Lawyers for the New Orleans Saints have joined NFL lawyers in opposing a fan's lawsuit over the failure to call a crucial penalty during a playoff game.
The failure to call a pass interference or unnecessary roughness penalty on Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman helped the Rams defeat the Saints in the NFC title game and move on to the Super Bowl.
In a Wednesday-night filing with Louisiana's Supreme Court, the Saints said allowing the lawsuit to proceed would "open the door to countless legal claims'' that would overburden courts, the league and its teams.
The NFL late Wednesday asked the high court to halt proceedings in the lawsuit. A lower court judge has allowed the suit to proceed and ordered that Commissioner Roger Goodell submit to questions in September.
"The Saints have always been completely supportive of our fans' unbridled enthusiasm and understand their passion, in particular for the no-call situation in the NFC Championship Game," a team source told ESPN's Mike Triplett on Thursday. "In no way do we not appreciate the support. However, we also need to be mindful not to open a virtual Pandora's box that allows courts and judges to either affirm or reaffirm contests played on the field. Mrs. (Gayle) Benson and Coach (Sean) Payton have worked diligently this offseason through the proper channels at the league level to address these concerns."
Saints punter Thomas Morstead took to Twitter in an effort to get his team's fans to move on.
Other suits dealing with the blown call have wound up in federal court, where they have failed. They included one long-shot effort to have the game or a crucial part of it played over before the Rams met the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, which the Patriots won.
The lawsuit crafted by Saints fan and attorney Tony LeMon is put together in such a way to avoid having it taken over by a federal court, in part by keeping the damages sought low. The lawsuit alleges fraud by NFL officials.
LeMon said that he intends for any money won to go to former Saints star Steve Gleason's charity to aid people with neuromuscular diseases. Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report