Looking at coaching decisions that backfired


Raptors coach Nick Nurse made a not-so-swift decision on Monday night, taking a time out at a time when Toronto had Golden State on the ropes, and was ready to punch the Warriors through.

And so that sparked an idea for Tuesday’s PFT Live draft: NFL coaching decisions that backfired.

Simms made some decisions that backfired, allowing me to swipe the draft from him, even though he once again won the #rigged coin toss and got the obvious first pick.

For the six picks we made, watch the video and then give us your thoughts in the comments.

33 responses to “Looking at coaching decisions that backfired

  1. For all his greatness Belichick has had his share. To be fair, you play in that many big games people are going to remember the rare mistakes. Some of these are just his iron rules and not in game decisions.

    1. 4th & 13 in SB42 rather than kick to go up 7 late 3rd Quarter. Those were 3 big points.
    2. Benching Welker at all in 2010 playoff vs Jets
    3. 4th and 2 at Indy from own 35 with 4th Q lead (cost home field in AFC)
    4. Benching Butler in SB52. Don’t tell me he wasn’t worth a stop or two.
    5. Tossing away home field in 2015 reg season final by running same play over and over at Miami vs. hapless Dolphins. This meant a trip to Denver in AFC title.

    The list here is meant only to show that a few decisions here and there that go wrong is the difference between 6 and perhaps 10 or 11 Super Bowl titles. I realize they won a couple based on bad decisions from the other side too.

  2. mattcro0172 says:
    June 11, 2019 at 1:40 pm
    For all his greatness Belichick has had his share…
    3. 4th and 2 at Indy from own 35 with 4th Q lead (cost home field in AFC)
    4. Benching Butler in SB52. Don’t tell me he wasn’t worth a stop or two.
    At least for those two you’re wrong. Firstly, the Pats made that 4th & 2 but got a horrible spot by the homey refs in Indy, the ball placed a good half yard shy of forward progress. Secondly for all we know Butler would’ve made things worse – he’d been ill that week and anyway Gilmore had already become the Pats’ best corner. We also don’t know what team rule he broke (what if it was MJ? or he’d become high on some legal drug? – he seemed overly emotional during the game). Either way you can’t call it a mistake, it’s unknowable.

  3. Angel Valle says:
    June 11, 2019 at 1:30 pm
    Lol Has hindsight ever been wrong ?


    WAY too often…

  4. saxsexsixsoxsux says:
    June 11, 2019 at 2:08 pm
    Is there any bigger botched coaching decision than not running Marshawn Lynch from the one yard line in the Super Bowl? Hard to top that.
    Wrong. THE VERY PLAY BEFOREHAND, an already injured Hightower had still managed to stop an already tiring Beastmode goal run. And Pats were lined up tight again. So it was right to switch it up – THE MISTAKE was going to a stale goal line quick pass that Hawks had done so often in the past that Pats had practiced for it all week, and Wilson telegraphed it so clearly that a rookie corner spotted it in half a heartbeat.

  5. RE the Carroll S Bowl call. He has always been very predictable/lousy in his play calling. Everybody on the Texas defense on the 4th and 1 call in the NCAA Championship game in 2005 knew that L White was getting the ball and where he was headed. Heisman winner Reggie Bush wasn’t even in the game.To the point that several DB’s including the one who made the initial hit completely abandoned their assignments to play White. And before you blame it on Bevell, if Carroll didn’t okay whatever call was made that is even worse.

    Agree with streetyson on the call. Roll Wilson out. If it’s not there throw it away. Clock stopped. Last thing you want to do is throw it into traffic to a 3rd string WR .

  6. Definitely Pete Carroll’s decision not to give the ball to Lynch with SB on the line. Worst call ever. The close second would be Nick Saban deciding to challenge the time and then kick a field goal against Auburn that was returned for a TD instead of just taking a knee and go into overtime. It cost Bama a shot at a three peat and a chance to make history.

  7. If fans have the games, watch the 91 SB and the 83 NFC Championship games…Marv Levy for the Bills and Bill Walsh for the 49s butchered the clock for their offences, which kept both teams from kicking game winning FGs. Yes Norwood missed the FG, but the Bills had plenty of time to move in closer for him.

  8. Benching Butler wasn’t a mistake. He was an average CB all season and below average in the playoffs. With him being sick during Super Bowl week it was a no brainer to replace him.

  9. fritz96 says:
    June 11, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Benching Butler wasn’t a mistake. He was an average CB all season and below average in the playoffs. With him being sick during Super Bowl week it was a no brainer to replace him.

    I’m the biggest Pats fan out there- but no, that was a HUGE mistake by Bill, and it wasn’t due to his play. Bill had guys in there that didn’t even make the team last year instead of Butler.

  10. Cardinals calling a slant route to Boldin at the end of the first half against the Steelers, which James Harrison returned for a 100-yard pick six. If that doesn’t happen and they score, changes the whole landscape of the game.

  11. 4th and 2 was actually a good call. In that 4th quarter the Pats allowed a 5 play 79 yard TD drive and a 6 play 79 yard TD drive. Had the Pats punted it was very likely that the Colts would’ve had another drive given that they had 4 downs to play with. Had the Pats made the first down they would’ve been able to pretty much run out the clock.


  12. fritz96 says:
    June 11, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Benching Butler wasn’t a mistake. He was an average CB all season and below average in the playoffs. With him being sick during Super Bowl week it was a no brainer to replace him.


    See here is the thing about the Butler benching. I get that Butler did not have a great year in coverage but he was always an excellent tackler and a ball hawk. Tackling was an issue in that game. He’s also a huge upgrade over who they put in there like Jordan Richards and Johnson Batamosi. And the team had just lost Jonathan Jones to injury so they were already thin there. So if he was active and in uniform, he should have played. Had he sent him home or not dressed him, then we have a different argument.

  13. Denny Green having Randell Cunningham take a knee with Chris Carter Randy Moss and Jake Reed on the field

  14. As much as I love Tom Landry of the Cowboys, he made coaching decisions in games that cost them more championships.

    In the 1966 NFL Championship Game against GB, the Cowboys had the ball first and goal at the two yard line, down by seven points…Rather than sending his great RB Don Perkins into the line, Landry instead uses him as a decoy, ala Marshawn Lynch, and throws the ball on three of four downs…an interception ends the game for Dallas.

    In the 1967 NFL Championship Game in GB, The Ice Bowl…Despite Dallas holding a three point lead with four minutes left and their defence dominating the Packers in the second half, Landry changes the defence into a looser,more prevent type, that allows the Packers to throw more to their RBs, and they march down the field for the winning TD, on a sneak from QB Starr.

    In the 1971 Super Bowl, Landry starts Craig Morton over Roger Staubach despite Mortons bad elbow and arm, which affects his throwing. Morton plays one of the worst games in SB history.

    In the 1976 Super Bowl vs. Pittsburgh, despite having one of the NFLs most explosive offences, Landry calls a tight, conservative offensive game, which frustrates his QB, Roger Staubach, who can’t complete the Dallas comeback. Yes, the Steelers defence was excellent, but even coach Hank Stram, in the CBS broadcast booth, couldn’t believe why Landry didn’t open up the offence more.

    In the 1978 Super Bowl vs. Pittsburgh, two plays broke open the game for the Steelers. The first was a crucial pass interference against the Steelers Lynn Swann, who twisted his body into getting the call, which resulted in a TD on the next play by the Steelers, then a crucial mistake by Landry and the coaching staff for letting Randy White play on special teams with a broken arm in a cast…sure enough, White muffs the kickoff by Pittsburgh, which results in a fumble, then another TD from Bradshaw to Swann. The Cowboys can never recover from this last turnover.

  15. I never minded not running Lynch. Just the fact that everyone thought it was the “right” play means the Pats expected it and were stacked for it. That’s no gimme.

    Too bad the whole LOB was hurt that 2nd half. It wouldn’t have come down to that.

  16. In defence of Butler, yes he didn’t have a great year and he may or may not have been sick, but he was physical and would have challenged the Eagles receivers. He could have helped the defence make SOME stops.

    Getting back to Cowboys coach Tom Landry, he made the same mistake as Belichick, by not starting his HOF cornerback, Herb Adderly in the 1972 NFC Championship against the Redskins. Instead, he starts Charlie Waters over Adderly, and Waters gets beaten bad by WR Charley Taylor, where the Skins win easily.

  17. How does Sean McDermott benching Tyrod Taylor for Peterman, who threw 5 ints in the first half, not make the shortlist? OK they were only going to the playoffs for the 1st time in ions and they went anyway, but that has to rank high for sheer stupidity.

    That could’ve & maybe should’ve ended at least two careers.

  18. Pete Carroll’s decision to pass the ball at the one yard line in the Super Bowl.

    Bill Belichick’s decision to bench Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl against Philadelphia.

    Jim Harbaugh’s decision to pass the ball 4 times in the red zone in the Super Bowl against Baltimore

  19. Trent Baalkes decision to draft A.J. Jenkins in the first round.

    Its one thing to bust due to injury, outside influences etc..

    But this guy was a MARGINAL 6th round talent at very best, and he went in the first.

  20. mattcro0172 says:June 11, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    “1. 4th & 13 in SB42 rather than kick to go up 7 late 3rd Quarter. Those were 3 big points.”


    Yes! Glad someone remembers that. I still think about that one… or three huge ones! When I saw that decision live, I had an ominous feeling and that came back to haunt them and lost the perfect season. Good pick.

  21. Birdgang4Life says:
    June 12, 2019 at 8:36 am
    I loved seeing the Seahawks choke away that super bowl when Wilson got picked off.
    Big Ben to Santonio Holmes was sweeter.

  22. Every call Mike McCarthy made in the 2014 NFCC Game

    Every call McCarthy made in the 2007 NFCC Game

    Every call McCarthy made in the 2011 NFC Divisional Game

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!