Football Zebras
Reference DeskPlayoff coaches threw many red flags this season

Playoff coaches threw many red flags this season

2015 replay statistics

After a precipitous drop in replay challenges last year, coaches were able to improve their reversal rate in 2015. The success of the red flag cratered at 39.4% last year, after being over 50% the year before — the difference between those two seasons being the use of centralized replay in New York, a system where the officiating department technically only confers with the referee, but ultimately decides the replay outcome.

Although coaches have not moved the reversal rate above 50% on average, about half of the coaches were 50% or better. Playoff teams are scattered across the table, when many playoff teams did poorly two years ago. Panthers coach Ron Rivera improved his replay record, even though he still treats his challenge flag like a hand grenade, leading all coaches with 14 challenges. Pete Carroll and Bruce Arians also have double-digit challenges, with each of them making the playoffs this year.

  Coach     Reversals Challenges Success %
1 Dan Campbell †­¹ MIA 3 3 1.000
  Ken Whisenhunt TEN 2 2 1.000
3 Mike McCarthy * GB 5 6 .833
4 Rex Ryan   BUF 6 9 .667
  Marvin Lewis * CIN 6 9 .667
6 Ron Rivera * CAR 9 14 .643
7 Jim Caldwell   DET 4 7 .571
  Lovie Smith TB 4 7 .571
9 Bill O’Brien * HOU 5 9 .556
10 Jeff Fisher   STL 4 8 .500
  Andy Reid * KC 3 6 .500
  Sean Peyton   NO 3 6 .500
  Dan Quinn ¹ ATL 2 4 .500
  Jay Gruden * WAS 2 4 .500
  Bill Belichick * NE 1 2 .500
  Mike Mularkey   TEN 1 2 .500
17 Jason Garrett   DAL 3 7 .429
18 Pete Carroll * SEA 4 10 .400
  Gary Kubiak * DEN 2 5 .400
  Gus Bradley   JAX 2 5 .400
  Jack Del Rio   OAK 2 5 .400
  Mike Tomlin * PIT 2 5 .400
Replay Booth   NFL 84 214 .393
23 John Harbaugh   BAL 3 8 .375
  Mike Pettine CLE 3 8 .375
25 Mike Zimmer * MIN 2 6 .333
26 Bruce Arians * AZ 3 10 .300
27 Jim Tomsula †¹ SF 2 8 .250
  John Fox   CHI 1 4 .250
  Tom Coughlin NYG 1 4 .250
  Chip Kelly †‡ PHI 1 4 .250
31 Todd Bowles ¹ NYJ 1 5 .200
32 Joe Philbin MIA 0 1 .000
33 Mike McCoy   SD 0 2 .000
34 Chuck Pagano   IND 0 6 .000
Coaches’ total     92 201 .458

(2014 final replay statistics)
Totals including the replay official: 176/406, .433
*Playoff team.
†Coach is no longer with team.
‡Pat Shurmer did not officially challenge a call in one game as interim coach for PHI.
¹First year as NFL head coach, not including interim assignments.
Source: NFL game statistics, regular season only.

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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