Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Losing a challenge costs an ever-important timeout.
In today's NFL, one timeout can be the difference between winning and losing. It's no wonder that this tool has become a focal point for the scrutiny of NFL head coaches.
The decision to challenge a call ultimately comes down to the head coach's decision to toss the red flag out of his pocket and onto the field. However, behind the scenes there are several other things happening at once.
The next play is being called, the team's replay coordinator in the booth is relaying what he/she sees and the coach is searching for a view on the big screen to see if he can find something to help him make the call.
At the same time, the other team is usually rushing to the line of scrimmage to get the next play off and prevent a challenge.
So is a coach wrong for taking a gamble?
It's easy sometimes to get lost in the moment and throw away a timeout, especially at home games. Fans are screaming for a challenge, and players are begging to see the red flag come into play to justify the case they've been pleading to the official.
Emotion, players, fans or an opposing team running to the line of scrimmage are all factors that influence coaches to make mistakes in this situation.
It takes a cool head and a patient but decisive approach to get it right.