NFL opposes Rams-Saints do-over, saying it could cost league more than $100M: court filing

A rematch of last weekend’s NFC Championship Game due to bad call could cost the league millions, the NFL said Friday.

NFL Chief Financial Officer Joseph Siclare said in a sworn affidavit that replaying the final minutes of last Sunday’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints because of a bad call could cost the NFL “more than $100 million” because it could mean delaying Super Bowl LIII.

No penalty was called after Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman hit Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis while a Drew Brees pass was in the air with less than two minutes remaining in the game. A flag for pass interference would have given the Saints a first down and a chance to run down the clock before kicking a potential game-winning field goal.

Instead, the Saints were forced to kick the field goal sooner, and returned possession to the Rams -- giving Los Angeles enough time on the clock to tie the game again and force it into overtime, where the Rams won.

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Siclare’s affidavit was the league’s first response to a lawsuit filed by two Saints season-ticket holders asking a state court judge to order Commissioner Roger Goodell to either reverse the game’s result or reschedule the game from the point of the no-call -- or replay the game in its entirety.

The filings are also an attempt to move the case from state court to federal court – giving the league a fairer chance.

The NFL cited a federal law that allows a defendant to automatically remove a state class-action lawsuit to federal court when the parties are from different states and the amount of the damages sought by the plaintiffs exceeds $5 million.

Siclare’s affidavit addresses the plaintiffs' demand to issue full refunds to the more than 72,000 ticket holders. He says this would cost the league an estimated $16 million, well beyond the threshold required to move the lawsuit to the federal court.

Replaying the game, and delaying the Super Bowl, would be even more costly, Siclare said.

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"The Super Bowl, the NFL's premier event, is a carefully planned and enormously expensive undertaking, with preparations carefully sequenced," from logistics to producing a "full-blown music concert at halftime," Siclare wrote.

Aside from the legal filings, the NFL has not publically addressed last Sunday’s game. It say Friday that it had fined Robey-Coleman $26,739 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Lewis — a second infraction that went unflagged on the same play.

Fox News Samuel Chamberlain and the Associated Press contributed to this report