Pretend You’re Coaching an NFL Game and We’ll Guess How Much of a Risk Taker You Are

By: Raj Chander

Pretend You’re Coaching an NFL Game and We’ll Guess How Much of a Risk Taker You Are
Image: David Madison / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

In the modern era of the NFL, coaches have a certain mystique about them that is difficult to duplicate elsewhere in sports. They are the highly respected, hoodie-and-polo-clad geniuses who draw up the plays that can either lead their squad to soaring heights, or have them calling around for job interviews the day after their game. Basketball is dominated by individuals, and a guy who can hit a ball traveling 90 MPH with a wooden stick can likely be coached by anyone, but in football, a smart head coach can turn a mediocre on-paper roster into a championship contender.

The other interesting thing about NFL coaching is the many different styles that exist in the field. You have your Jason Garretts of the world, who play it safe to the point of being questioned by ownership about their commitment to winning. On the other side of the spectrum is a guy like Ron Rivera, who earned the nickname "Riverboat" from his propensity for taking risks in high-pressure situations.

Of course, that's what essentially determines your coaching style: Your willingness (or lack thereof) to choose a risky and/or unproven option with the potential for a bigger gain, or a bigger loss. 

When the stakes are high, are you having your team go for it all? Or do you take the conservative route to grind out a victory? Tell us what you'd do as head coach in the following scenarios, and we'll guess how much you like taking risks in all areas of your life. 


It's the opening coin toss of a playoff game, what do you tell your captain to choose?
Heads
Tails
Whatever my assistant coach tells me.
I let my captain pick whatever he wants.

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Your coin toss strategy pays off - you won the flip! Are you receiving, kicking or deferring?
Kicking
Receiving
I let my QB decide.
Deferring

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On offense, what's the first play your team is going to run during its opening drive?
QB option
Button hook pass
Deep slant across the middle of the field
Run up the middle

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It's 3rd & 2 at midfield early in the game, with the score tied. You'd like to take the momentum of the game - what's your play call?
Deep bomb to the sideline
Play action pass to midfield
A short running play
A WR sweep

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You're at the opposing team's goal line on 4th down! What kind of play are you picking?
Field goal
Run it up the gut.
Fake handoff to a tight end slant
Fake field goal

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Your star quarterback hasn't been playing so hot lately. How do you respond?
Stay with my guy - I'm loyal through the ups and downs.
I'll keep him in, but I might say a few things to the press to light a fire under his rear.
I'll start working in the backup on wildcat plays and surprise formations.
I'm pulling him for my backup, especially if that backup is an untested rookie.

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It's the opening drive and your offense is humming - you just got a first down! What play are you calling next?
A deep bomb to keep the defense unbalanced
A play action screen pass
A short slant route
An off-tackle run

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Your star running back was recently involved in criminal allegations. How do you respond?
Not mention it or discuss it publicly and chastise him behind the scenes, but ultimately stand with him.
I'd double down and express my utmost support until more facts were discovered.
I'd have to cut him, I don't want the team brand associated with these kinds of issues.
I'd come out and make positive statements supporting him, but wouldn't take any action in public or private.

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You just had a tough loss and now a prominent talking head in the media has criticized your coaching style. What's your reaction?
I politely address it by saying, "He's entitled to his opinion."
I snicker, roll my eyes and dismiss the issue.
I don't answer the question.
I curse him out in the press conference and explain that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

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It's 2nd & short, typically a running down. What kind of play are you calling?
Run up the middle with my fullback
QB sneak
Fake handoff to a short screen play
Play action to a deep middle post

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You've just scored a touchdown but need to get a 2-point conversion to tie the game. What's your go-to play?
Short slant pass to my tight end
Flea flicker
QB option
An outside run away from the tackles

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It's a controversial play among football strategists - how often would you run a fake field goal?
Once every few games
Almost never - once every few years
At least once a game, sometimes more
Once or twice per season

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You're in opponent territory on fourth down, in borderline field goal range. What's your decision?
Punt and try to pin them deep.
Go for the field goal if my kicker says he feels good.
Fake a field goal and run it with my kicker.
Throw it deep to fool the secondary.

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It's the day before a big playoff game and the media asks you how you plan to defend the other team's star receiver - how do you answer?
I give away a tidbit or two about what we're doing to cover him, but that's it.
I tell the media exactly how we'll cover him, hoping to get info from the other team.
I politely say that I don't talk about the game plan in public.
I say that I'm confident in our plan but don't elaborate further.

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Your quarterback just got sacked on second down, and now you're facing a 3rd & long situation. What's your next play call?
Play action post deep down the field
Wide receiver end-around
Slant route up the middle
Short run outside the tackle

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Some punters can throw the ball, too - how often would you run a fake punt?
At least a few times per year, especially in big moments.
Almost never, I leave throwing to my QB.
At least once a game
Once every few seasons, when I don't think the other team expects it.

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Although it's a concept that was developed primarily in the college game, how often would you use the wildcat formation?
Never, I leave the college stuff to those guys
A few times per year, but only if I have a RB who feels comfortable with it
About every other game
Multiple times per game with different position players

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Your safety is the last line of defense before an opposing receiver scores against you. How are you coaching your safeties?
Keeping them deep, in Prevent-style coverage to stop deep balls
Mostly lining them up at a normal depth, but calling a blitz with one a few times per year
Mixing up their formations with a blend of double coverages and blitzes
Telling them to always go for the interception in coverage and blitz a lot

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Some head coaches are responsible for their team's personnel decisions as well. What kind of characteristics are you looking for in the college players you draft?
The potential to completely change the way their position is played
The "intangibles" that make a great player
Humble, polite personalities and the best-looking game footage
Fiery, inspirational leadership, even if it means trouble off the field

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Sacks are an important element of your defensive game - how often are you going after the other team's QB?
About one out of every three defensive plays
A few times a quarter
Every other play
Just once or twice a game

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Your team is slightly behind at halftime of an important playoff game. What's your message in the locker room to help them close out strong?
Loudly talking about all the hard work we put in to make it here
Yelling and slamming things to make a point and get them fired up
Quietly appealing to their sense of pride and manhood
Letting my QB or star player take over the speech

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What's your sideline outfit of choice while you are coaching?
A polo shirt, khakis and a visor on sunny days
An athletic shirt and nylon pants or shorts
A hoodie with the sleeves cut off and shorts
A bright-colored suit

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You're in the opponent's red zone on third down with 10 seconds left in the game. A field goal ties, but a touchdown can win it for you. What are you calling?
I'm going for it with a deep bomb to my best wide receiver.
I leave it up to my quarterback to see how he's feeling about going for it or not.
Bring out the kicker for a field goal.
I'm faking a field goal and throwing it into the end zone.

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Your star quarterback is dealing with a minor injury. It doesn't seem to be affecting him and he still wants to play, but it could be serious if it gets worse - what do you do?
Sit him regardless of how he feels - he's too important to our team success.
I'd try him out for a bit, but keep him on a shorter leash than usual.
Let him keep playing.
Let him play for a few games, then put in my backup to surprise the opposing team.

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It's the morning of one of the biggest games of your team's season - how are you firing up your guys to go win?
Bringing in a famous celebrity the team loves
Blaring their favorite songs and starting a huge team dance party
Reminding them of how hard they've worked and expressing my confidence in them
Getting up on my desk and giving an impassioned speech, the type I usually don't make

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If your team was playing in the Super Bowl and you had to kick off to begin the second half, what play would you call?
A normal kickoff
A high, short kick
A squib kick
An onside kick

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It's 4th and short in the opponent's red zone, with the score tied. What's your play call?
Pass it on a slant to the sideline
Screen to my running back
QB sneak up the gut
Kicking a field goal to get the points

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Your QB overrides you on a play call and it doesn't work out - what are you saying to the team?
I calmly tell them that this is why they should listen to me.
Nothing, I just move on with the game.
I yell and scream about the QB not listening to what I drew up.
I scold the QB publicly, but privately encourage him to switch things up when necessary.

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How often should an offense run the ball, compared to passing it?
70% run, 30% pass
50% run, 50% pass
40% run, 60% pass
70% pass, 30% run

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What kind of defensive and offensive coordinators would you hire to work with you?
An unproven but extremely smart college coach
Coaches who have succeeded in other sports
Someone with experience at the job
The candidates with the most success and experience calling plays

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You Got:

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