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Thursday, October 30, 2003
Updated: October 31, 9:37 AM ET
Tagliabue says Billick's replay comments out of line

ESPN

CHICAGO -- Commissioner Paul Tagliabue's best guess is the majority of NFL owners will want to keep instant replay despite recent criticism from Baltimore coach Brian Billick.

"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, admitting he can't predict the outcome when video review is put to a vote in March.

On the final day of the NFL's fall meeting Thursday, Tagliabue was strong in his opinion when asked about Billick's comments.

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.

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 he hopes by March 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 in Southern California.

Also Thursday, owners voted 30-2 against reopening the 1925 files and perhaps awarding the NFL title that year to the Pottsville (Pa.) 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 Philadelphia.

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 Maroons.

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, Ohio.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and Steelers owner Dan Rooney voted for opening the 1925 files.