The National Football League likely will pull the 1993 Super Bowl out of Arizona after voters Tuesday rejected a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said in statement that he will encourage NFL owners to play the Super Bowl elsewhere, and a source close to Tagliabue said there is an "80 percent chance" it will be moved to San Diego, third-place finisher behind Phoenix and Los Angeles in the bid for the game.
The Arizona-based Fiesta Bowl also is concerned about the repercussions of the vote. Brent DeRaad, director of public relations for the Fiesta Bowl, said the bowl "could have problems bringing teams in."
"I fully expect Notre Dame or Florida State or any team to be concerned about the way the vote turned out," DeRaad said. "It worries us obviously. This affects the Fiesta Bowl's entire future."
Athletic Director Jim Copeland of No. 11 Virginia -- which likely will be invited to the Fiesta -- did not speculate on the matter. "Until something happens it's all hypothetical and there's no sense commenting on the hypothetical," he said.
Also, the NFL announced yesterday that it received the final report from Harvard professor and former Watergate prosecutor Philip Heymann on the alleged Sept. 17 sexual harassment of Boston Herald reporter Lisa Olson. Heymann's report is about 60 pages long and the investigation team interviewed 91 people.
Tagliabue was scheduled to review the report yesterday but the King holiday issue delayed him. He probably will not finish the report until Wednesday, and then decide on a course of action.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time this issue has cost the state sports-generated revenues. In 1987 the NBA canceled its league meetings in Phoenix for the same reason.
San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor already has assured Tagliabue her city could handle the Super Bowl.
Owners are scheduled to meet Wednesday in Dallas, at which time the issue should be discussed and possibly voted on. Twenty-one of the 28 teams must vote to remove it from Phoenix, but with Tagliabue's recommendation that should be a formality.
"With the holiday referenda having been rejected Tuesday I do not believe that playing Super Bowl XXVII in Arizona is in the best interests" of the NFL, Tagliabue said in the statement. "I will recommend to the NFL clubs that this Super Bowl be played elsewhere. I am confident that they will endorse my recommendation. Arizona can continue its political debate without the Super Bowl as a factor."
Only Arizona, Montana and New Hampshire do not observe King's birthday.
Cleveland owner Art Modell said he would back Tagliabue. Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman, chairman of the Super Bowl site selection committee, has previously warned that should the King holiday referendums fail, Arizona might lose the Super Bowl.
"I think it's tragic for the people who worked so hard to get the game there," Braman said yesterday. "But I think it would be an affront to our public and our players if the game were played there. I can't imagine that people won't go along with the commissioner. I applaud him for his courageous stand."
Arizona voters chose between Proposition 301 and 302. The first would have made King's birthday a holiday, eliminating Columbus Day as one; the second was to declare the King holiday only. Both measures lost.
"I really don't think people were aware of the consequences," said Joe Lane, a political analyst and former Arizona speaker of the house. "I'm not talking about the political sophisticate, but the guy driving the cement truck. And I think there is still a lot of racism out there, whether people will admit it or not." Ware Gets 1st Start
DETROIT, Nov. 7 -- Andre Ware, last year's Heisman Trophy winner and Detroit's top draft pick, will get his first NFL start on Sunday when the Lions (3-5) host the Minnesota Vikings.
Coach Wayne Fontes said Ware is starting because Rodney Peete is bothered by a pulled hamstring.
"The young man has worked extremely hard for this opportunity," Fontes said. "He's been very, very patient and he's going to get his chance. If he happens to stumble, and does not have any success, he understands that Bob Gagliano will be put into the game."
Said Ware: "The other guys took it well. Rodney congratulated me and wished me the best."