NFL admits in court document to botched no-call in NFC title game

NFL Playoffs 2019: Pass-interference calls could become reviewable after Saints-Rams debacle

Eight days after the missed call heard around the world, the NFL admitted it missed the pass-interference call during the NFC championship.

In a court filing submitted Monday, the NFL admitted its referees missed Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman interfering with Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis in the last minutes of the game on the Rams’ 5-yard line last Sunday.

Because of the blown call, the game went into overtime, where the Rams kicked a field goal to win, 26-23. The loss prompted New Orleans-based law firm Jones, Swanson, Huddell & Garrison to take on the two cases filed by Saints season-ticket holders last week to have the game replayed.

“And, because the officials on the field are humans, like the players and coaches, errors will happen. The NFL parties do not dispute that they have previously advised the Saints, including the club’s head coach, that one or more penalties — for pass interference or illegal helmet-to-helmet contact — were mistakenly not called late in the NFC Championship Game, and that the NFL would like its officials on the field to make these calls,” the filing read. 

“This was acknowledged immediately after the game to the coach of the New Orleans Saints by NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron.”

The NFL received much criticism for the blown call in the days after the game by the Saints, fans and others within the league. Many were especially upset that it took so long for the league to admit it botched the call.

The filing also stated that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t have the authority to call for the game to be replayed. Because of this and the “human error” aspect, the NFL has called for the lawsuits to be dismissed.

“At its essence, this suit was filed because the Plaintiffs, fans and ticket holders of an athletic event disagree with the outcome of that game,” the league’s lawyers stated.

The Rams will now face the Patriots in Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta on Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m. ET.