Instant replay proposal covers all the angles SUPER BOWL XXIX

January 28, 1995|By Vito Stellino and Mike Preston | Vito Stellino and Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writers

MIAMI -- NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue is ready to put instant replay back on the table for discussion in a new form.

At his annual Super Bowl news conference yesterday, Tagliabue unveiled a concept that will be studied by the competition committee at its annual meeting in March.

Tagliabue said the league would study putting fixed miniature cameras in the end zone that would give the NFL more camera angles than the ones provided only by television.

It would be tied to a mobile monitor on the sidelines. A screener would call up the appropriate shots, and the referee on the field would determine whether to change the call.

That would eliminate an instant replay official in the replay booth making the call and communicating with the officials on the field.

Tagliabue admitted that passing instant replay in this new form would be a "long shot" because the majority of teams appear to oppose instant replay in any form. It was voted out after the 1991 season, and it would take the approval of 23 of the 30 owners to bring it back.

After the news conference, Tagliabue discussed the plan with the co-chairmen of the competition committee, general manager George Young of the New York Giants and coach Don Shula of the Miami Dolphins.

Shula has favored instant replay, while Young has opposed it. But Young said he had an open mind about this concept because it would keep control of the game in the hands of the officials on the field.

Tagliabue's proposal is an obvious response to the bad calls the league had this year, but the commissioner wouldn't say that the league has a problem with officiating.

"Some people say if it ain't broke don't fix it. Our philosophy is if it ain't broke, make it better, anyway," he said.

Tagliabue said he is surveying the teams on ways that officiating can be improved. He's also asking each team to send videotape of five calls it had problems with in various categories.

He wants to find out if the winning and losing coaches identify a certain play.

"If both coaches identify a call, you want to look at it closely," he said.

Teams tend to complain more about calls in games they lost.

Tagliabue also said the league will start looking at expansion after the 1995 season, but said there's no timetable.

He indicated that the NFL will consider foreign expansion for the first time. Canada and Mexico will be considered.

Going light

The San Diego Chargers held a light practice, and coach Bobby Ross said his team is confident and ready to play.

The Chargers ran about 70 plays on each side of the ball, as the team made final preparations without pads.

"Saturday will be strictly a walk-through, and then there will be an overview of our kicking game," said Ross.

"We've been confident all year, and it hasn't changed since we've been down here," said Ross. "We were concerned about getting things done here, but we've accomplished everything we've needed to do."

Seau not yet 100 percent

Despite the two-week layoff, Ross said linebacker Junior Seau will not be completely healthy for the game. Seau is bothered by a pinched nerve in his shoulder, which he injured nearly a month and a half ago.

"The week off helped, but it's going to bother him," said Ross. "He'll go limp-arm for a play or two, but he'll go back out there. The only thing that will get it completely well is complete rest."

Pre-game speech preview

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Gary Plummer, who used to play with the Chargers, says he expects Ross to give San Diego a nice sermon before tomorrow's game.

"Coach Ross will use a lot of that Rodney Dangerfield stuff in his pre-game speech," said Plummer. "He's going to bring out the Sunday preacher in him on game day. He's probably going to bring out some articles and tear them up in front of the team, throw 'em down and start pounding his fist on the podium."

Return news

Deion Sanders and Dexter Carter each returned three kicks in practice. It was Sanders' first kickoff return action of the week.

"We got him the work, so we are prepared to do that," coach George Seifert said.

But he wouldn't say whether he planned to use Sanders in that role in the game. Sanders has been lobbying much of the season to return kicks, but Seifert has been reluctant to risk his getting hurt.

Seifert also said the 49ers will pass up an opportunity for a light drill at the game site -- Joe Robbie Stadium -- today.

"We don't go to the stadium the day before a game at home," Seifert said. "Besides, the fields here [at the University of Miami] are similar [to Joe Robbie's] and we won't have that long bus ride."

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