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Coaches’ reversal rate drops while replay booth reversal rate soars

2017 replay statistics

A year of many modifications to replay is coming to an end, and overall, the rate of reversals has dropped for the first time since the 2014 season. This year’s centralization of replay gave senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron and his team in the New York offices the ultimate decision on every play that is reviewed to maintain consistency among all games. This has become the subject of much scrutiny: while most plays that went to review were called controversially, yet correctly, others left fans a lot of room for interpretation.  

Most of these notable rulings came on plays that were subject to automatic review, more commonly scoring plays and turnovers. Among these were a fumble returned for a touchdown in Week 1, touchdowns reversed to touchbacks in Week 6 and Week 10, and process of the catch reversals in Week 15 and Week 16. Although the coaches’ success rate is approximately 47.6%, which is a slight decrease from last year’s reversal rate of 48.8%, the rate of reversals by the replay booth jumped from 37.8% in 2016 to 44.0% this season.

All replay rates by coach (and the replay booth) are shown below. (Updated to reflect the 2 booth challenges from the Super Bowl.)

   Coach       Reversals Challenges Success % Postseason Challenges Overall %
1 Dirk Koetter   TB 1 1 1.000         
2 Jim Caldwell † DET 4 5 .800         
3 Marvin Lewis   CIN 5 7 .714         
4 Mike Zimmer * MIN 5 8 .625    0 .625
5 Mike McCarthy   GB 3 5 .600         
   Pete Carroll   SEA 3 5 .600         
   Jay Gruden   WAS 3 5 .600         
8 Bruce Arians † AZ 4 7 .571         
   Bill O’Brien   HOU 4 7 .571         
   Doug Marrone * JAX 4 7 .571 2 2 .667
11 John Harbaugh   BAL 5 9 .556         
   Kyle Shanahan  ¹ SF 5 9 .556         
13 Chuck Pagano † IND 4 8 .500         
   Ron Rivera * CAR 3 6 .500    0 .500
   Sean McVay *  ¹ LAR 3 6 .500    0 .500
   Anthony Lynn  ¹ LAC 2 4 .500         
   Adam Gase   MIA 2 4 .500         
   Bill Belichick * NE 2 4 .500 0 1 .400
   Sean Payton * NO 2 4 .500 0 2 .333
   Steve Spagnuolo † ‡ NYG 1 2 .500         
— Replay booth    NFL 110 247 .445 7 21 .437
21 Jack Del Rio † OAK 4 9 .444         
22 John Fox † CHI 3 7 .429         
   Mike Mularkey * † TEN 3 7 .429 1   1 .500
24 Dan Quinn * ATL 2 6 .333    0 .333
   Andy Reid   KC 2 6 .333         
   Doug Pederson * PHI 2 6 .333 1 1 .429
   Todd Bowles   NYJ 1 3 .333         
28 Hue Jackson   CLE 2 8 .250         
29 Sean McDermott *  ¹ BUF 1 4 .250    0 .250
30 Jason Garrett   DAL 1 5 .200         
31 Ben McAdoo † NYG 0 1 .000         
32 Vance Joseph  ¹ DEN 0 3 .000         
33 Mike Tomlin * PIT 0 4 .000    0   .000
— Coach’s total       86 182 .473 4 7   .476  

(2016 final replay statistics) Totals including the replay official, regular season and postseason: 207/457, .453

 ¹-First-year head coach, not including interim assignments. *-Playoff team. †-No longer with team. ‡-Interim coach. Ranked by regular-season success rate. Sources: NFL game statistics, Football Zebras research.

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Cameron Filipe
Cam Filipe is a graduate student at Boston University and has been involved in football officiating for ten years. Cam is entering his second season as a high school football official. This is his seventh season covering NFL officiating for Football Zebras.

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