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New point of emphasis results in plenty of flags for illegal contact, defensive holding

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots Getty Images

The NFL has made illegal contact and defensive holding a “point of emphasis” in 2014, which is a fancy way of conceding that the officials have been failing to apply the rules as written, and that the league finally has done something about it.

The officials did something about it last night.  According to former NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira, Thursday night’s six-pack of preseason games included 25 fouls for defensive holding and nine for illegal contact.

The Seahawks emerged unscathed in their rematch with the Broncos, a surprising development given that the point of emphasis undoubtedly resulted from the Legion of Boom’s strategic decision to push, pull, grab, tug, and/or shove receivers beyond the five-yard chuck zone, with the assumption that the officials won’t risk bogging down the game by throwing a flag every time it happens.

The league hopes that the officials won’t have to bog down the games that count, and that the players will adjust during the preseason and early in the regular season.  The last time the NFL admitted that the rules regarding illegal contact and defensive holding weren’t being enforced, the fouls climbed from 79 in the entire 2003 regular season to 191 in 2004.

At last night’s rate of 34 flags in six games, the 2014 regular season will include 1,450 flags for illegal contact and defensive holding.

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61 Responses to “New point of emphasis results in plenty of flags for illegal contact, defensive holding”
  1. heisthejuan says: Aug 8, 2014 7:39 PM

    Oh the NFL… Giving us what we don’t want and then claiming it’s what we wanted.

  2. kerzondax says: Aug 8, 2014 7:40 PM

    Let’s see what happens in Regular Season. Preseason stats not predictive.

  3. ariani1985 says: Aug 8, 2014 7:43 PM

    Change all the rules you want as long as green bays defense is on the field your guaranteed to score.

  4. avr29 says: Aug 8, 2014 7:44 PM

    So much for the demise of Seattle’s defensive backs. This is the second time that they haven’t been flagged (in the scrimmage/practice with game day refs, flags were thrown aplenty for offensive PI).

  5. seahawkfanfrom1970s says: Aug 8, 2014 7:45 PM

    Why doesn’t Goodell just dress all wide receivers in pink tutus while he’s at his job of dismantling pro football?

  6. NFLisnotreality says: Aug 8, 2014 7:46 PM

    “The Seahawks emerged unscathed in their rematch with the Broncos”
    I guess the Seahawk coaching staff gets it.

    This is what makes them a threat again this year for a Super Bowl run.

  7. isheimfromcolfax says: Aug 8, 2014 7:48 PM

    And you’ll notice Peyton had his way with Seattle’s secondary because they weren’t grabbing and holding. They’re done for.

  8. thestrategyexpert says: Aug 8, 2014 7:53 PM

    Time for these teams to start coaching these players up on how to play the game the right way.

  9. slugbaitspace says: Aug 8, 2014 7:57 PM

    Wait…out of 34 flags, none were against Seahawks? And none of their players have been suspended for taking illegal substances?

    Would YOU have made that bet?

  10. shayeezy says: Aug 8, 2014 7:57 PM

    not that it’s anything new, but the refs were abysmal in the chiefs-bengals game. refused to call blatant holding calls on the OL, then called holding or illegal contact on a DB once QB was able to get a pass off.

  11. gawdyourteamsucks says: Aug 8, 2014 8:03 PM

    Seahawks also couldn’t stop Peyton Manning either.

  12. streetpack says: Aug 8, 2014 8:04 PM

    once again they change the rules when peyton manning gets bounced from the playoffs. They did the same thing when Ty Law owned him

  13. jshawaii22 says: Aug 8, 2014 8:07 PM

    … and you’ll notice that Peyton Manning did the EXACT same thing last year in his only drive of the preseason against the same Seattle Seahawks and that got him???

    js

  14. valentino8100 says: Aug 8, 2014 8:08 PM

    Again. . .

    40 yards and a cloud of dust? SMH.

  15. zuzus petals says: Aug 8, 2014 8:15 PM

    Oh but won’t the fantasy football folks be happy?!! Happy, shiny fans!

  16. huskywolverine says: Aug 8, 2014 8:17 PM

    Roger Goodell won’t be happy until a QB throws for 10,000 yards. in 1 season.

    Worst commissioner ever.

  17. pencilmonkeymagic says: Aug 8, 2014 8:18 PM

    “And you’ll notice Peyton had his way with Seattle’s secondary because they weren’t grabbing and holding. They’re done for.”

    7 whole points – scored via a rushing TD – on a drive where Peyton fumbled, Broncos got called for three additional flags and the offense needed 18 plays before they managed to cross the goal line.

    Utterly terrifying.

  18. jimthebuilder27 says: Aug 8, 2014 8:18 PM

    Attention NFL:

    Some fans (in fact, most fans) actually want to see defense get played, not 40 point games all the time!

    Stop trying to make sure Peyton Manning (your golden child) gets another ring!

  19. leatherface2012 says: Aug 8, 2014 8:27 PM

    so what will al harris do with green bay if he cant grab?

  20. harrisonhits2 says: Aug 8, 2014 8:30 PM

    On one hand the refs always throw a lot of flags the first couple preseason games.

    On the other I think most fans don’t want to see huge numbers of ticky tack calls and fantasy football scores in real games.

    What’s next, limiting the defense to 10 men on the field?

  21. matterson20 says: Aug 8, 2014 8:30 PM

    Unfortunately what the league wants is not the right way.

  22. atwatercrushesokoye says: Aug 8, 2014 8:38 PM

    jshawaii22: Manning played about a half against Seattle last year not one drive, and while they did move the ball last year with ease, they didn’t end up in points very often, two off those drives ended in turnovers, J. Thomas fumbled once and the Hillman fumbled going into the end zone which was run back for a TD the other way…but I guess that wouldn’t back what you’re saying right?

    The Seahawks may not have been flagged for any defensive holding calls and only 1 PI call (they weren’t unscathed as claimed) they won’t go very far if they continue to take the 15 yard UR and taunting penalties.

  23. alshonsmeathooks says: Aug 8, 2014 8:44 PM

    Bears game has more flags than unflagged plays

    make it stop

  24. billybone says: Aug 8, 2014 8:45 PM

    BAHAHA, do I see Bronco fans talking smack about the Hawks because they won a preseason game?

    BTW, where have you guys been the last six months?

  25. joestemme says: Aug 8, 2014 8:45 PM

    Wouldn’t you just love to transport the ‘Steel Curtain’ Steelers Defense from the 70s into a time machine and have them hit the field in a game today (WITHOUT telling about the rules changes to boot).

    Imagine the looks on their faces as they were called for penalty after penalty after penalty?

    And, just imagine the post-game press conference on how they “feel” about today’s rules!??!

  26. shatho1 says: Aug 8, 2014 8:49 PM

    it would’ve been more than that if the refs would’ve called al the PI and holding penalties on the chargers that I seen

  27. dukeearl says: Aug 8, 2014 9:09 PM

    “it would’ve been more than that if the refs would’ve called al the PI and holding penalties on the chargers that I seen”
    ***********************
    They can only call real fouls… not fans dream fouls..

  28. number1hawkfan says: Aug 8, 2014 9:31 PM

    Yeah peyton had his way with the seahawks!!! In the first preseason game when a lot of the seahawks defenders didn’t play including Kam and Bobby Wagner. Weird that the broncos receivers played better without Kam ready to blow them up.

  29. donnymacjack says: Aug 8, 2014 9:52 PM

    The day is coming when the NFL will have to compete against another league. Some bunch of bored billionaires are going to form a new league and throw huge contracts at a few big stars….contracts with full guarantees, much like MLB. Then a they’ll throw big bucks at some college kids. Pretty soon a network that has been kicked in the shins by the NFL (hello NBC) is going to put this new league on national TV and dollars will start to flow…

    And then….the NFL will either strong arm them to the point they fold…or they will strong arm them into a merger ala the old AFL. Either way NBC will get the boot again.

    Yep, the NFL is getting too fat, and rich, and egotistical to continue much longer this way.

  30. justintuckrule says: Aug 8, 2014 10:08 PM

    Good. Throw 100 flags. Stretch out a 3 hour game to 6. Cram in a 1,000 commercials. Please….PLEASE drive us away so this crap product dies and a real football league with live contact rises from the ashes!!!!!

  31. beastmode5150 says: Aug 8, 2014 10:32 PM

    Zero on the hawks you haters. Why? Because they play within the rules set and set the example.

  32. spthegr8 says: Aug 8, 2014 10:33 PM

    If they call it like they should. The Cheathawks chances of repeating just went from slim too NONE!!!

  33. beastmode5150 says: Aug 8, 2014 10:34 PM

    Trust me, the Seahawks defense is NOT afraid of Peyton Manning, not any other QB, or offense.

  34. bucfanforlife says: Aug 8, 2014 10:51 PM

    calling these penalties is insane the o-line holds every play the wideouts push off every play if they call all these ticky tack fouls the nfl will be losing fans, it can have all the fake fantasy fans, I like defense and running the ball, the rule changes are killing the game

  35. Patskrieg dot com says: Aug 9, 2014 12:00 AM

    Extra flags slowed the Pats/Redskins game down to a crawl. They seemed pretty determined to nail Brandon Browner with something and threw a flag on a pass that sailed about 15 yards out of bounds.

  36. campcouch says: Aug 9, 2014 12:04 AM

    Why have defensive backs? As accurate as QBs are today, as large and athletic as WRs have become, you can’t lay the wood to a “defenseless” receiver anymore, a DB has no chance in a game.

  37. scw1993 says: Aug 9, 2014 12:17 AM

    This is all because the extraordinary Seahawks team had the unmitigated gall to beat the golden boy of the nfl, mr. wonderful in denver. Amazing the power this guy wields. In the coming years, you’ll see players dancing around the maypole at the 50yd line, because this is what the nfl is coming to. When the game is sissified to the point where nobody wants to watch, put the blame squarely on megahead, mr. nfl royalty. What megahead wants, megahead gets.

  38. z0inks says: Aug 9, 2014 12:49 AM

    Next year’s rule changes will include defensive backs being forced to either keep their hands in their pockets or wear straightjackets.

    They’re also debating whether to make defensive backs pair up and play the entire game in three-legged-race fashion.

  39. kamthechancellor says: Aug 9, 2014 1:04 AM

    I told you fools. Seattle still has elite DBs. Your sorry secondaries will suffer far more than the Seahawks. Scoring will be 50 pts/gm but Seattle will have the #1 pass defense still. You wanted Arena football, you got it.

  40. dilberry says: Aug 9, 2014 1:09 AM

    Plenty would be an understatement

  41. gianthater says: Aug 9, 2014 1:18 AM

    Roger, u have single handedly taken the NFL n made it into the National Flag League. Great players of years ago would b fined out of the league today for roughing up the QB n other players they would hit. The game is so different from the game I grew up loving for the hard hits n rough n tough play. Who wants to c 60, 70 pts a game when all a QB has to do for an automatic 50 yard completion is throw the ball up for grabs knowing a flag is following that pass n another easy 6 pts. Who wants to c the refs get more attention than the game itself. I hope it’s not to late to save the greatest game on the face of the earth. We need more flags like we need defensive players handcuffed even more. Roselle, u were the BEST!!!

  42. revelation123 says: Aug 9, 2014 1:32 AM

    Everyone can thank the Seahawks for this.

    The Wall Street Journal had an article entitled “The Seahawks’ Grabby Talons; Seattle’s Defense Relies On a Brazen Tactic: Rampant Interference”. This report details how the Seahawks were committing more penalties in the secondary than could be called by the refs.

    While the WSJ called this strategy ‘brilliant’ because of its past success, this same cheating strategy is now why we’re seeing the NFL focus on throwing more flags in the secondary.

    While we’re likely not going to see the Seahawks cheating their way to success anymore, the damage has already been done. The NFL can’t go back in time and stop Seattle from cheating. So now hey’re doing the only thing they can do: prevent them from cheating this way again.

    So thank you Seahawks for ruining it for everyone.

  43. ajas95 says: Aug 9, 2014 3:13 AM

    I’m a Seahawk fan but I still think this is a good rule emphasis. If they didn’t start throwing flags on illegal contact, you’d have 32 teams playing copy-cat Legion of Boom, where actual rules vary by referee. It would escalate quickly. Bad for the league.

    The 3 real questions in the rule change are: how will LBs adapt to defending pass-catching TEs when they ALL rely on redirecting after 5-yards to keep up… This is the biggest factor.

    Will this encourage “diving” by receivers to highlight the contact? Yes. It will.

    Will officials actually start calling the OPI shove-off on back-shoulder throws? They better.

  44. fiverings37 says: Aug 9, 2014 7:57 AM

    this new emphasis will make the games even longer, just like the college football.

  45. squackduckhawk says: Aug 9, 2014 8:08 AM

    Yes because when I want insight into the grizzly world of sports, I turn to the greatest sports publication in the land… The Wall Street Journal.

  46. metspeed21 says: Aug 9, 2014 8:30 AM

    Just let them play. Even when Cleveland benefits from ticky tack illegal contact calls it bothers me. Refs deciding games. Let them compete.

  47. bassplucker says: Aug 9, 2014 8:41 AM

    The Bears-Eagles game last night was a good game, except for all the flags. The one penalty the refs are noticably NOT calling is offensive holding, in particular on pass plays. Apparently you [still] can do anything short of pulling a gun to keep a guy from getting to the QB.

    I would rather see the refs pay attention to those penalties and let the DBs play a little.

  48. flyeredup202 says: Aug 9, 2014 8:58 AM

    I get that NFL wants to make the more High scoring….. but its taking out the skill of the game…. If i wanted to watch my team score EVERY time they touch the ball, I’d watch basketball….

  49. RegisHawk says: Aug 9, 2014 9:08 AM

    So, the WSJ says the Seahawks do this, but it’s the Broncos who got flagged for it. Sure thing.

    Next fantasy story…

  50. bospat says: Aug 9, 2014 9:11 AM

    Anytime Peyton is humiliated there’s sure to be
    a point of emphasis on the defense..prob argued himself this
    time instead of Bill Polian doing his bidding

  51. dedicatedhawkfan says: Aug 9, 2014 9:16 AM

    ” … a fancy way of conceding that the officials have been failing to apply the rules as written, and that the league finally has done something about it.”

    more like an attempt at a sneaky way of bowing to the whining of certain prima donna QBs. Let them play football – which consists of offense AND defense. I for one cannot wait for the day Manning retires. Have mad respect for Manning as a person but sheesh what a baby on the field

  52. gloryfromheaven46 says: Aug 9, 2014 9:25 AM

    “And you’ll notice Peyton had his way with Seattle’s secondary because they weren’t grabbing and holding. They’re done for.”

    7 whole points – scored via a rushing TD – on a drive where Peyton fumbled, Broncos got called for three additional flags and the offense needed 18 plays before they managed to cross the goal line.

    Utterly terrifying.

    ———————

    So, allowing 7 points isn’t a big deal, got it. It’s called ball control, go back and watch them against SD and NE in the playoffs… I’d take a long 10 min drive ending with a TD any flippin day.

  53. spfripp says: Aug 9, 2014 11:45 AM

    Never seen so many people get worked up over a meaningless game.

  54. tattooit says: Aug 9, 2014 12:13 PM

    What Peyton wants Peyton gets. Why not just skip the game and hand him the SB win that the League so desperately wants him to get.

  55. jmt8251 says: Aug 9, 2014 2:29 PM

    Bronco fans keep dreaming if you think this preseason game showed you anything about the Hawks defense you wil. Be crying again in Sept. SMH

  56. norcalseahawkfan says: Aug 9, 2014 4:22 PM

    Poppa John, Wants his pizza back!

  57. mastereee says: Aug 9, 2014 5:12 PM

    these rules will kill skeattles defense!!! they hold more than any team ive ever seen in football history! cannot wait to see loudmouth sherman get smokedddddddddd!! dude is a clown man! real chad johnson like

  58. adderal says: Aug 9, 2014 7:45 PM

    Hate the Seahawks but the holding they do seem to do excessively is not why the won it all last year and its gonna be frustrating for a lot of teams if they do call it a lot.

  59. salutethis says: Aug 11, 2014 8:41 PM

    I would rather have a fairly called game that takes 3 plus hours than a game where a team wins a championship with a game plan based on hold the offense because the defense knows they don’t wanna call all those penalties any day! But I’m sure the seatroll fans wouldn’t want that… Cause hey, so what if we had to cheat, we gotta ring right?!

  60. kybengal68 says: Aug 15, 2014 3:49 AM

    With the new point of emphasis, results in plenty of flags for illegal contact, defensive holding, why have a defense on the field, starting to hate the game of football. With all the rule changes. The Odense can just walk down the field.

  61. kybengal68 says: Aug 15, 2014 3:53 AM

    With the new point of emphasis, results in plenty of flags for illegal contact, defensive holding, why have a defense on the field, starting to hate the game of football. With all the rule changes. The Offense can just walk down the field.

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