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Cory's Corner: Managing Replay isn't Coaching

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Cory's Corner: Managing Replay isn't Coaching

The more gaffes I see with instant replay, the more terrified I become.

It’s going to happen. A Super Bowl will be decided by failed instant replay, which will leave over 100 million people scratching their heads.

The premise of replay is good. However, replay has superseded just about every coaching decision.

Case in point is Saints head coach Sean Payton. He challenged two calls in Sunday's NFC Divisional Playoff that looked pretty iffy to the naked eye that they would be reversed. The narrative for Payton is that he made two challenge gaffes, not that he took his final timeout of the game with 14 seconds left and failed to remind his defensive youngsters that all you have to do is keep the Vikings out of the end zone and don’t allow them to sneak out-of-bounds. Yet, that didn’t happen.

And now people are dwelling on how Payton struck out on a pair of challenges. Tossing a red flag isn’t coaching. It’s trusting in your guy that is staring at a monitor. And he must really trust his guys upstairs because they didn’t even see it.

“Our monitor was down,” said Payton. “Our booth was the only booth that didn't have a feed to it. So, you just got to go with your gut, and fortunately, it wasn't an issue with the timeouts.”

Deciphering what instant replay is and how it’s legislated has not only turned into a necessary skill it separates the winners and losers. Remember when Jim Schwartz wanted to review a touchdown? The joke was on him because the NFL reviews all scoring plays.

Managing the pursuit of perfection is mind numbing. Why you ask? Well, because if the NFL really wants to pursue perfection, it should take off the restrictions in terms of what is reviewable. I realize that the NFL doesn’t want games to consistently run four hours, but when it means letting bad calls stand just because a certain play cannot be reviewed is crazy.

Give each coach two reviews and be done with it. If he wants to challenge a kickoff, that’s his prerogative.

Instant replay needs to be an accompaniment to the game — not the game itself.

Payton made two big mistakes in the fourth quarter, but his biggest mistake was not talking to his own teams about how to cement a win for the Saints.

Instant replay is a necessary evil now because the players are just too big, strong and fast to uphold the rules with just the naked eye.

But challenging a play shouldn’t be misconstrued with coaching, because it’s not.   


Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (36) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

croatpackfan's picture

Cory, nice review. I agree with you. Instant replay is necessary, not because of trust, but because of the speed of the game...

On the other hand, if home team can not give same conditions to visitor, home team should be penalized. E. g. - for this example when visitor is unable to have review monitor at their disposal, while home team have that possibility, visitors have 2 free plays (one at half and one at the end of the game) each for 2 points...

For me, it is always interesting how visitors have problems with earphones, monitors, locker room benefit, etc...

On the other hand, it is quite understandible why Williams was affraid to touch Diggs at his catch. Saints were already get 3 ridiculous PI calls during the game...

4thand10's picture

I don't know why anyone would give you a thumbs down for that Croat. You are 100% correct on this one.

Coldworld's picture

Replay hit a new low this season. I am not against it in principle but the current regime is awful. I accept that half the problem is that the some of the rules are as clear as mud, but so are the rationales for applying them.

HankScorpio's picture

I think Payton's biggest coaching mistake was talking to his team about how to cement a win. I believe he drilled it into the DBs heads that the game cannot end on a defensive penalty and they should avoid one at all costs. So Williams avoided contact so as to not draw a PI and give Minny an untimed down to kick the GW FG.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

That's a good point. Without it I have no explanation for why that DB just sort of fell over instead of tackling Diggs.

RCPackerFan's picture

The review system needs to be overhauled, because it is a flawed system.

IMO, the NFL should be in charge of replays. Not the coaches. There should be a hub based at NFL headquarters that reviews each play and signals the refs whether they need to look at the play further.

I don't get why it should be on the coaches to make sure a play gets called right. They should not have to run their team and oversee the officials.
After all, the people deciding on what happens on the field is the refs. And if they are not going to change that they should allow penalty's to be challenged. For example pass interference. A couple of years ago we all saw Sherman holding Julio Jones arm down not allowing him to catch the pass. We all saw it except for the refs. A play like that is clear to see, should be able to be challenged.

One of the biggest flaws in the challenges is the home field advantage. Home teams always get the advantage because they can delay the viewing for the opposing teams. That to me should be ran by the NFL, not the individual teams. Each team should have the same advantage in seeing the replays instantly.

I like having replays, but the system needs to be changed.

Coldworld's picture

Excellent suggestions RC. You have my vote.

RCPackerFan's picture

Thanks Coldworld.

Nick Perry's picture

"A couple of years ago we all saw Sherman holding Julio Jones arm down not allowing him to catch the pass. We all saw it except for the refs. A play like that is clear to see, should be able to be challenged."

LOL...We all remember it except for me!!! Man I'm getting old. Question RC...I'm assuming there WASN'T a penalty called on this play your referring to?

If that's the case then NO, I don't want a team to be able to challenge a play a penalty should have been called. That would add even more time to a game that's already being bogged down to 4 plus hours n some Sundays.

RCPackerFan's picture

lol. Well most of us remember it then. lol.

There was not a penalty on it. Sherman was hold one of Julio Jones arms down so he only could reach up with one hand to attempt to catch the ball. No penalty.

I get the bogging down the game and stuff.

But honestly, if they are going to give 2 reviews a game, open it up so anything can be reviewed. Such as this play. If the coaches have a review left they should be allowed to challenge this.

dobber's picture

DIdn't the league institute some kind of "unsportsmanlike conduct" rule that dealt with players lobbying for penalties? Maybe that was just a rumor. I think the quality of play (and speed of the game) would pick up if they enforced that. When has a player getting in a refs face changed their minds? I know they're just trying to get make-up calls later, but a WR who jumps up after a play and makes the 'throw the flag' motion--often not warranted--puts me off (even when it's a Packer).

I was put off by Diggs 'flopping' on the Vikes second drive...when he grabbed the DBs arm, pulled on it, then threw himself to the ground to draw a PI (this was right after he'd just drawn a PI on the previous play). It was so bad, I was wondering if he plays soccer in the off-season...

RCPackerFan's picture

I am not sure about the unsportsmanlike penalties.

I agree about that too. Some WR's seem to know how to work the refs too.

Yeah, that was a BS penalty. The refs gave the Vikings 3 points.
The one that bothered me was the Barr interception and then the flop to get the horsecollar. The guy barely touched his jersey and he goes down starts waving for a flag and then gets one.

dobber's picture

I forgot about about the Barr penalty, too. It sure looked like a flop, but there wasn't a lot of delay in the contact and in his going down, either.

Working the refs will always be part of the game, but it frustrates me that more players seem interested in that than in actually making a play. It reminds me of a time I was playing in a local basketball league, and the opposing team had a really good player (that, frankly, I couldn't keep up with) who couldn't finish around the hoop. He immediately called for a foul each time (as if he knew he was going to miss) even though I really never touched him (one time he was dribbling and said, "don't touch me or it will be a foul..."). After I got about three fouls in short order, the next time he went to the hoop I blasted him into the wall under the backboard. As I helped him up, I said to him and the ref, "In case you were wondering, THAT was a foul." I didn't have any problems after that.

WKUPackFan's picture

That is a fantastic story. Those local leagues get awfully rough. My Dad had his two upper front teeth knocked out in a local league.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, working the refs will happen. And some players seem to always be better at it.

thats funny about that bball player. I remember having similar things happen playing basketball.

CJ Bauckham's picture

Dobber, I do the exact same thing. If you want to call cheap fouls, then I WILL get my money's worth. My experience is similar to yours.. generally once that message is sent, the cheap foul calls stop afterwards

dobber's picture

Either that, or you get to sit down and have a beer a little sooner... ;)

CJ Bauckham's picture


croatpackfan's picture

Well, that on Barr, that was horse collar penalty. I just sorry that he did not pull stronger and hurt him so he would not be playing for at least one year. Just to feel how it looks like...

RCPackerFan's picture

by rule it was a horsecollar. But in reality it wasn't. He grabbed his jersey and that was it. Didn't pull him down by it or anything.

I agree, I wish he would have pulled him down hard by it. cause a little pain to him.

dobber's picture

If you're going to get the penalty, sometimes you make it count... ;)

Bearmeat's picture

I agree 100% RC. The Vikings got some serious zebra help on Sunday. And I agree also that the coaches should have 2 replay challenges about any aspect of any rule that they want to challenge.

4thand10's picture

Agree 100% RC

Nick Perry's picture

At this point I'd just be happy if I knew what the hell a catch is?

RCPackerFan's picture

wouldn't that be nice.

Some common sense would help that out.

Ball control 2 feet down its a catch. No ball control, 2 feet down, not a catch.
Going to the ground, if they had 2 feet down and control, and the ball hits the ground then it should be a catch and fumble.
Going to the ground, if they don't have 2 feet down or don't have full control and the ball hits the ground its incomplete.

It should not be that complicated.

Nick Perry's picture

Wasn't THAT convenient, the Saints monitors were down. Brand new stadium where there's been a total of 11 games played in it so far (including exhibition) and the monitors were down.

BULLS***!!! I'd be willing to bet the Vikings organization had something to do with that. At the very least workers weren't in any hurry to get them fixed in a timely fashion. If something like that happens then the other team shouldn't have the use of their monitors either. That's a pretty unfair advantage to the team without the use of the monitor. Just another reason I DESPISE the Minnesota Vikings.

dobber's picture

You point out Jim Schwartz and his taking a penalty for asking replay on a play he couldn't ask for replay on. That's on him for being an idiot and not knowing the rules...but my bet is that MOST coaches didn't know that rule. After that, virtually all of them did.

Every coach knows that they have to be ready on replay and they have to be prepared to deal with it. Coaches laud it when it helps them, loathe it when it doesn't. Much like shootouts in hockey, they know that this is part of the game that didn't used to be, and they HAVE to be prepared enough--and flexible enough--to know the rules and be ready to adjust for it.

So, in response to your title, it might not be coaching but it is part of being the head coach.

mrtundra's picture

It’s going to happen. A Super Bowl will be decided by failed instant replay, which will leave over 100 million people scratching their heads.

This is exactly why I don't want the vikings in any Super Bowl. A failed instant replay call could give them the title. If it does, I may never watch football again.

Since '61's picture

NFL headquarters is now involved with all reviews, replays and challenges. So in the case where an obvious penalty (as in the example with Sherman holding down Julio Jones' arm) NY should contact the officials and tell them they missed the penalty. No challenges by a coach necessary and it stays with the officials. Also, I would only apply this approach during the playoffs when titles are at stake.

As for the coaches challenges. I would keep that at turnovers, spotting the ball, and catch/non-catch, but first the league needs to clarify their rules on what a catch actually is.

As for the monitors, there is no excuse for either the home or visiting team monitors not working and there should be a backup system. This should be controlled by the league. The same with headsets or any other technical issues which could affect the game. Either the games are fair or they aren't. There is no excuse in this era for these failures unless there is a power outage of some type.

As for Sean Peyton, replays may not be coaching but it is decision making and that is part of his role during the game. I agree with Dobber completely on that point. Coaching is making sure that your players know what they need to do on the last play of the game. Like keeping the Vikings in bound and out of the end zone. My question on that final play is aside from Williams lowering his head and making a stupid play (from the time I played in the NY PAL Pee-Wee football league we were always coached and reminded that you always see what you hit and never lower your head and that continued all the way through HS football) where was the safety? The Saints should have a safety in the middle of the field who could come over and make the tackle even if Williams missed the play. someone should always be deeper than the deepest. That is what Peyton as a coach should be focusing on.

The league created this mess so they need to figure it out going forward. As for the playoffs they need to get the calls correct even if that means that the games are longer. The outcomes are too important for the teams involved. If the league does blow a call during a Super Bowl which affects the outcome they will need to justify their illegitimate champion. But if and when that happens it will be another bad day for the alleged NFL. Thanks, Since '61

sheppercheeser's picture

Replays are necessary, but I'm just going NUTS regarding the time it's been taking to reach a decision! My gosh, the game comes to a standstill for far too long! It just shouldn't take 5+ minutes to decide.....

snowdog's picture

after 2 min.of review , call stands as called . It's not that hard .

4thand10's picture

Monitors and communications should be checked before a game...they have a whole week and sometimes 2 to get that figured out. So there should be some type of accountability / penalty process on that.
On another note... I still don't think officiating has been quite up to par since the strike and the whole college Ref debacle. I'm all for NFL replay review because it doesn't leave a game in the hands of Refs. I'd rather lose a game knowing what really happened than on a crap call.

Coldworld's picture

Those pick plays are just illustrative of how variable the officiating can be and how much it can affect teams, even without a highlight reel head scratcher.

The NFL has to get better at officiating. Full time teams with penalties and incentives for performance are a necessity if the league wants to be taken seriously. It is not like the NFL is cash poor. Protect your product.

Teams must not be able to mess around with visual feeds or audio communications or use of the stadium fields. The playing field needs to be level.

Replays must be done by the league and by a consistent team. If a rule can not be empirical it should not be subject to review (for example the current catch rule).

All these are killing the game. A blown call is one thing a false or nonsensical review is worse. There is nothing worse than watching a game turned by an incomprehensible review—worse than a human mistake in real time. It debases the game and often changes the momentum or outcome.

Tundraboy's picture

"A blown call is one thing a false or nonsensical review is worse. There is nothing worse than watching a game turned by an incomprehensible review—worse than a human mistake in real time. It debases the game and often changes the momentum or outcome."

Fail Mary game being the worst example of.

Samson's picture

Eventually, the replay system will become even more sophisticated and the officials may become obsolete. There will be a room of a hundred or so "replay officials" located throughout the world that decides all plays on the field. -- Technology will actually allow these officials to view the replays even before the play has ended. -- Each week, a fan will be lottery chosen to be an official "NFL Replay Person" located at home with a decisive vote in the final call on every play of all 50 or more weekly NFL games worldwide.

It may also be possible that several games will have to be suspended until the following day to allow these officials to draw solid conclusions about any game. The playoffs may actually be in progress when many regular season games have yet to be decided because of the replay system.

The future is bright.
Happiness now is --- I won't be around to see it.

billybobton's picture

this is just bad reporting, no team is allowed a competitive advantage in tech

if the NO gear was really out then the queen gear is turned off

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