In case you just landed on planet Earth and decided to root for the Chiefs, Andy Reid calls the plays on offense. With Doug Pederson now out of the picture, a lot of heated discussion has gone on this year regarding Andy Reid’s play calling decisions.
I have three questions I’d like to ask (and maybe answer) in this article.
1) Do many head coaches call their own plays?
2) Are head coaches who call their own plays on offense more successful than coaches who do not?
3) Where does Andy Reid stack up against his peers?
How many head coaches call their own plays?
To start, here is a list of current head coaches in the NFL who call their team’s offensive plays and how long they have been calling plays as a head coach:
- Andy Reid (18 seasons on and off)
- Doug Pederson (one season)
- Ben McAdoo (one season)
- Chip Kelly (four seasons)
- Bruce Arians (five seasons)
- Jay Gruden (three seasons)
- Bill O’Brien (three seasons)
- Sean Payton (10 seasons)
- Gary Kubiak (10 seasons)
- Mike McCarthy (two seasons)
- Adam Gase (one season)
- Dirk Koetter (one season)
- Hue Jackson (one season)
Roughly 41 percent of teams in the NFL have head coaches in the NFL call their own plays.
How many head coaches would you prefer to call plays over Andy Reid? Sean Payton has had more offensive success than Reid (it also helps to have Drew Brees behind center).
Wins and losses in 2016
Among coaches who call their own plays Andy Reid and Ben McAdoo lead their fellow coaches with 10 wins in 2016.
When I was working on these numbers, an interesting question popped into my mind. As of Week 15, do coaches who call their own plays win more games on average?
- Teams with coaches who do NOT call their offense’s plays have an average of 7.7 wins on the season.
- Teams with coaches who DO call their offense’s plays have an average of 6.5 wins.
Coaches who don’t call their own plays have won more games in 2016. Maybe this is evidence that in today’s NFL it may be better for head coaches to relinquish play calling responsibilities to offensive coordinators.
Even with this information, Andy Reid has the fourth most wins among NFL coaches in 2016. He should be given props for this.
Points and yards per drive
Obviously winning the games matters, but there are many of us who believe offensive efficiency is an extremely important factor in winning games. We’re trying to compare Reid to his peers, so let’s take a peek at how Reid’s offense stacks up against other teams who have coaches who call their own plays.
We’ll start with yards per drive.
Yards Per Drive - NFL Coaches Who Call Their Own Plays
Andy Reid is ranked seventh among 13 head coaches who call their own plays in terms of yards per drive.
- Teams with coaches who DO call their own plays average 31.1 yards per drive.
- Teams with coaches who do NOT call their own plays average 33.2 yards per drive.
Once again this may be some evidence that coaches should utilize offensive coordinators to call the plays in today’s NFL.
Reid ranks 21st in terms of yards per drive among all head coaches.
Reid’s offense has also has the second best starting field position in the NFL. The Chiefs average drive starts on their own 30 yard line. If one were to make an argument for Reid having lower yards per drive numbers, the Chiefs starting field position could be used.
Things don’t get any better for Reid and the Chiefs offense in terms of points per drive (which they should if they’re working with a short field.)
Points Per Drive - NFL Coaches Who Call Their Own Plays
Once again Reid ranks seventh among his fellow head coach signal callers.
Reid ranks 20th when compared to the entire NFL.
One would think that if the Chiefs were consistently given a shorter field than 30 other teams in the NFL, then they should fare better than the majority of the NFL in terms of points per drive. This is not the case this year.
Teams with head coaches who do not call their own plays have more success than coaches who do.
- The average team with a head coach that does NOT call their own plays average 2.10 points per drive.
- Teams with head coaches who DO call their own plays average 1.89 points per drive.
What does all this mean?
The numbers suggest the Chiefs offense may perform better if they decide to allow their offensive coordinator(s) the ability to call plays. Perhaps the Chiefs offense would benefit if more control was given to Alex Smith, Matt Nagy, or Brad Childress in terms of calling plays.
On the flip side Reid has been calling plays in the NFL the equivalent of an adult life, and I seriously doubt he changes any time soon. We may as well deal with that whole winning games thing while giving ourselves aneurysms after we see a bad call.
For me, I’d rather win games and have high blood pressure than lose games and be depressed.