Jags Not Apologetic After Finally Getting Replay Break

By EDDIE PELLS, AP Sports Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Apologies? Given their team's rough season on the instant-replay front, neither coach Tom Coughlin nor owner Wayne Weaver are about to say they're sorry for Jacksonville's disputed victory over the Cleveland Browns.

In fact, both hinted that Browns president Carmen Policy might owe Jaguars' fans an apology for suggesting the bottle-throwing debacle in Cleveland could have happened in Jacksonville, too.

"That's not a responsible statement," Coughlin said Monday. "Our fans have been in many, many tight games, many close games, and they haven't ever reacted that way."

Weaver agreed.

"I think it was an uncalled for remark," Weaver said. "I think Carmen spoke without thinking on that one."

After the game Sunday, Policy said, "If we had won like this in Jacksonville, I would expect this to happen."

Before Sunday's 15-10 victory over the Browns, the Jaguars had been on the wrong end of two critical instant-replay rulings this season, although both came away from Alltel Stadium.

  • On Oct. 28, officials refused to overturn a disputed, game-winning touchdown catch by Ravens receiver Qadry Ismail with 4:07 left. The Jaguars thought Ismail trapped the ball, but no replay clearly showed it. Baltimore won 18-17.
  • On Nov. 4, Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair appeared to lose the football as he crossed the goal line with 44 seconds left for the game-winning touchdown, but officials didn't see it that way. They didn't overturn the play, even though one angle on the replay shows a fumble. The Titans won 28-24.

This time, the Browns felt they got the bad end of the deal, but Coughlin disagreed.

"The ball was not caught," he said.

But the play was reviewed after another play had been run. What if the decision had gone against Jacksonville?

"But it isn't, though," Coughlin said with a shrug.

The Jaguars escaped Cleveland Browns Stadium without any injuries from the bottles being hurled at them after referee Terry McAulay overturned the fourth-down play first ruled as a catch by Quincy Morgan.

Coughlin said he appreciated Cleveland coach Butch Davis' concern for his team's welfare after the commissioner ordered the teams to complete the final 48 seconds, following a 30-minute delay.

"He apologized to me, which I thought was something he didn't have to do," Coughlin said. "But he did, and I appreciated it a lot. Then, his concern was that his players would leave with our players so we could get off the field safely."

Coughlin and Weaver remain backers of replay, although both expect it will be reviewed in the offseason.

"Honestly, I think the only thing that didn't work in this game is that officials didn't respond in a timely manner to stop the play," Weaver said. "Clearly, replay helps you makes good decisions that could alter the outcome of a game. That's what it did in this case. But I do think when the replay booth buzzes, they've got to be quicker to react on the field."

The biggest change Coughlin would like to see: an equal number of camera angles for all games, instead of differing numbers depending on how big a network TV crew is on hand.

That could have made the difference in the Baltimore and Tennessee losses. But that change would have had no bearing on the result in Cleveland, or the ensuing melee.

"Am I satisfied with it? No. Can it can be better? Without a doubt," Coughlin said of the replay system. "But we've gone through this before."

(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)