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.