There were more than 300 replay reviews in the NFL last season. Teryl Austin vows to watch all of them.
Hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers in January as their senior defensive assistant and secondary coach, part of Austin’s duties with his new team is to be something of a replay-challenge czar. And the preparations for that include tracking all of the reviews and challenges in the league from 2018 — the NFL compiles them and sends them out to each team — and searching for tendencies and patterns in what (and why) certain video review decisions are made.
“I will watch all of them and find out why they were overturned or not overturned,” Austin said Wednesday during Steelers minicamp, “and goods and bads so I can kind of formulate a plan so that when I see something, (I’ll tell Tomlin), ‘This can possibly be overturned,’ or, ‘Keep the flag in your pocket; it won’t.’”
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Austin has preferred to watch games from the booth throughout his 15-season career as an NFL assistant, including the past five as a coordinator.
Austin said he always “offered my 2 cents” to his head coaches on potential challenges over the years, although he’s never been designated as “in charge” of the process until now.
The Steelers have not had a single successful challenge over the past two seasons; Tomlin’s most recent successful challenge came Dec. 11, 2016, in Buffalo. He’s lost his past nine in regular seasons since.
“What I want to do is try to give Mike a perspective on whether we should challenge or not challenge,” Austin said, “and try to streamline the process so that we are more efficient in that area. Obviously, Mike is always going to be making the final decision — what I’m going to be doing is sending a recommendation. That’s all.”