Levy may not like replay, but he likes this reversal

January 27, 1992|By Barry Meisel | Barry Meisel,New York Daily News DL MINNEAPOLIS

MINNEAPOLIS -- Marv Levy opposes instant replay, but he loved the first-quarter reversal. Joe Gibbs favors instant replay, but he hated seeing Art Monk's 2-yard touchdown catch overturned because of Monk's right toe.

The Washington Redskins' domination of the Bills in the first half yesterday would have resulted in a 24-0 lead instead of 17-0 had replay official Cal Lepore not ruled that Monk failed to get two feet down in the end zone after leaping to catch Mark Rypien's pass.

"I still think instant replay is the way to go," Gibbs said Friday. "We were among the first people who wanted it. The problem is the way it's been handled."

There was no problem with the way Lepore handled the play with six minutes left in the scoreless first quarter. Washington's fans weren't through singing "Hail to the Redskins" before referee Jerry Markbreit announced the replay.

When the two oversize TV screens showed the tip of Monk's shoe touching the white sideline framing the gold end zone, the fans started screaming. It took less than two minutes for Lepore to legislate the first touchdown reversal in Super Bowl history.

It was only the second Super Bowl reversal in the six years since the NFL adopted instant replay.

"My initial reaction on instant replay was unfavorable," Levy said on Friday. "For every ill it addresses, there are shortcomings. Overall, instant replay has its pluses. But I wish it could be administered more efficiently."

Levy said the instant replay rule has created obstacles unforeseen when NFL officiating entered the video age. That's his biggest objection.

" 'Yes, it was a fumble,' " said Levy, imitating a referee. " 'But the whistle blew.' I don't like it when I see a play in front of me on the sideline and we're running a no-huddle and I know a play's not going to be reversed because it's right in front of my eyes and still they have [the clock] stopped and have two minutes run off."

Replay didn't go Gibbs' way yesterday, but he remembered Friday how it helped last year in the NFC wild-card game at Philadelphia. The Skins were ahead of the Eagles 7-6 late in the first half when the officials on the field ruled that Earnest Byner's fumble at the Eagles 5 was returned properly 95 yards for a touchdown that would have put Philadelphia ahead.

But replay correctly overruled the call, determining that Byner was down before he fumbled.

"We're proponents," Gibbs said. "With it, I have a more relaxed feeling as a coach."

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