Facenda's son is suing over the brief use of his late father's voice in a show about a John Madden video game. Facenda's contract barred the use of his voice for product endorsements.
The NFL argues that the show on the making of the 2006 Madden video game was an artistic endeavor. But the three-judge panel, in a ruling Tuesday, says the show is clearly a commercial. The program aired on the NFL Network just before the game's release.
Facenda, who died in 1984, was a prominent Philadelphia TV anchorman whose deep tone was dubbed the "voice of God." He was the voice of NFL Films for two decades.