The controversy over last season’s NFC championship game refuses to go away.
A Louisiana judge now has ordered NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and three game officials to be questioned under oath about a missed call that may have kept the New Orleans Saints from advancing to Super Bowl LIII, according to CNN affiliate WVUE and other news outlets.
Goodell and the officials should appear in court to give depositions in a civil suit over the “no-call,” Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Nicole Sheppard said Monday.
Tony LeMon, a Louisiana attorney and Saints fan, filed the lawsuit over the game and is seeking monetary damages, which he says would be donated to charity. A state appeals court last week said LeMon’s case could proceed, WVUE reported.
Barring an appeal from the NFL, the questioning would take place in September in New Orleans. CNN has reached out to the NFL for comment.
Late in the fourth quarter of the NFC title game between the Saints and the Los Angeles Rams in New Orleans, a Saints-led Drew Brees drive stalled with a controversial no-call from officials on an incomplete pass to Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis. The crowd wanted a flag for pass interference or helmet-to-helmet contact on a defenseless receiver by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. It wasn’t thrown.
The Rams went on to win in overtime. Since then, the rules have been changed to allow for instant replay of pass interference starting this season.
Ahead of the Super Bowl in Atlanta, Goodell admitted publicly that the game officials — as Saints fans would spell it — “bleaux” the call but said it was not under consideration by him to overturn the game and have it replayed.
“Absolutely not,” Goodell said at the time.
After the loss, Saints head coach Sean Payton said he ate ice cream and watched Netflix for three days. Payton and Goodell spoke briefly during that dark period, the Saints coach said.
While LeMon knows he can’t overturn the game, he wants to hold the NFL accountable, he told WVUE.