The Saints wideout tweeted "Rule 17 Section 2 Article 3" early Monday morning, a reference to a part of the NFL rulebook that allows the league to reverse an outcome of a game affected by "unfair acts":
The passage of the rulebook reads:
The Commissioner’s powers under this Section 2 include the imposition of monetary fines and draft-choice forfeitures, suspension of persons involved in unfair acts, and, if appropriate, the reversal of a game’s result or the rescheduling of a game, either from the beginning or from the point at which the extraordinary act occurred. In the event of rescheduling a game, the Commissioner will be guided by the procedures specified in 17-1-5–11, above. In all cases, the Commissioner will conduct a full investigation, including the opportunity for hearings, use of game video, and any other procedure the Commissioner deems appropriate.
Thomas' plea is almost certainly going to fall on deaf ears. The NFL has never used this rule to reverse a game's outcome, and such a decision would be unprecedented in modern professional sports. Not only would it affect the franchises involved but also millions of dollars in gambling money and accommodations made by Rams fans in Atlanta, the site of Super Bowl LIII.
Odds are the NFL will issue a statement at some point Monday admitting the officials missed a pass interference and helmet-to-helmet call against Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman and move on. It's possible the league will look into expanding replay to include penalties this offseason, but nothing will be done to reverse the outcome.
Robey-Coleman committed what even he admitted was an obvious pass interference penalty on Tommylee Lewis with 1:45 remaining in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. Had the call been made, the Saints would have been able to drain the clock and set up a potential game-winning score.
"Ah, hell yeah, that was PI," Robey-Coleman told reporters in the locker room. "I did my part. Referee made the call. We respect it."
Instead, the Rams got the ball back with 1:41 on the clock down 23-20 and tied the game up with a Greg Zuerlein field goal. Zuerlein later won the game for Los Angeles with a 58-yarder following a Drew Brees interception.
"We all want to get it right, right?" Saints coach Sean Payton said. "We've got the technology where we can...we've got plenty of technology to speed things up, and look, I'm on the competition committee, so hopefully that provides a voice. But I hope no other team has to lose a game the way we lost that one today, though. We were in a position, like I said, to be right on there on the 10-yard line, whatever-yard line, and be on our knee for three plays. It's disappointing."
"Listen, it's tough to get over it," Payton later said. "My problem, it was, I just don't know, if we were playing pickup football in the backyard, the team that committed the foul...it was as obvious a call, and how two guys can look at that and come up and arrive with their decision...it happened though, so we can't dwell on it. We'll probably never get over it."
Payton said the NFL told him over the phone that the officiating crew missed the call. Odds are admissions of fault will do nothing to assuage the frustration in New Orleans.