The court ruled Friday that the plaintiffs, “who are New Orleans Saints season ticket holders and who attended the NFC championship game,” are not “the class of persons who have a cause of action to recover damages for alleged fraud and deceptive trade practices committed by the NFL and its officials during the game.”
Toward the end of January’s NFC championship game, Saints quarterback Drew Brees fired a pass dep in Rams territory intended for wide receiver Tommylee Lewis. Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman then delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit to Lewis well before Brees’s pass got there. The play looked like an obvious pass interference penalty, and a call would have put the Saints in prime position to take a late seven-point lead and give them a far better chance to advance to Super Bowl LIII.
Instead, no penalty was called, infuriating the Mercedes-Benz Superdome crowd and Saints fans everywhere. The Saints settled for a field goal to take a three-point lead. The Rams went on to quickly tie the game before the end of regulation and eventually won in overtime.
The missed call also drew the ire of Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who took his frustrations to the Senate floor shortly after the heartbreaking loss.
“The state of Louisiana is outraged because of what happened in the Superdome last Sunday,” Cassidy declared. He presented posters featuring a photo of the infamous play and the cover of the New Orleans Times-Picayune with the headline “REFFING UNBELIEVABLE.”
The court declared Friday that fans’ purchase of the game tickets “merely granted them the right of entry and a seat at the game.”
“While we are certainly cognizant of the passion of sports fans, and particularly those who are fans of the New Orleans Saints, the courts are not the proper forum to litigate such disputes,” the ruling further states.
In July, a lower court judge in Louisiana ruled that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and three game officials would have to travel to New Orleans this month and would be allowed to be questioned under oath.
None of the seven court members dissented the reversal of the July ruling.