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Coaches complained about lack of offensive holding calls in Week One

CHICAGO - AUGUST 28: A referee picks up a penalty flag during a preseason game between the Chicago Bears and the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 28, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cardinals defeated the Bears 14-9. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

Most coaches complain when too many penalties are called. Following Week One of the 2016 regular season, many coaches complained about the absence of one specific type of penalty.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, complaints arose from the absence of holding calls. And for good reason; acting on a tip from a team executive who insisted that plenty of holding penalties weren’t called during the first slate of 2016 games that count, PFT determined (with research assistance from NBC) that 29 offensive holding penalties were called in Week One. That was an average of 1.81 per game, and a decrease by 13 from the 42 offensive holding penalties called in Week One of the 2015 season.

As one source explained it, the officials may have missed offensive holding calls in Week One because they were focused on new rules and points of emphasis. The complete elimination of the chop block, for example, may have been something the officials were policing aggressively, causing holding violations to be missed.

Thanks in part to the complaints, the decline was temporary. In Week Two, 41 offensive holding fouls were called, for an average of 2.56 per game. In 2015, there were 523 offensive holding penalties, or 2.04 per game.

By next year, the number could be even higher — if an eighth official is added to each crew. The presence of two extra eyes in real time will means that fewer fouls will be missed.

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72 Responses to “Coaches complained about lack of offensive holding calls in Week One”
  1. thegreatgabbert says: Sep 20, 2016 7:30 PM

    “We need more flags, dammit! More penalties to wipe out all the plays. Yessiree, Bob!”.

  2. mmack66 says: Sep 20, 2016 7:31 PM

    Just have an official for every player. Problem solved.

    If you miss a call, you are fired, and it is next man up.

  3. codythao35 says: Sep 20, 2016 7:31 PM

    Packers O-line is one of them. They always bring their own refs every where they go.

  4. margoadams says: Sep 20, 2016 7:34 PM

    NFL has lost all credibility. Falling apart under current owners and front office. GYST!

  5. bleedingfacemask says: Sep 20, 2016 7:35 PM

    “…if an eighth official is added to each crew. The presence of two extra eyes in real time will means that fewer fouls will be missed.”

    I think somebody said this when the 7th official was added back in 1978, too. It’s odd that we’ve gone four decades without realizing a need for an eighth official…

  6. imodan says: Sep 20, 2016 7:37 PM

    So coaches get to dictate what and how many penalties are called? Screw them, if they ain’t bitchin they ain’t tryin.

  7. arwiv says: Sep 20, 2016 7:42 PM

    This makes sense….the Cowboys put on a holding clinic vs the Giants and almost nothing was called.

  8. TheCakeIsALie says: Sep 20, 2016 7:45 PM

    And this is why I hate the Patriots.

    (or some nonsense)

  9. iseek11 says: Sep 20, 2016 7:46 PM

    We need to be more concerned about defensive holding by D-linemen. Now that O-lineman can’t chop and move to the next level it would benfit the defense to have their lineman hold O-lineman to give linebackers a free run to the ball.

  10. hlmatty1 says: Sep 20, 2016 7:47 PM

    And yet, not one holding call against the Steelers although obvious jersey holds, DLs being turned around, etc.

  11. MCxShow says: Sep 20, 2016 7:50 PM

    523 holding penalties!?

    Should be more than 2.04 per game but math was never one of my good subjects…neither was football…

  12. stellarperformance says: Sep 20, 2016 7:53 PM

    codythao35 says:
    Sep 20, 2016 7:31 PM
    Packers O-line is one of them. They always bring their own refs every where they go.
    ///////////////////////////////////////

    I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a Packer ref that came up with that head-shaking home-field new-stadium phantom pass interference call with 2:00 minutes to go. It was the call they didn’t dare replay on the big screen. Remember? That call.

  13. cincinnatifan says: Sep 20, 2016 8:01 PM

    Steelers held on almost every play. Pouncey jumped on 3rd down and Bengals get called for offsides. So many calls were not made. Pathetic officiating. That being said, Cincy did not play well enough to win.

  14. harrisonhits2 says: Sep 20, 2016 8:02 PM

    Soon almost every play will have a flag on it and Goodell and his cronies will have full control over who wins every game.

    The plays with no flags will become the anomalies.

    SMH the league is finished if they keep this up.

  15. bassplucker says: Sep 20, 2016 8:06 PM

    No joke, at least one snap per possession in almost any NFL game you’ll see at least one of the OTs with his arm hooked around the DE’s neck or shoulders, riding him to the ground and no flag. But it’s a passing league so that’s not going to be cracked down on any time soon.

  16. grogansheroes says: Sep 20, 2016 8:10 PM

    The more flags, the more stoppages, the more commercials, the more money the NFL makes.

  17. bowenfootdoc2013 says: Sep 20, 2016 8:11 PM

    The NFL needs more refs who are full time employees, who are dependent on their paychecks from the NFL, and are to be held more accountable for their mistakes on the field just like you and I are who are in business for ourselves or are working for the man.

    I am getting just a lot sick over the inconsistant play calling. Does it have anything to do with the betting lines and fantasy leagues?

    Won’t be long before I chuck the NFL sport out of my time-line like I DID WRESTLING AND BOXING A FEW YEARS AGO.

  18. calvinthegreat82 says: Sep 20, 2016 8:12 PM

    Sounds like my fellow Lions fans, bunch of cry baby excuses about the refs.

  19. thegreatgabbert says: Sep 20, 2016 8:14 PM

    If all the infractions on a given play were called by the books, the game would be reduced to a series of punts on 4th and 40.

  20. bordner says: Sep 20, 2016 8:14 PM

    MCxShow says:
    Sep 20, 2016 7:50 PM

    523 holding penalties!?

    Should be more than 2.04 per game but math was never one of my good subjects…neither was football…
    ————————————————–
    There are 32 teams that play 16 games each. 32 x 16 = 512, but you have to cut that number in half because they play each other. 523 penalties ÷ 256 games = 2.04296875 holding penalties per game.

  21. PFT loves the Steelers says: Sep 20, 2016 8:16 PM

    Y’all can complain about flags if you want, but if you’re team was getting blatantly held like the Bengals were against the Steelers, you’d be upset when the officials just let it go on. Look up some pics of that game. It was awful. Once the Steelers saw that no flags were being thrown, they started clinging to jerseys, arms, collars…whatever they could hold on to.

  22. solo681 says: Sep 20, 2016 8:21 PM

    Coaches need to be able to challenge one call per quarter no matter what the call was.

    Blandino MUST go along with corrupt NYC office controlling the calls.

    CLEAR as Day that the Bengals Recievers knee was down before the fumble – and we have idiot Blandin saying that it could not be determined !!!

    Friggin NFL Corruption has ruined the Game.

  23. baddawg02 says: Sep 20, 2016 8:22 PM

    Bengal fans picking up where they left off Sunday,crying about the Steelers.

  24. firerogergoodell says: Sep 20, 2016 8:24 PM

    All the holding penalties were replaced by taunting penalties. I saw taunting called twice in every game last Sunday. At least holding occurs during the actual game proving that once again the NFL doesn’t have it’s priorities straight.

  25. fartweasel says: Sep 20, 2016 8:25 PM

    codythao35 says:
    Sep 20, 2016 7:31 PM
    Packers O-line is one of them. They always bring their own refs every where they go.
    ///////////////////////////////////////

    I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a Packer ref that came up with that head-shaking home-field new-stadium phantom pass interference call with 2:00 minutes to go. It was the call they didn’t dare replay on the big screen. Remember? That call.

    ***********************************
    Now this is funny. The packers offense only moved against the Vikings because of penalties, some of which were questionable calls. One pi called in the vikes favor and it was phantom? Watch the tape again. You’ll see your d back grab diggs and turns him before the ball gets there. The announcers showed the replay and pointed it out as well. I know it’s tough though, GB thinks penalties should only be called on the other team.

  26. mnvikes1961 says: Sep 20, 2016 8:29 PM

    stellarperformance says:
    Sep 20, 2016 7:53 PM
    codythao35 says:
    Sep 20, 2016 7:31 PM

    Packers O-line is one of them. They always bring their own refs every where they go.
    ///////////////////////////////////////

    I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a Packer ref that came up with that head-shaking home-field new-stadium phantom pass interference call with 2:00 minutes to go. It was the call they didn’t dare replay on the big screen. Remember? That call.
    ________________

    Nothing illustrations the lack of O-line holding more than lil’ Erin’s TD run.

    A single pass interference call being complained about by a packer troll (who blindly couldn’t see it WAS pass interference)- isn’t that funny? The irony.

    Even funnier- PI calls were the Packers only yards/offense.

    The funniest- Packers are No. 31 in passing yards. No. 31

    Funniester- Erin’s new haircut.

  27. spotsdad says: Sep 20, 2016 8:31 PM

    Once upon a time, there was a sport called boxing. It was wildly popular. Corruption and brain damage brought it down. Sound familiar?

  28. Mr. Wright 212 says: Sep 20, 2016 8:38 PM

    DALLAS ESPECIALLY.

  29. bengalsfan2079 says: Sep 20, 2016 8:38 PM

    That was some of the worst officiating I’ve seen in the Bengals Steelers game so many holds not called but I mean we couldn’t run the ball worth a crap either. So many bad calls though.

  30. peytonwantsaflag says: Sep 20, 2016 8:39 PM

    Pittsburgh had 41 the first half and none were called

  31. getadealdonealready says: Sep 20, 2016 8:40 PM

    I think the problem is there is holding on almost every offensive play, but there seems to be little rhyme or reason to when it is called. I’d say the same for PI, the only difference is PI is called closer to NBA rules where the household names are routinely allowed to be physical, while rookies and lesser known guys draw multiple flags for playing the same style of D.

  32. justafanofnfl says: Sep 20, 2016 8:54 PM

    The Partiots offensive linemen were flagged four times for offensive holding and once for tripping in week one and three more times in week two. It’s amazing that they alone have accounted for 10% of the holding calls the league has doled out in the first two weeks.

  33. xavier179 says: Sep 20, 2016 8:59 PM

    Stellar performance, you must have gone to the ladies room because they showed it at least twice on slow motion and the whole country saw the penalty.

  34. thetwilightsown says: Sep 20, 2016 9:07 PM

    Week One

    Raiders: 8 Offensive Holding penalties
    Saints: 0

  35. steelpenguin6687 says: Sep 20, 2016 9:14 PM

    Bengals’ fans doing what they do best…whine. Just for the record, the Bengals got away with plenty in that game.

    After this weeks game against the Broncos, all the same comments will be posted, just replacing the name Steelers with Broncos.

  36. mborz says: Sep 20, 2016 9:28 PM

    PFT loves the Steelers says:
    Sep 20, 2016 8:16 PM

    Once the Steelers saw that no flags were being thrown, they started clinging to jerseys, arms, collars…whatever they could hold on to.

    ————————

    They adjusted to how the game was being called. This is what you’re supposed to do. This is why good coaches say they want a given game called consistently, so they can adjust accordingly. They don’t expect consistency from game to game, but they expect it with in a given game – so they can adjust.

    In the end, the Steelers were called for 5 penalties for 51 yards, and the Bengals were called for 5 penalties for 31 yards.

  37. dsigrey says: Sep 20, 2016 9:29 PM

    Let me guess it was John Harbaugh that complained?

  38. cowboyinpawleys says: Sep 20, 2016 9:47 PM

    Can’t wait till next year when we get 5 more penilities to review each game. Now an NFL game will last as long as a round of Golf

  39. z0inks says: Sep 20, 2016 9:49 PM

    Pretty sure there were 41 holding penalties called in the Tennessee/Detroit game alone.

  40. key740 says: Sep 20, 2016 9:50 PM

    The New York Giants would be 0-2 if these penalties were called. Watch Pugh and Flowers. Perps

  41. darcrequiem says: Sep 20, 2016 10:33 PM

    arwiv says:
    Sep 20, 2016 7:42 PM
    This makes sense….the Cowboys put on a holding clinic vs the Giants and almost nothing was called.
    ______________________________

    Oh they didn’t stop at week one. They kept it up in week 2. There was more holding on the Alfred Morris TD drive than your average prom night.

  42. julyeast says: Sep 20, 2016 11:37 PM

    The league let’s holding go because they don’t want QBS to get hit. This has been going on for about 10 years. The days of 13 to 10 games 50 times a season are over. If a defense gives up less than 20 points a game it is dominant these days.

  43. NoWearMan says: Sep 20, 2016 11:41 PM

    Man…….it seems like Joe Thomas is good for 1.5 per game on his own. 2.04 sure seems low to me.

  44. bleedingfacemask says: Sep 21, 2016 12:02 AM

    bordner says:
    Sep 20, 2016 8:14 PM

    There are 32 teams that play 16 games each. 32 x 16 = 512, but you have to cut that number in half because they play each other. 523 penalties ÷ 256 games = 2.04296875 holding penalties per game.
    —————————
    Hold on just a NY minute…when I signed up to post on this website, I was told there would be no math.

  45. bumper7642 says: Sep 21, 2016 12:07 AM

    I believe there were that many missed holding calls on the Steeler offensive line alone on Sunday.

  46. frenzy95 says: Sep 21, 2016 12:55 AM

    The NFL should start fining the refs for missed calls. It probably makes more sense then fining a player for a hit that did not draw a flag during the game. Why penalize the player without discipling the officials? Then if the officiating crew receives two or more fines in a giving week for missed calls then they are not allowed to officiate for one week.

  47. vonkaiser2001 says: Sep 21, 2016 5:57 AM

    It’s utterly AMAZING the amount of crying these pathetic Bengal fans do! There’s always two sides to the game!!! Try watching objectively for once instead of stupid blind loyalty to your own inept team!! No-calls happen constantly and every fan base with any common football sense or knowledge knows it!!! Try watching a James Harrison highlight reel…that dude has been tackled around the neck on every single rush his entire career and every Steeler fan knows exactly what I’m talking about. The referees are not the reason your team loses!!! The NFL is now a passing and scoring league now and forever after and they are going to make sure it stays that way whether you like it or not. Get used to it.

  48. nativeraider says: Sep 21, 2016 6:03 AM

    You wanna see offensive holding without being called watch K.Mack play. Thats insane how much he gets held.

  49. ipdaily69 says: Sep 21, 2016 6:09 AM

    No question Goodell and his in-the-bag refs have targeted NE with excessive penalty calls.

  50. cosmicredneck81 says: Sep 21, 2016 6:38 AM

    Now this really pisses me off holding is one of the worst calls in the game because it is a fact that there is holding on every single play everybody who ever played this game on any level knows this to be true holding is simply the easiest call to make when these worthless refs need to tilt a game in a teams favor I have been watching the NFL for close to forty years now and I am seriously just sick of it all I really am starting to believe that all these games are fixed and one more note I think when it comes to holding if you are on either side of the line holding should b perfectly legal

  51. ineptguy8 says: Sep 21, 2016 7:10 AM

    Every Bengals fan getting salty again over this. 523 holding calls missed on the Steelers, amirite? You guys must be lucky to root for the one team that never commits a penalty, or if you do it shouldn’t count cause one of the Steelers coaches was being mean. You may be shocked to learn that there is a hold on virtually every play and yet only 2 called per game. (that’s 1 per team guys) Can you just stop crying for 2 minutes and realize your team got outplayed?

  52. Scott says: Sep 21, 2016 7:26 AM

    Bah, who cares? They’ll still allow players to put Watt in a choke hold on every down.

  53. frozenstiff says: Sep 21, 2016 7:31 AM

    Watch any packer games that’s all they do and maybe get flagged 1 time, it’s the rodgers rule protect the QB at all cost just watch the sunday night game on his TD run at least 3 holds now that’s sad!

  54. kwjsb says: Sep 21, 2016 7:54 AM

    Tune in next week when coaches complain about too many holding calls

  55. mrba4775 says: Sep 21, 2016 8:12 AM

    The games are fixed

  56. jagmankane says: Sep 21, 2016 9:03 AM

    Jags had 16 missed calls in Packers favor week 1. 6 were probably offensive holding. The other 10 were PI no calls while the Pack molested AR15 and Rashad Greene.

  57. guitarrebel says: Sep 21, 2016 9:05 AM

    Seriously, I can see holding on my widescreen on almost every play.
    Legalize it already!

  58. sb44champs says: Sep 21, 2016 9:16 AM

    NFL is all about the money… It’s just a matter of time before the NFL becomes just like WWE wrestling and the NBA… The All Stars get the All Star treatment. Propping up All Stars, calling BS penalties and making more money is more important than the deserving team winning the game… Truth

  59. thesteelhurtin says: Sep 21, 2016 9:18 AM

    I love seeing Bungals fans crying over the refs. How about he 2 helmet to helmet shots on the same drive that were ignored. How about AB getting mugged all game long. Yinz don’t wanna talk about that though do you? That would go against your whole the NFL loves the Steelers.

  60. sc5000 says: Sep 21, 2016 10:19 AM

    Carolina was the worst holding team I have ever seen trying to stop Von Miller first game of the year. Still didn’t work.

  61. charliecharger says: Sep 21, 2016 10:43 AM

    Be careful what you wish for. Some things go hand in hand.
    High TV ratings – high coach’s salaries.
    High scoring = high TV ratings.
    Offensive holding = High scoring.
    Offensive holding = high coach’s salaries.

  62. awiltshire19 says: Sep 21, 2016 10:47 AM

    Theory I have on penalties in general is that teams that are known for something (i.e. 2014 Seattle Legion of Boom) get the benefit of the doubt. You saw the Seahawks get away with PI/Defensive holding as a result of referees saying well they’re known to be good they must just be that talented. You are seeing it now with the Broncos D-Line and QB pressure where they’re given more room to take liberties with the QB because they’re know. For having a great pass rush. Feel like the same applies to O-Linemen who are consider elite.

  63. proudchowdahead13 says: Sep 21, 2016 11:00 AM

    If the Zebras call every hold, the game would last 5 hours!

  64. lukeshow says: Sep 21, 2016 11:02 AM

    Stellar, that was textbook PI on that play. Game pass it.

  65. nbf1937 says: Sep 21, 2016 11:02 AM

    Is there any play during which someone is NOT holding?
    Scrap Offensive holding altogether and Defensive Holding 10 yards past LoS.
    The teams will adjust and the continuity of play will be much better.

  66. arcross12042004scorp15 says: Sep 21, 2016 11:37 AM

    Just looking for the Refs to be consistent.
    If it is holdimg or pass interference for one team, it should be the same when the other team does the exact same thing.
    The credibility of the game is at stake. Sometimes it looks like it is being officiated by WWE Refs. It comes across as scripted.

  67. nbf1937 says: Sep 21, 2016 11:53 AM

    The number of penalties and, in many cases, the capriciousness of the calls, is really hurting the watchability of the game.

  68. sja125 says: Sep 21, 2016 12:00 PM

    The less flags the better.

    Thru 32 games there were 431 penalties called. That’s an avg of 13.5 a game. That’s an avg of a flag every 4.5 min’s.

    You can’t go 5 min’s watching a game without a flag. When you consider it’s usually with a running clock, it feels they come even quicker.

    It’s time to reconsider how a game is viewed.

    Start with removing the ref’s as part of the viewing experience.

    No one tunes in to see Gene Steratore and Co. constantly stopping the action so they can tell us what just happened. The announcers can do that.

    The ref’s have become TV stars. On and off the field. The content they bring into the tv booth as experts is debatable at best.

    Even Baseball, the biggest time wasting snooze fest of them all, has put a clock on pitchers at every level except the majors. Less downtime.

    Fans tune in to see great athletes play a great game.

    Not guys with whistles stopping the action to explain what the booth can do while the new line of scrimmage is being set.

  69. dolfinsneedsuh14 says: Sep 21, 2016 12:05 PM

    Colts were positively one of the teams whining to the league office

  70. futureshock71 says: Sep 21, 2016 12:41 PM

    getadealdonealready says:
    Sep 20, 2016 8:40 PM

    I think the problem is there is holding on almost every offensive play, but there seems to be little rhyme or reason to when it is called. I’d say the same for PI, the only difference is PI is called closer to NBA rules where the household names are routinely allowed to be physical, while rookies and lesser known guys draw multiple flags for playing the same style of D.
    —————————————————

    It amazes me when a “slight” hold is called. a 300lb DL isn’t going to be held back by a jersey pull. The arrogant Sheriff and his cronies need to just fest up to the “Superstar Team” rules.

    The NBA is horrible and I stopped watching it seriously years ago because of this. The NFL needs to admit there are different rules for GB, PIT, SEA and yes NE. The Sheriff may have something against NE, but the refs are afraid of Belicheat.

  71. futureshock71 says: Sep 21, 2016 12:48 PM

    z0inks says: Sep 20, 2016 9:49 PM
    Pretty sure there were 41 holding penalties called in the Tennessee/Detroit game alone
    _________________________________

    frozenstiff says: Sep 21, 2016 7:31 AM
    Watch any packer games that’s all they do and maybe get flagged 1 time, it’s the rodgers rule protect the QB at all cost just watch the sunday night game on his TD run at least 3 holds now that’s sad!
    __________________________________

    Ahhhh. I was wondering why there was almost a record number of calls in that TEN/DET game. What better teams to get those numbers up. The NFL could care less about either team or their fans.

    NOW, with GB reeling, watch how great the holdinggg…. er protection is Sunday for erin to be great. They know no one outside of Detroit gives a care anyway.

    And if anyone brushes erin’s supersized helmet it will be a facemask. Automatic.

  72. paulg44 says: Sep 22, 2016 8:13 AM

    Not enough penalty calls? The Lions were flagged SEVENTEEN times alone in this past Sunday’s game, including a botched call that called back a TD that would have won us the game. I guess we played in a different league that day…

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