The National Football League is paying close attention to a racially sensitive referendum in Arizona that will be voted upon on Tuesday and should it fail, according to league sources, the NFL will pull the 1993 Super Bowl out of Phoenix.

Actually the voters have two referendums regarding the holiday, but only Proposition 302 has drawn the league's attention. If either Proposition 301 or 302 passes, the state will make official the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. It will also guarantee Phoenix will remain as the site of the 1993 Super Bowl.

Should the holiday not be observed, the sources said, the league would rather move the Super Bowl because of the embarrassment it would cause. Sources said it would probably be moved to either San Diego or New Orleans.

Only Arizona, Montana and New Hampshire do not observe King's birthday.

Joe Browne, NFL vice president of communications and development, said the league "looks forward to Arizona voters passing the resolution."

Polls show that Prop 302, which would make King's birthday a paid holiday, is likely to pass. The Arizona Republic's poll, released yesterday, shows 52 percent said they would vote for the referendum, 38 percent said they would not and 10 percent said they didn't know.

Proposition 301, which would replace the Columbus Day holiday with King's birthday, will probably be voted down. The newspaper's poll said that 74 percent of the state's voters were against it, 18 percent would vote for it and 8 percent didn't know. Both polls had a margin of error of plus or minus four points.

"Proposition 301 will never pass, but I think Prop 302 is pretty much 50-50 {and} it will probably pass," said Joe Lane, a political analyst and former Arizona speaker of the House. "When you talk to people on the streets or at the rotary clubs, they are so tired of the issue they will vote for it to make it go away."

Lane said people will vote for Proposition 302 because of fear the NFL will pull the Super Bowl.

"People foresee empty convention halls and stores" during the Super Bowl hype week when the city should be overflowing with business, Lane said.

After the league meetings last month, several owners and general managers said they felt Phoenix was in danger of losing the Super Bowl if the state didn't have a King holiday.

"The main thing was that we wanted the vote left to the people of Arizona and thought it served no purpose having owners making comments on it," said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

Cardinals wide receiver Roy Green said the players often talk about the King holiday situation because "we're part of the community."

"We're one of the three states that doesn't have a holiday," Green told the Republic. "Instantly, when you talk to people outside the state, the first thing they think about is racism."