Time to rethink the mechanics of replay again? The official in the press box decides what plays will be reviewed only during the final two minutes of each half, but a growing number of coaches want to cede control of replays to that official for the entire game. That's because in most cases, the coaches say, they are guessing when to use their two in-game challenges. "The challenge thing is a joke for coaches," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells says. "You're relying on blind faith [in the assistant coaches upstairs] sometimes."
Adds Vikings coach Mike Tice, "The league has broadened our résumés. We're coaching, substituting, monitoring injuries, and they want us to officiate? That's their job." One obstacle: Three quarters of the owners would have to approve a change to any aspect of the replay system, which is in place through 2008. But there aren't 24 teams that want the system changed.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK
Ravens versus Redskins. The Ravens take the 38-mile ride from downtown Baltimore to Landover, Md., to renew what should be one of the budding rivalries in the NFL. But here's why it isn't: After the teams play on Sunday night, they won't meet again until 2008 and after that in 2012--when Ravens All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis (left) will be 37. The silly scheduling formula doesn't take interconference rivalries into account, instead matching AFC and NFC divisions once every four years.
BY THE NUMBERS
Cincinnati's 28--17 loss in Pittsburgh on Sunday was its 42nd consecutive road defeat to a team with a winning record. The Bengals' last such win came on Dec. 2, 1990, when they knocked off the Steelers, 16--12.
1. I'll bet you a conch fritter that a year from now the Dolphins' Dave Wannstedt (right) will be the coach at his alma mater, Pitt.
2. If there has been a better all-around tight end in the game this season than the Falcons' Alge Crumpler, I haven't seen him.
3. Who's Terreal Bierria? Only the most-underrated player on the most unheralded unit in the NFL. The Seahawks' defense has allowed 13 points in a 3--0 start, and Bierria, a rangy, punishing third-year strong safety, is tied for the team lead with 17 tackles.