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CallsCoaches’ challenge sinks some top teams

Coaches’ challenge sinks some top teams

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Is the coach’s challenge system the advantage that separates the master tacticians from the also-rans? This season that is not the case: not only did only four playoff teams fare better than even, but three teams that beat the house fired their coaches. In fact, all but one of the teams earning a first-round bye are in the bottom five in red-flag success, with those teams combining in a 2-for-15 success rate.

The Ravens’ John Harbaugh saw a dozen calls he didn’t like, but he also had the most reversals (tied with four other coaches). Cowboys coach Jason Garrett followed up his 5-for-5 season in 2012 with an “oh-fer” on two replay challenges.

The percentage of overturns that are on reviews initiated by the replay official are shown about two-thirds down the list at 38%. Of course, there is no disadvantage for the replay official to be wrong (loss of timeout), nor is the replay booth limited in the number of challenges.

Coach Reversals Challenges Success %
1 Leslie Frazier MIN 1 1  1.000
2 Andy Reid * KC 7 8  .875
Joe Philbin MIA 7 8  .875
4 Chuck Pagano * IND 6 7  .857
5 Jim Schwartz DET 4 5  .800
Tom Coughlin NYG 4 5  .800
7 Marvin Lewis * CIN 7 9  .778
8 Pete Carroll * SEA 7 10  .700
9 Bruce Arians AZ 4 6  .667
Mike Tomlin PIT 4 6  .667
Mike Smith ATL 2 3  .667
12 Marc Trestman CHI 3 5  .600
Gary Kubiak/Wade Phillips HOU 3 5  .600
14 John Harbaugh BAL 7 12  .583
15 Rob Chudzinski CLE 3 6  .500
Chip Kelly * PHI 3 6  .500
Mike Shanahan WAS 3 6  .500
Sean Payton * NO 2 4  .500
Mike McCoy * SD 2 4  .500
20 Doug Marrone BUF 3 7  .429
21 Mike McCarthy * GB 2 5  .400
Replay Booth NFL 90 237  .380
22 Jeff Fisher STL 1 3  .333
23 Gus Bradley JAX 2 7  .286
Rex Ryan NYJ 2 7  .286
25 Jim Harbaugh * SF 2 8  .250
Mike Munchak TEN 2 8  .250
Dennis Allen OAK 1 4  .250
28 Ron Rivera * CAR 1 7  .143
John Fox * DEN 1 7  .143
30 Bill Belichick * NE 0 1
31 Jason Garrett DAL 0 2
Greg Schiano TB 0 2
Coach’s total 96 184  .522

Totals including replay official: 186/421, .442. *- Qualified for 2013 playoffs. †No longer with team. Source: NFL game statistics, regular season only. Image: NFL coaches at the offseason owners meeting; Bill Belichick and Sean Payton are not pictured (NFL handout photo/Brian McCarthy).

Ben Austro
Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)
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