Of the 24 coaches who responded to our survey on instant replay, 10 said they didn't favor the system's return. And regardless of the widely held view that officiating is worse now than in past seasons, no one in the league believes instant replay would get the 23 owners' votes necessary to have it reinstated. Here is what some coaches are saying about officiating.
•Pete Carroll, Jets: "We should have full-time officials, and we should have a farm system to develop new people. Too many seasons and games are held in critical balance by guys working part-time. It's unfair not to have full-time officials—a total oversight, stick-your-head-in-the-ground thinking."
•Ted Marchibroda, Colts: "I've heard about full-time officials, but that's not the answer. We don't play every day. That's a cop-out."
•Dave Shula, Bengals: "There should be one full-time official per crew. The referee could be the full-time guy, and he could coach the other guys when they get together [before the game] at the end of the week."
•Sam Wyche, Buccaneers: "I've already made this suggestion and been patted on the head and told to shut up. But we need a review process by someone who is not a former official and a buddy of the guys he's reviewing. We need to bring every official in the NFL into a room three times a year—after Week 4, Week 8 and Week 12—and go over every mistake by every crew. You'd see the penalties, and you could say to [referee] Jerry Markbreit, for example, 'Jerry, look at the holding. You're eight yards away and looking right at it. Why didn't you call it? It decided the football game.' Officials need this kind of accountability."
•Buddy Ryan, Cardinals: "It seems like the officials aren't as sharp as they were when we had replay. The problem is, I don't want that five-, 10-minute delay replay caused."
It's beginning to look as if Richard Dent, who had surgery on his right knee in September, won't return to the 49ers this year, making a restaurateur named Tim Harris awfully important to San Francisco's Super Bowl hopes. Harris, the 30-year-old former Packer, 49er and Eagle pass rusher, was running a diner about 65 miles south of San Francisco when the Niners called him on Nov. 22 to replace Dent. Harris will be used about 20 times a game in pass-rush situations....
Chicago offensive coordinator Ron Turner is the leading candidate to replace Bill Walsh at Stanford after impressing Cardinal athletic director Ted Leland in an interview last Thursday....
Joe Gibbs turned down the Carolina coaching job again for a simple reason: He and his sons, Coy, 21, and J.D., 25, will live together in Charlotte and work for Gibbs's NASCAR racing team when Coy graduates from Stanford in June. It's refreshing to see that Gibbs, who left the Redskins after the '92 season, saying he was retiring from coaching because he wanted to spend more time with his family, is doing just that....