Dallas Cowboys president Tex Schramm said yesterday that if a vote were retaken among National Football League owners, the use of instant replay to aid game officials would be approved for postseason games this season.
Schramm's statement came amid criticism of league officiating from the Redskins and the Los Angeles Raiders. Art McNally, director of league officials, would not comment on specific plays yesterday, but said, "In the area of complaints, I'd say we have had less this year than in the last four or five years."
For the third time in four weeks, Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said, after reviewing game films, that he will submit to the league office several plays that he feels were called incorrectly during Washington's 27-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Two of the controversial calls that raised Gibbs' ire negated Redskins touchdowns: a 77-yard punt return by Darrell Green and a 13-yard catch by tight end Clint Didier.
"I don't want to be branded as a rebel. I just want to help things. It's really important. Everybody's job is on the line," Gibbs said yesterday at Redskin Park. "For all intents and purposes, we had three touchdowns called back (including Dean Hamel's interception return) and I'm upset. We'll cut out (the game film) of the ones we think were called incorrectly."
Gibbs, who labeled league officiating "inconsistent" following the Redskins' 17-12 victory over Philadelphia Dec. 8, said he has not been fined by the league for making such comments. The Post reported in Monday's editions that Gibbs had said he would be fined, but Gibbs said yesterday there had been a miscommunication.
League spokesman Joe Browne said, "No fines against Coach Gibbs are contemplated."
Meanwhile, Raiders managing general partner Al Davis was upset with the officiating in the Raiders' 13-3 victory over Seattle Sunday. After the game, Davis stormed into the press box to speak with the official league observer. Davis expressed his displeasure, dating back some years, with back judge Pete Liske, who ruled an apparent fourth-period interception by the Raiders' Mike Haynes an out-of-bounds catch.
Davis did not return calls yesterday. Al Locasale, a club official, said, "One does not talk with the media about criticism of the officials without getting commissioner discipline."
In November, 16 of 25 NFL teams present voted in favor of using replays to aid game officials on certain controversial calls in postseason games this season. The concept of using replays originally was raised by Gibbs in the spring of 1984.
However, 19 votes were needed for passage. Eight teams voted against the use of replays and one team abstained. Representatives of Seattle, Tampa Bay and Minnesota were not present for the vote at the annual fall meeting.
"There are obviously errors made (in officiating). I haven't noticed more made this year than in the past," said Schramm, a member of the league's competition committee, which endorsed the replays.
"If the vote was retaken now, you'd see it used for the playoffs. But there are no more scheduled meetings this year. (Using replays in the playoffs) would have to be something the commissioner can take the lead on."
Commissioner Pete Rozelle was traveling yesterday and unavailable to comment. However, Browne said, "We have no plans for a special meeting regarding instant replay."
McNally said that he has not sensed a growing support this season for the use of replays. "I haven't noticed any groundswell for it," he said. "The coaches I have talked to don't talk much about instant replay this time of year. They have a lot of other things to think about.
"Certainly, here and there, there have been plays that the possible use of instant replay would have helped us."
McNally gave this appraisal of league officiating this season: "Overall, it has gone very well. In some spots around the country, you'll hear that it hasn't gone well.
"The percentage of (officiating) errors is extremely low. I think one of the main reasons is the change in pass interference ( that gives defenders benefit of the doubt upon incidental contact)."
Sunday, Redskins rookie Barry Wilburn was cited for unnecessary roughness, negating Green's 77-yard punt return for a second-quarter touchdown.
Wilburn also was cited for an illegal block, which negated a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown by Green against the Eagles, a call that Gibbs said a league review found to be wrong.
In September, a similar league review found that two calls negating Houston Oilers touchdowns in the Redskins' 16-13 victory were incorrect.
Yesterday, Gibbs said of Sunday's play, "They were double-teaming Barry. Barry reached out and made contact with his elbow. On the same play, 10 yards downfield, you could have called (Redskins safety) Raphel Cherry for hitting a guy with his elbow. But that wasn't called. We're going to turn it in (to the league office) and see what they say."
Of the 13-yard scoring pass to Didier in the fourth quarter, which was negated by an offensive pass interference call against the tight end, Gibbs said, "(The defender and Didier) had mutual contact, Clint went off and ran the corner pattern and went in for a touchdown." Gibbs added that "the clarification of the rules of pass interference is a great one," but that "we have to have more uniformity" in making the calls.
Gibbs said that, after reviewing films, he remained uncertain whether officials had made the correct call in the final minute of the game when Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason was in the grasp of a Redskins defender, but managed to throw a pass that defensive tackle Hamel intercepted and ran more than 70 yards for a touchdown. The officials ruled that Esiason had been sacked before making the throw.
Seconds later, Jim Breech missed a potential game-tying field goal from 51 yards and the Redskins had climbed to 9-6.
"There's a lot of things happening," Gibbs said, when asked about the recent controversies in officiating. "I think it will prompt some things to happen, maybe a rule change or instant replay. I think we all want it called the right way."