After last night’s debacle at the end of the Monday Night Football game, some are calling for Roger Goodell to overturn the final score, citing Rule 17, Section 2 of the NFL rule book (it was mentioned on both the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show on ESPN radio and on ESPN’s “First Take.”).
However, a closer look at the rule shows that Goodell cannot overturn this call.
The talking heads are specifically referring to rule 17, section 2, article 1, titled “Extraordinarily Unfair Acts — Commissioner Authority.” Here it is:
The Commissioner has the sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which 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.
That makes it sound like Goodell can overturn the final score. But, here is article 2:
The authority and measure provided for in this entire Section 2 do not constitute a protest machinery for NFL clubs to avail themselves of in the event a dispute arises over the result of a game…The Commissioner will not apply his authority in cases of complaints by clubs concerning judgmental errors or routine errors of omission by game officials. Games involving such complaints will continue to stand as completed.
In other words, the commissioner is not allowed to overturn a bad call. Period.
[UPDATE] This has now been confirmed by the NFL. After speaking with the NFL, Rachel Nichols of ESPN confirmed that “the commissioner cannot reverse the outcome of games due to judgmental errors by officials,” specifically citing section 2.
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