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FootballNFLReplay successes are inching back up toward 50%

Replay successes are inching back up toward 50%

2016 final replay statistics

For the second year in a row, the replay reversal rate among head coaches has climbed following a steep drop coinciding with the introduction of connecting the referee to the New York command center in 2014. The success of the red flag has not yet exceeded, or even reached, the halfway point like in years prior to 2014, but coaches are nearing that mark, finishing over 48% in a the regular-season reversal rate of calls made on the field.

Update 2/6: Including the postseason, the total was one failed challenge under 50 percent. The final challenge of the season was two plays before the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, which confirmed the call on the field.

Five coaches who will no longer be with their respective teams for the 2017 season placed at the top of the list among all coaches, winning more than half of their challenges from the year. Notably, Gary Kubiak, who has stepped down as the head coach of the Broncos, challenged and won four time this season — the highest perfect record in the last four seasons. On the other hand, coaches who made the postseason ranked near the top or the bottom of the list. Bill Belichick, Jack Del Rio, Dan Quinn, and an improving Ron Rivera are among the best challengers, while Bill O’Brien, Ben McAdoo, and Mike Tomlin are down at the bottom. Only two coaches challenged ten or more times this year, and neither of those teams (Eagles and Rams) made the playoffs. Conversely, in 2015, the most frequent red flag tossers were in the postseason. Los Angeles interim coach John Fassel was the only one of the three interim coaches to make any challenges.

Ironically, Marvin Lewis, a member of the Competition Committee who had six reversals last season, finished 2016 as the only coach shut out this season with three unsuccessful tries.

Jason Garrett and Andy Reid, whose coaching staffs led the NFC and AFC, respectively, in the Pro Bowl each challenged once during the all-star game. Garrett won his challenge and Reid lost his. The replay official also buzzed down for a ruling review near the end of the game that stood.

The rate of reversals by replay officials has fluctuated over the last four seasons. Successful reviews initiated by the booth are down slightly this year compared to 2015.

Coach Reversals Challenges Success % Postseason Challenges Overall %
1 Gary Kubiak DEN 4 4 1.000
2 Bill Belichick * NE 1 1 1.000 0 0 1.000
3 Ron Rivera CAR 4 5 .800
Mike McCoy SD 3 4 .800
5 Gus Bradley JAX 5 7 .714
6 Jack Del Rio * OAK 4 6 .667 0 1 .571
Dan Quinn * ATL 2 3 .667 4 5 .750
Adam Gase * ¹ MIA 2 3 .667 0 0 .667
9 Doug Pederson ¹ PHI 7 11 .636
10 Todd Bowles NYJ 5 8 .625
11 Mike McCarthy * GB 3 5 .600 0 0 .600
Chip Kelly SF 3 5 .600
Jay Gruden WAS 3 5 .600
14 Rex Ryan BUF 5 9 .556
15 Chuck Pagano IND 3 6 .500
Mike Zimmer MIN 3 6 .500
Jim Caldwell * DET 2 4 .500 0 0 .500
18 Sean Payton NO 4 9 .444
19 Pete Carroll * SEA 3 7 .429 1 1 .500
20 John Harbaugh BAL 2 5 .400
Hue Jackson CLE 2 5 .400
Replay booth NFL 66 177 .373 5 11 .378
22 John Fox CHI 2 6 .333
Jason Garrett * DAL 1 3 .333 0 0 .333
Andy Reid * KC 1 3 .333 0 0 .333
Ben McAdoo * ¹ NYG 1 3 .333 0 0 .333
Mike Tomlin * PIT 1 3 .333 1 2 .400
Dirk Koetter ¹ TB 1 3 .333
28 Jeff Fisher LA 3 10 .300
29 Bill O’Brien * HOU 1 4 .250 0 0 .250
John Fassel † ‡ LA 1 4 .250
31 Bruce Arians AZ 1 5 .200
32 Mike Mularkey TEN 1 7 .143
33 Marvin Lewis CIN 0 3 .000
Anthony Lynn † ‡ BUF 0 0
Doug Marrone JAX 0 0
Coach’s total 84 172 .488 6 9 .497

(2015 final replay statistics) Totals including the replay official: 160/359, .446 (regular season and postseason)
¹-First-year head coach, not including interim assignments. *-Playoff team. †-No longer with team or head coach. ‡-Interim coach. Source: NFL game statistics.

Ben Austro
Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor-in-chief 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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