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Thursday, October 8, 2009
Officially speaking: Ref satisfaction index

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


Referee 2009 Coach-Initiated Challenges
Per Game
Don Carey
8 2.0
Ron Winter
8 2.0
Al Riveron
7 1.8
John Parry
5 1.7
Gene Steratore
4 1.0
Jeff Triplette
3 1.0
Jerome Boger
3 0.8
Mike Carey
3 0.8
Walt Coleman
3 0.8
Scott Green
3 0.8
Carl Cheffers
2 0.7
Terry McAulay
2 0.7
Ed Hochuli
2 0.5
Peter Morelli
1 0.3
Tony Corrente
1 0.3
Bill Leavy
1 0.3
Walt Anderson
0 0.0
The angry coach is a staple of sports with an entire line of Coors Light commercials to prove it.

Someone should market a Coaches Gone Wild video.

Coaches' cardiologists might disagree, but there's something utterly amusing about a grown man spewing steam toward an unsympathetic referee.

With those visuals in mind, I made an initial stab at putting together a referee satisfaction index for this season. The chart shows how many times head coaches have challenged each NFL referee through Week 4.

Challenges are subjective. Most are futile. Some seem to represent emotional, even petty overreactions by teed off coaches. It's interesting to me that coaches issue more wasted challenges during home games, when throwing the red flag can appease the locals, if only temporarily.

The Vikings' Brad Childress, for example, has a 9-8 challenge record on the road and a 5-14 challenge record at home, based on my records. His predecessor, Mike Tice, was even worse (5-7 road, 1-10 home). The Jaguars' Jack Del Rio (8-13 road, 8-20 home), the Titans' Jeff Fisher (7-6 road, 6-13 home) and the Bears' Lovie Smith (11-14 road, 5-17 home) are similarly futile home challenges. Former 49ers coach Mike Nolan (6-4 road, 6-13 home) was another futile home challenger.

Coaches have focused their challenges disproportionately.

Four of 17 NFL referees account for half of the 56 coach-initiated replay challenges through Week 4. Head coaches have challenged three refs -- Don Carey, Ron Winter and Al Riveron -- 23 times already. Carey is a first-year ref. Riveron is a second-year ref. Winter denied four challenges in Week 4, including two raised by the Ravens. Winter's satisfaction rating among the Ravens could use a little restoration.