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Instant replay: Nolan was hot for a while

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

49ers coach Mike Nolan is taking heat for two lost replay challenges against the Eagles in Week 6. We touched on it here earlier in the week.

I've gone back over Nolan's challenge record, searching through game books and checking numbers against the latest ones kept by the NFL. I also compared notes with the 49ers, who also track challenges. The 49ers and I each had one more challenge than the league numbers were reflecting. I traced this to a 2005 game against Indianapolis. For whatever reason, the game book for that week isn't showing as many challenges as I had recorded.

In any event, Nolan's overall challenge record is 12-17 (.414) since his 2005 debut season as a head coach. That's a better percentage than the average for other coaches (.374 when Nolan's challenges are removed).

A look inside the numbers shows wild swings. For example, Nolan lost five consecutive challenges during the 2006 season before winning five in a row over the final four games, including two during that memorable victory at Denver. Nolan then went 4-for-5 during the 2007 season, leaving him with a 9-5 challenge record over a 20-game period entering this season. That is red hot by NFL standards.

Nolan has lost all four challenges this season, including those two against the Eagles. His overall percentage (.414) on challenges remains better than his winning percentage as a head coach (.333). Not much consolation, I know, but no victory is too small in the NFL.

Note: Check out Matt Maiocco's blog for additional insights on the 49ers' challenge process.