FNF Coaches Talk for Wednesday, Jan. 30

FNF Coaches Talk

Good afternoon, Coaches. Let get right to business.

1. The Weight of the Red Flag on Super Bowl Sunday (Yahoo! Sports)

This is a really interesting story for coaches to consider before coaching in high-pressure environments. Are you less likely to be aggressive? Are you coaching as if you’re afraid to make the wrong call, so you’re instead choosing to pass on key opportunities?

It turns out coaches in the Super Bowl challenge far fewer plays with a significantly better acceptance rate.

But challenging calls on Super Bowl Sunday has, historically, been different. Over 19 challenge-era Super Bowls, 25 plays have been challenged by coaches, with 14 being overturned. It’s an exceedingly small sample size compared to 20 years of regular season games, but the overturn rate of 56% is a rather drastic difference from the regular-season rate.

Still, it makes you wonder … Are coaches passing on opportunities to challenge plays in the Super Bowl for fear of being wrong? Could they hit on an even higher number of challenges — perhaps not at the same percentage — if they continued to challenge the same way they do in the regular season?

The article theorizes that in addition to changing coaching philosophies in big games, technology and camera angles may also play a factor in the Super Bowl challenge rate.

Some of the reasons for the rising success rates are obvious. With nearly 20 years of collective experience to draw from, coaches are better than ever at challenging plays. A centralized review center takes decisions out of the hands of individual referees and places them in one location. With scoring plays and turnovers automatically reviewed, there are fewer desperation challenges. And, perhaps most notably, video technology continues to advance.

Coaches — How do you stop yourself from settling into a conservative coaching style during big games?

2. NCAA looks for ways to limit overtime football games (The Lewiston Tribune)

Here’s one for the player safety category that could trickle down to high school football in future seasons.

Marathon overtime games in college football, such as the one LSU and Texas A&M played last season, are already rare. The NCAA would like them to become extinct.

Concerned about increased injury risk to players, the football rules committee later this month will consider tweaks to the overtime format. The goal is to make it less likely for games to go beyond two extra possessions for each team. Among the more radical ideas set to be discussed is going to a 2-point-conversion shootout after teams have played two full OT possessions.

It’s an interesting concept — turning overtime into a 2-point conversion shootout. We wonder how much more time you might spend drafting 2-point conversion plays, and then practicing them, if this was the new rule on the high school level.

Some would argue, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” when it comes to overtime rules. And they may be on to something.

On average, 37 Bowl Subdivision games have gone to overtime over the past four seasons. Most end after one round of possessions. Only six games per season have gone past two overtimes.

What overtime rules do you favor at the high school level?

3. Local high school football coaches react to new RPI system (My Panhandle)

This is an interesting story about a region of Florida that introduced an RPI system taking three factors into account:

  • A team’s winning percentage
  • The winning percentage of the team’s opponents
  • The winning percentage of the opponent’s opponents

So, it doesn’t account for point differential, which is the most common complaint of RPI systems among coaches. In this system, there is no additional incentive to win by a blowout against an opponent.

Last season, the Panhandle region weighed strength of schedule more in its playoff rating system, and some schools with fewer wins earned playoff berths ahead of teams with stronger records.

“I think this added feature of your opponents, opponent’s record will kinda level it out a little bit and maybe help with what happened this year with some teams around the state not having very good records that were able to get in because of the opponent’s they lost to,” Mosley Head Football Coach Jeremy Brown said.

Some coaches feel this new RPI system puts too much emphasis on wins early in the season when development should be the priority.

“I think it’s very tough to get young men, 14 to 18, 19 years old up every Friday night and the way it is right now every one of them matter,” Rutherford Head Football Coach Loren Tillman said. “I liked the districts where you could focus on three, four, or five games a year be able to develop some depth too with some of the younger players get them in the game where it wasn’t as costly. But now with the way the point system was and with the RPI, every game matters.”

What factors should be considered in deciding which teams make the playoffs?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk!