Saints fans sue NFL over call that helped send Rams to Super Bowl

Jan 22 (Reuters) - Two New Orleans Saints fans on Tuesday sued the National Football League and its commissioner Roger Goodell to force a review of the team's controversial 26-23 loss in Sunday's National Football Conference championship that sent the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl.

The teams were tied 20-20 late in regulation when officials failed to call pass interference or helmet-to-helmet penalties on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman for knocking Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis down as he awaited a pass.

Had a penalty been called, the Saints could have tried to run down the clock and kick a winning field goal with seconds left. Instead, the Saints settled for a field goal sooner, allowing the Rams to tie the game and send it to overtime.

SEE ALSO: Report: NFL might consider allowing reviews of pass interference after Saints fiasco

In their complaint filed in a Louisiana state court, Saints season ticket holders Tommy Badeaux and Candis Lambert said Goodell should enforce an NFL rule they believe gives him power to negate the Rams' win or restart the game.

That rule lets Goodell act when a "calamity" occurs that he 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."

The rule also bars Goodell from acting when teams complain about officials' judgments or routine errors. "Games involving such complaints will continue to stand as completed," it said.

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Rams vs. Saints NFC Championship game
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: Los Angeles Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein (4) kicks the game winning field goal during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints' Ted Ginn catches a pass in front of Los Angeles Rams' Lamarcus Joyner during the second half of the NFL football NFC championship game, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Cory Littleton (58) and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks (95) celebrate after the game during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks to throw the ball during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) runs the ball for a gain during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) runs the ball during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) looks to throw the ball during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) looks to throw the ball during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) throws the ball down field during the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 20: Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay after the NFC Championship Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints on January 20, 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: John Johnson #43 of the Los Angeles Rams intercepts a pass in overtime against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints shakes hands with Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams at the start of overtime in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 20: Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates with Andrew Whitworth #77 after defeating the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Los Angeles Rams defeated the New Orleans Saints with a score of 26 to 23. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
El wide receiver Ted Ginn (19), de los Saints de Nueva Orleáns, se queda con el balón ante el free safety Lamarcus Joyner, de los Rams de Los Ángeles, en el partido por el campeonato de la Conferencia Nacional de la NFL, el domingo 20 de enero de 2019, en Nueva Orleáns. (AP Foto/Gerald Herbert)
Los Angeles Rams players celebrate after overtime of the NFL football NFC championship game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Los Angeles Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman breaks up a pass intended for New Orleans Saints' Michael Thomas during the second half the NFL football NFC championship game Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Los Angeles Rams' JoJo Natson tries to get past New Orleans Saints' Vonn Bell during the first half the NFL football NFC championship game Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (11) works for a coach against Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman (23) during the second half the NFL football NFC championship game Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. The Rams won 26-23. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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The NFL did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Saints have not formally complained to the league.

The Rams are preparing to meet the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.

Prospects for Tuesday's lawsuit are unclear, although some similar prior cases have been unsuccessful.

In December 2014, an Oklahoma state judge refused to restart a high school football playoff game after officials wrongly negated a go-ahead touchdown with 1:04 to play.

District Judge Bernard Jones wrote that while some observers viewed the outcome as a tragedy, "more tragic, however, would be for this Court to assert itself in this matter."

Reversals of U.S. professional sports results are rare.

In 1983, baseball's American League president voided a New York Yankees win against the Kansas City Royals and ordered the game restarted from where the Royals' George Brett had hit a go-ahead home run, but was called out because his bat had too much pine tar. The Royals won the restarted game. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)

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