Fans sue NFL over non-call in NFC championship

The two conference championship games on Sunday proved anew that the NFL has the worst officiating in all of sports. The lamentations in the aftermath of the New Orleans – Los Angeles Rams game proves anew that the world has too many lawyers.

One of them, Frank D’Amico Jr., is suing the National Football League for the now infamous play in which officials did not call pass interference.

If the flag had been thrown, the Saints would’ve gotten a fresh set of downs near the goal line with under two minutes to play and the game tied. If the Saints score, they likely go to the Super Bowl.

This, according to D’Amico has caused fans “mental anguish & emotional trauma, loss of faith in the NFL,” and — our favorite — “loss of enjoyment of life.”

D’Amico, a personal injury lawyer, doesn’t specifically ask for recourse in his suit, which, of course, is dead on arrival, leaving him only with the publicity.

In fact, Michael McCann, the law professor and Sports Illustrated legal analyst, saw it coming before D’Amico had even cranked out his press release.

Courts have consistently enunciated that bad calls are not causes of action for courts to consider. Stated differently, not all “harms” are remedied through law. Disappointment and frustration over a game, even a wrongly decided one, are harms that law isn’t designed to redress.

To that point, a fan who attended the NFC Championship would struggle to claim a winning contractual violation. While a game ticket is a contract, it’s a very limited contract. It provides a revocable license to enter a facility for a specific event. So long as the ticket holder adheres to the stadium’s code of conduct, the ticket guarantees its holder the right to see the event.

However, the ticket does not guarantee a right to see specific players or see a specific team win or lose. It also doesn’t guarantee that bad calls, which are obviously foreseeable occurrences in sports, won’t happen. These limitations shed light on why a lawsuit brought by a Miami Heat ticketholder against the San Antonio Spurs for resting Tim Duncan and other Spurs stars failed. It’s also why a lawsuit brought by a New York Jets fan over Spygate failed.

A game ticket to an NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL game only guarantees its holder that two teams will play each other and that the fan can watch the game from a specific seat. Here, people who attended the NFC Championship received what they bargained for: a right to watch the NFC Championship from the vantagepoint of assigned seats in the Superdome.

What alternative action do Tommy Badeaux and Candis Lambert — the Saints fans on whose behalf D’Amico sued the NFL — have?

They could always get a life.

Or root for the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

(h/t: Paul Tosto)

  • What on earth is a “no baseball podcast”? I automatically start out suspicious of *that* sort of source… ok, seriously, bad call yes, but bad playcalling by Payton throughout the game (check Souhan’s column yesterday) was more to blame. It was one call. Until we get omniscient AI refs, calls will go against you sometimes and that, unfortunately, is a fact of sports life.

  • Greg W

    I tried rooting for the Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl only to have the head coach bench one of the best defensive players for the game.

    Has anyone gotten a real reason out of Belichick for that? Because as a Minnesota sports fan, I’m just going to assume he did it to anger all of the Vikings fans rooting for the Patriots. (no, not really)

    • Nope. No answer at all. The Boston media all fell in lockstep in circling the wagons. As with most sports media.

      • Greg W

        Wimps. I suppose they were all scared about getting passed over during the next season’s press conferences.

  • >>This, according to D’Amico has caused fans “mental anguish & emotional trauma, loss of faith in the NFL”, and — our favorite — “loss of enjoyment of life.”<<

    I'll just leave this here for all the distraught Saints fans:

  • >>Or root for the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.<<

    Hard. Pass.

  • RBHolb

    This morning on Good Morning America, there was talk of a class action suit based on this call. Is this the same one?

    GMA’s analyst said that this call has outraged not just Saints fans, not just football fans, not just sports fans, but anyone who cares about fairness. I was too thunderstruck to yell at the television.

    • Jack

      Life isn’t fair. Pat Flynn taught me that in History Class years ago.

      • RBHolb

        It was my Mother’s constant refrain: “Whoever said life was fair?”

        Years later, I could tell her that my muttered adolescent response was always “No one who lived in this house.” To her credit, she was amused.

  • …then again, that hit arrived at the same time as the ball, so…

  • Ben Chorn

    Funny they didn’t sue over any of these bad calls 10 years ago….

    • Barton

      Have you see the reddit threads re: Saints fans calling us (Vikings fans) for being mean (my word) b/c we keep bringing this up after their loss? Supposedly we are the worst fans in all of football and Minnesota has nothing going for it as a state. Insert eye roll here.

      I’m still enjoying the turnabout.

      • X.A. Smith

        Yeah, that’s called karma or something, Saints fans.

  • Jeff
    • JamieHX

      Stargate SG-1 reference? I like it!

  • Floyd R. Turbo

    Is there still time to sue Drew Pearson? Bud Grant wants to know.

    • Gary F

      It wasn’t Drew Pearson’s fault. It was Armen Turzian’s fault. And he got his punishment.

  • Rob

    I almost feel sad for all the broflakes whose lives have been rendered joyless by this epic referee failure. Oh, wait – not really.

  • crystals

    OF COURSE he is a personal injury lawyer. #onbrand

  • Bill Kahn

    Hey, if they got any fans out there pounding their heads over this perhaps they’d have a chance at some of that NFL CTE money for the players.

  • John

    It must be really difficult to have your self worth so thoroughly defined by something so far outside of your own control. (not the lawyer – he seems to have a plan, but all the those suffering anguish from the call.)

    • Jack

      It’s only a game.

      My prescription for those suffering – repeat the above phrase as many times as necessary to lower the blood pressure.