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Protest of Fail Mary won’t reverse score



Many have asked whether the result of the game can be overturned by the commissioner. The league will listen to protests, and may even acknowledge the protest has merit, but every result of every game stands as final.

Rule 17, Section 2 has detail on the commissioner’s authority to vacate the result of a game:

Article 1. 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.

Article 2. The authority and measures 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.

Bottom line. “The ruling on the field stands,” as referee Wayne Elliot said when handing down the decisive verdict.

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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