Thursday, October 30, 2003
Union, NFL work on retroactive testing
CHICAGO -- NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue lashed back at
Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick for criticizing instant
replay, saying Thursday his comments were "intolerable."
Tagliabue said he expects owners to keep video review as an
officiating aid when it comes up for a vote at a meeting next
"My guess is replay will continue because they think,
three-quarters or more of the clubs will think, it's an important
tool in terms of officiating in the game," Tagliabue said.
The commissioner made his comments on the final day of the
league's fall meeting, where team owners awarded the 2008 Super
Bowl to Arizona.
After two challenged calls went against his team in a victory
over Denver last Sunday, Billick had seen enough.
"I quit. I give up," Billick said. "I've tried to be an
advocate for instant replay. I've tried to do the company line.
I've said the right things.
"League, I'm sorry. Dump it."
Tagliabue said Billick's comments were a "direct and severe
violation of our rules about criticizing officiating publicly."
"I think what Brian Billick said about replay was intolerable,
unacceptable, uncalled for and he should be fined," Tagliabue
said, adding he didn't know if that would happen.
Earlier Thursday, Arizona beat out Tampa and Washington, D.C.
for the 2008 Super Bowl.
Tampa and Washington rolled out some big names to make their
pitches. Retired Gen. Tommy Franks was in Tampa's corner and D.C.
went to bat with former Sen. Fred Thompson.
But Arizona, with a stadium shaped like a barrel cactus and
featuring a retractable roof and a grass playing surface that can
be rolled up, won out. The new facility, a public-private
partnership in suburban Glendale, is under construction and
scheduled for completion in 2006.
It will be Arizona's second Super Bowl. Sun Devil Stadium in
Tempe hosted the 1996 game between the Cowboys and Steelers.
"It's going to be architecturally significant and I think
that's important we make that stamp as well," Arizona Gov. Janet
Napolitano said of the new stadium.
Of course the weather didn't hurt. No cold weather city without
a dome has ever hosted a Super Bowl.
"And the people in Phoenix helped them finance the stadium,"
Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson said.
Tagliabue said he didn't think the Arizona Cardinals' gesture
last Monday, when on short notice they were able to host the
Dolphins-Chargers game because of the wildfires in California, was
the major factor in the decision.
"I can't say it didn't have an impact on somebody, but I don't
think they were at the core of the sentiment that was expressed in
the room or outside of the room, for that matter," Tagliabue said.
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder vowed to try again.
"We are disappointed, but we have learned many important things
while pursuing the 2008 game," Snyder said in a statement. "We
know the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland and a wide
variety of public and governmental entities can band together to
present a unified bid."
Tagliabue said by March he also hopes to have a timeline to give
owners on the progress of a new or renovated stadium in Los Angeles
that could lure a team. He also said the league could look at
giving financial help to the Chargers should they need it because
of the difficulties and rescheduling caused by the fires.
Also Thursday, owners voted 30-2 against reopening the 1925
files and perhaps awarding the NFL title that year to the
Pottsville Maroons. The Maroons were disqualified from championship
consideration by league president Joe Carr for playing an
unauthorized exhibition game against a non-NFL team in
The Chicago Cardinals were awarded the title, even though they
lost to the Maroons in a game that was billed as the championship.
Pennsylvania officials have stated their case on behalf of the
The NFL and the Hall of Fame did give the city some recognition
Thursday, if not the title from 78 years ago. They named the city
of Pottsville the winner of the Daniel Reeves Pioneer Award and
will present it to community representatives in August at Canton,
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and Steelers owner Dan Rooney voted
for opening the 1925 files.
"It was a championship caliber team that ran into an
unfortunate conflict with the league's rules," Tagliabue said.
"At this late date, it was impossible to overturn."