himself, and not any other party.
The league additionally noted that it h as never replayed a game "despite war, depression, natural disasters, civil disorder, terrorism . or pandemic," and that fans' disappointment with the outcome of a game does not qualify as sufficient "calamity" or "extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football" that it would require the league to overturn the outcome of the game.
The idea that the league was ever going to enforce Rule 17 in this instance was always a pipe dream, but the NFL's official legal response is the first time it has actually stated that in public. Given that there are now just six days until Super Bowl LIII and that overturning the previous week's title game would lead to a of the championship, it seems extraordinarily unlikely that this will happen.
If you still haven't marked your calendar for the Super Bowl, the game will be kicking off from Atlanta on Feb. 3 and will be televised by CBS and you can stream it right here. If you're thinking about buying a new TV for the big game, CNET has you covered. They shared their best picks for every budget.