Ravens question officials, officially Modell, Marchibroda contact NFL's Seeman about some shaky calls

November 26, 1996|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Ravens owner Art Modell and coach Ted Marchibroda have contacted the NFL's director of officiating about some questionable calls in the team's 28-25 overtime loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Memorial Stadium.

Modell and Marchibroda are concerned about numerous calls that did not favor the Ravens (3-9), who lost the game on a 34-yard field goal by Mike Hollis with 5: 34 left in overtime.

Marchibroda and Modell contacted Jerry Seeman, director of officiating, yesterday morning. Seeman was unavailable for comment, but league spokesman Greg Aiello said any complaints from the team would not change the final score, but would be under review.

"There were some situations and penalties that we thought should have been handled differently, ones we strongly disagree with," Modell said. Immediately after the game, Marchibroda said he would not appeal to the league. He changed his mind yesterday.

"I just thought it was one of those things they have a right to know how we feel and how I feel," Marchibroda said. "The rulings didn't have any effect on our concentration during the game because we had our chances to win. But they did have some bearing on the fact we lost."

It started when the Ravens had a fumble recovery taken away midway through the first quarter. A punt bounced off the chest of Jacksonville's Chris Hudson and the Ravens' Mike Frederick fell on the ball inside the Jaguars' 25-yard line. But the play was nullified by an inadvertent whistle.

"I didn't see any of the players stop during the play," Marchibroda said. "The explanation I got was that one of the officials had blown the whistle inadvertently. Why?"

Seven plays later, Ravens cornerback Antonio Langham appeared to force a fumble when he hit tight end Pete Mitchell, who had taken two steps after the catch and turned upfield. But it was ruled that Mitchell never had possession. The Jaguars ended up punting from inside their 20.

Marchibroda also was not pleased with the pass interference call against running back Bam Morris on first-and-goal at the Jaguars' 3 in the third quarter. The penalty ultimately forced the Ravens to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Matt Stover.

"That's always been the rule," said Marchibroda. "Officials always tell you we don't make the call unless we see it. In some of these cases, I don't know."

Three fourth-quarter calls again hurt the Ravens. Safety Eric Turner was called for roughing the passer when he hit Mark Brunell just after the quarterback released an incomplete pass. That penalty set up Brunell's 11-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell, which cut the Ravens' lead to 25-17 with 12: 04 left in the game.

Then there was the time the officials elected not to call pass interference on Jacksonville's Bucky Brooks, who seemed to interfere with tight end Brian Kinchen on Vinny Testaverde's VTC third-and-nine pass. On the next play, the Ravens committed a false start, but that didn't stop one of the Jaguars from roughing punter Greg Montgomery. A scuffle ensued and Ravens running back Earnest Byner was penalized for unnecessary roughness. No penalty was called on Jacksonville with 8: 56 left in the game.

"He told me about the false start and Earnest, but whenever I mentioned Montgomery, he gave me an explanation but always left that out," Marchibroda said.

Neither Marchibroda nor Modell expects much to come out of the rulings, which will be released to the team Thursday, according to Aiello.

The Ravens said a lot of other penalties have gone against them this season, but nothing like Sunday, in which the Ravens were penalized eight times for 109 yards. Jacksonville, which leads the league in penalties, had 13 for 80 yards.

"I've been in this league too long to think these penalties are by design like Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders," Modell said. "These officials are honorable, decent, hard-working men who have respectable jobs.

"But I also know there has been a lot of turnover, a lot of veteran officials who have retired recently," he added. "And like all other rookies, they sometimes make rookie mistakes."

According to Aiello, there have been no more complaints from coaches than in previous years. He said the league encourages coaches to file reports on officiating after every game.

"The information that is filed we use to grade, evaluate and review certain situations," Aiello said. "We don't respond publicly, and everything is handled internally."

Next for Ravens

Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers

Site: Memorial Stadium

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 11/WJFK (1300 AM), WLIF (101.9 FM)

Line: Steelers by 5 1/2

Pub Date: 11/26/96

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