The Oakland Tribune

Garcia rips were embarrassing
February 03, 2003
by Dave Del Grande I DON'T KNOW about you, but I liked it better when Terrell Owens was the unofficial spokesman for the 49ers.

I have no problem with Jeff Garcia attempting to be more of a leader. But, Jeff, next time you pop off, I suggest you pick a more appropriate time and have something of more substance to say.

A guy coming off his worst game of the season and undeserving of a trip to the Pro Bowl should not use the national spotlight shining on Hawaii this week to call his team's search for a new coach "embarrassing."

What would you rather Terry Donahue do ... pull a Jerry Jones and try to talk Mike Ditka out of retirement? Or maybe play copycat to the Jaguars and Bengals and pluck the defensive coordinator of the fourth- or sixth-rated defense in 2002?

The 49ers properly identified qualified assistant coaches from the best (Tampa Bay) and second-best (Philadelphia) teams in the NFC and pursued them. It didn't work out, but what's embarrassing about that?

If I see a problem in the search, it's that Garcia needs all the help he can get and the 49ers are kidding themselves if they believe they'd benefit more from a new defensive mind-set than a super-sized injection of offensive imagination.

DATELINE: Out of bounds. The Super Bowl wasn't competitive enough to result in controversy, but you can bet our favorite collection of NFL know-it-alls -- the Competition Committee -- will discuss Jerry Porter's force-out and instant replay in general at their next meeting.

First things first: The call on Porter in the back of the end zone wasn't worth all the fuss. That's not to say he wouldn't have come down inbounds if not pushed. Just that it was a tough call that could have gone either way.

Should the play have gone to the replay booth for a second look? There are two issues here.

First off, I don't believe the replay judge would have overturned the call. Everyone saw the replays. Nobody can say for sure where Porter would have landed. And since it's not up to the replay judge to guess, I'm guessing he would have sided with his striped pals on the field.

Looking at the bigger picture, do we really want the replay judge stopping the game to examine such things? What's next ... catchable/uncatchable balls? Blocking in the back? Running into the kicker? Holding?

Hey, you want to take it to an extreme: How about if just one official is left on the field to spot the ball and the rest are in a booth with access to every possible camera angle? Don't you think they'd get just about everything right in that set-up?

Upon further review, I say leave the scope of replay judge as is.

DATELINE: In the net. There's no doubt in my mind which is the worst All-Star Game among the four major sports: the Pro Bowl.

To mention the NBA or NHL showcase in the same breath is just not right.

In fact, if no defense were played in the Pro Bowl, maybe it would be worth watching as well.

DATELINE: A Haas party. I'm not sure what's more impressive: 9,314 at Cameron Indoor Stadium to catch a glimpse of the top two women's basketball teams in the country, or 2,696 in Berkeley to watch Cal nearly upset sixth-ranked Stanford.

Here's hoping the Bears and Cardinals can put on one of those 1 vs. 2 showdowns in front of a full house in the near-future. Thanks in large part to progress being made under Caren Horstmeyer's whistle, it might not be that far away. ...

Especially, of course, if the Paris girls follow their brother down the blue-and-gold path.

DATELINE: The desert. The word "improved" is defined as follows: A basketball team that loses at home to Montana in December, then wins at Arizona six weeks later.

Congratulations, Mike Montgomery. You've done it again.

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