On Roger Goodell's authority to overturn

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
8:00
AM ET
Monday night has bled into Tuesday morning, so some NFC North blog operations will be pushed back and/or rearranged here on Tuesday. But I do want to address a question I got numerous times via Twitter in the early morning hours: Is there any way that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would invoke his authority to overturn the Seattle Seahawks' 14-12 victory over the Green Bay Packers by virtue of the "Extraordinarily Unfair Acts" portion of the NFL rule book?

The short answer is I highly, highly doubt it. A bad call does not appear to count as an "extraordinarily unfair act," which is defined as: "any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity." But for those of you interested in the full wording and explanation of Goodell's power under this rule, here is Rule 17, Section 2 of the NFL rule book:
Section 2 Extraordinarily Unfair Acts

COMMISSIONER AUTHORITY

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.

NO CLUB PROTESTS

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 investigation called for in this Section 2 will be conducted solely on the Commissioner’s initiative to review an act or occurrence that he deems so extraordinary or unfair that the result of the game in question would be inequitable to one of the participating teams. 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.

PENALTIES FOR UNFAIR ACTS

Article 3 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 Rule 17, Section 1, Articles 5 through 11, above. In all cases, the Commissioner will conduct a full investigation, including the opportunity for hearings, use of game videotape, and any other procedure he deems appropriate.

As long as we're on the subject of rules, take a look at this video breakdown by former NFL official Gerry Austin on the game's final play. According to Austin, Packers receiver M.D. Jennings established possession of the ball and should have been awarded interception. The play should not have fallen under the NFL's rules for simultaneous possession, according to Austin.

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