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

Raj Chander

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?

Your coin toss strategy pays off - you won the flip! Are you receiving, kicking or deferring?

On offense, what's the first play your team is going to run during its opening drive?

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?

You're at the opposing team's goal line on 4th down! What kind of play are you picking?

Your star quarterback hasn't been playing so hot lately. How do you respond?

It's the opening drive and your offense is humming - you just got a first down! What play are you calling next?

Your star running back was recently involved in criminal allegations. How do you respond?

You just had a tough loss and now a prominent talking head in the media has criticized your coaching style. What's your reaction?

It's 2nd & short, typically a running down. What kind of play are you calling?

You've just scored a touchdown but need to get a 2-point conversion to tie the game. What's your go-to play?

It's a controversial play among football strategists - how often would you run a fake field goal?

You're in opponent territory on fourth down, in borderline field goal range. What's your decision?

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?

Your quarterback just got sacked on second down, and now you're facing a 3rd & long situation. What's your next play call?

Some punters can throw the ball, too - how often would you run a fake punt?

Although it's a concept that was developed primarily in the college game, how often would you use the wildcat formation?

Your safety is the last line of defense before an opposing receiver scores against you. How are you coaching your safeties?

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?

Sacks are an important element of your defensive game - how often are you going after the other team's QB?

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?

What's your sideline outfit of choice while you are coaching?

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?

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?

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?

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?

It's 4th and short in the opponent's red zone, with the score tied. What's your play call?

Your QB overrides you on a play call and it doesn't work out - what are you saying to the team?

How often should an offense run the ball, compared to passing it?

What kind of defensive and offensive coordinators would you hire to work with you?

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