Flags keep flying for illegal contact, defensive holding


If teams are going to adjust to the renewed emphasis on illegal contact and defensive holding, it hasn’t happened yet.

Friday night’s six preseason games included, based on a review of the official NFL game books, 14 defensive holding penalties and 10 illegal contact fouls.  The night before, six preseason games generated 25 flags for defensive holding and nine for illegal contact.

Throwing in the Hall of Fame game, which had five defensive holding fouls and two illegal contact calls, 13 preseason games in 2014 have generated 44 instances of defensive holding and 21 situations involving illegal contact.

The last time the NFL made illegal contact and defensive holding a point of emphasis (in 2004), the flags increased from 79 to 191.  The early rate of five combined calls per game projects to a full-season total of 1,280.

The NFL can’t afford to have games bogged down by additional penalties.  But the NFL also can’t afford to have teams blatantly commit defensive holding and illegal contact under the assumption that the officials won’t throw a flag every time it happens.

50 responses to “Flags keep flying for illegal contact, defensive holding

  1. Way too many flags thrown on the defense….and it’s the pre season!!! I hope Goodell is watching, not that he cares anyway. Defense is going to become extinct in this league sooner than we know. It was really bad watching some of these games, and watching flag after flag being thrown.

    We came to watch FOOTBALLLLL, not to watch the refs every two seconds. SMH

  2. This is way Sherman held on every play … the officials can’t call it on every play but if they do … eventually they will stop holding and making illegal contact.

  3. AND not ONE of those flags were thrown against Seahawk DB’s.

    So, REALITY says, it is obvious that all you naysayers here pointing fingers at the ‘hawks, are rooting for teams that have the very SAME issues.

    And I thought it was only certain political parties, aka fixed newz, who accused others of doing the very thing they’re doing?

  4. The rules are changing because people like lots of of fence and Mr Manning looked bad in Super Bowl 48

  5. All any fan wants is consistency. Call it the same way whether it is the first quarter of the preseason or overtime in the Super Bowl.

    Call it the same way whether it is the Niners, Seahawks, Ravens, Steelers or whoever.

    Consistency is where NFL officiating is badly failing.

  6. And the Lions can’t afford to let other teams get away with cheap and handsy contact on Calvin Johnson. They should hire a dedicated person to work on the sidelines as a Referee Rules Reminder.

  7. if shermam keeps holding on 3rd down and refs throw the flag everytime, the seahawks are in BIG trouble. your losing field position and keeping the def out there longer. seahawks will miss the playoffs. heres your nfc playoff picture.
    1. 49ers
    2. saints
    3. packers
    4. eagles


  8. Why is everyone complaining about Sherman as if he’s the only corner in the league that holds??? Anyone would love this guy on their team, without a DOUBT.

  9. First, the rules are not changed. Just the penalties will be called. Second, quit complaining, and trying to blame Goodell. If you don’t like the game, watch soccer, golf, or one of those other mesmerizing sports.

  10. The Seahawks emerged unscathed in their rematch with the Broncos…

    Ha ha ha ha

    It’ll end up helping the Hawks.

  11. SF had more of these penalties (Illegal Contact, Defensive Holding, OPI, DPI) than Seahawks did. Looks like they’ll be 6-10 at that rate.

  12. It’s time we hit this insane commissioner and these fools on the rules committee were it hurts: their advertisers.

    The argument goes like this:

    A. Thousands of arbitrary, ticky-tack, bizantine flags make the NFL’s product unwatchable.

    B. If the game is unwatchable, then people tune out of the $2.6 Billion in advertising companies spend each year to get you to buy their products. (Source: Sports Business Daily.)

    C. If you want to ensure that the product is watchable, you need to make the owners realize that we need to get rid of this commissioner.

    I’m thinking of starting a change.org petition for this very purpose.

    Besides, how are you going to get people in London to be interested in American Football, when nobody knows what Pass Interference is?

  13. Ha! Ha! This is funny, 48 Belongs to the Seahawks! All you can do is complain, Seattle did this, Seattle did that. What really happend was your team didnt win, because they didnt do this, your team didnt do that.

  14. If a WR can’t get a DB’s hands off him, he doesn’t deserve to catch the ball. Simple as that.

  15. So, so funny! You bunch of whiners. You thought Seattle was going to get screwed and now you’re starting to realize it’s everyone getting screwed. Welcome to the National (Arena) Football League. Fools.

  16. I’m not a fan of the Seahawks, but I am a fan of their incredible SB game, for which they’ve received very little credit. That said, stop blaming the Hawks team for new rules.

    That’s the fault of Miss Manning.

  17. The only reason people complain about Sherm is because they’re still butthurt over his NFCCG rant. They come up with ridiculous reasons why he’s not the best corner in the game (even though stats prove otherwise) because they think it will mask their jealously and lack of confidence in their own team’s secondaries. Sherman may be a loud mouth, but he backs up that talk on the field week in and week out. What excuses are you haters going to come up with next when this “Legion of Boom” rule has ZERO affect on the Seahawks still being the best defense in the league this season?

  18. Navarro Bowman has been one of the most fundamentally sound, subtle and illusive defense-holders I have seen. He’s out with injury for a while anyway, but I think the NFL’s most aggressive defenses (Seattle & SF) will both be affected by this change.

  19. It’s stupid.

    It’s almost like they just want to showcase offense to sell tickets.

    Oh wait.

    Seriously, it’s a bit ridiculous. I personally like seeing bone crushing defenses, and this rule seriously impacts the defense to a ridiculous standard.

    I hope they consider laying off those rules.

  20. Let me see, Sherman only plays one side strictly and mugs WRs all game and people really think he’s the best Corner ? Gimme a break. The only reason he has success is because he has a great pass rush and two excellent Safeties. Put Sherman on Dallas or Detroit or another team with a horrible D and he’ll become mediocre real quick.

  21. Preseason games are already boring, to make it worse, it looked like every game had like 25 penalties.

    Unlike most people, I won’t make it about only one team, it’s all about NFL’s pass-happy high-score policy to bring the casuals, because they believe that a 45-40 shootout is obviously better than a 17-14 game.

    Football is a two-side sport, big plays are a lot more than just long passes, huge runs or amazing catches, crucial stops and turnovers can be as exciting as the offensive game-changing plays.

  22. I don’t like this new ’emphasis’ much, but for all you people that think it is going to hurt the Seahawks, you need to think again. Instead, it is going to greatly help QBs that extend plays with their feet by scrambling around. Those broken plays are when DBs get grabby. And, yes, it just so happens that Russell Wilson is the BEST scrambling QB in the NFL. This emphasis is going to make the World Champions even better.

  23. @bostonian13:

    you can love the “player”, his abilities, hustle and his positive impact on a the game for his team.
    You don’t have to love his antics, arrogance and conceitedness.
    All character traits everyone hates about him.

    It doesn’t help that he dodged an obviously positive PED test on a technicality.


  24. The Patriots and crybaby BRADY already get incredible calls ala the BROWNS pass interference last season and how you can’t touch that potato chip Gronkowski…….can’t wait to see how many ridiculous flags they get this year!!!!

  25. Rules continue to make it a one sided game. Score were never meant to be 85-75. I’ll take a close low scoring game any day.

  26. “NFL Football, now with all the flopping and whistle blowing if the NBA!”
    Get rid of the reffs and tackling, we can playbwithbflags ang get some old recess ladies to officiate.

  27. saints12013, until your team can actually beat Seattle, I would suggest keeping your mouth closed. Your argument is weak…he’s the least targeted in the league, if he’s “not that good” as you suggest, why aren’t more QBs throwing his way trying to expose him? And clearly you’re unaware the Hawks pass rush prior to last season was practically non-existent, yet he still led the league INTs. Safety help? I seem to recall Earl being too busy shutting down Softy Graham to be “helping” where he wasn’t/isn’t needed.

    5th round pick Sherman>any CB on the Saints

  28. I am willing to sit through a few more flags per game until the play is adjusted. The calls will peak about week 2 and regress to the mean by week 10 as players stop holding and play to the rule.

  29. I love offense. Defense makes football like futbol…boring. I love offense. I love the way the refs are calling he games. I love offense.

  30. It’s simple. Either change the rules and allow defensive holding / illegal contact or not. If not, if refs see the infraction, then call it, no matter who it was against or who it was for or when and where, etc. There should be no grey area.

  31. skleech22 says: Aug 9, 2014 4:43 PM

    The Patriots and crybaby BRADY already get incredible calls ala the BROWNS pass interference last season and how you can’t touch that potato chip Gronkowski…….can’t wait to see how many ridiculous flags they get this year!!!!

    First off…I can’t believe it took 2 hours of comments before the Patriots were brought into the equation. Secondly….how about doing some research and see which Team (last season) “got” the most flags/calls. Thirdly….the Patriots haven’t been known to have a great Defense such as the Hawks and Niners so why would you bring them in this conversation? Oh yeah…you are a jealous hater….that’d be it

  32. Let’s go back to an old rule. When the ball is in the air its anyone’s. They are taking it to the point where you can’t stand to watch it anymore. If I was on defense I would put the guy on the ground at the line of scrimmage.

  33. I love all you little whiny girlie girls!! ITS FOOTBALL!! If my DB wasn’t pushing the limits and testing every WR he went up against, chances are he would be sitting. These rule changes have been coming every since the “Golden Hair Fool” became commish! Which is way before Sherm came into the league. All you whiny little girls who Im sure havnt even stepped onto a football field (except for leading cheers) just shutup and go back to your barbies or chess or whatever it is that you do.

  34. I might watch basketball if they actually had officiating. May the wrong sport is trying to do something. Like an earlier posted commented, just be consistent.

  35. If you really love sports where the officials decide the outcome, maybe football isn’t really your sport. Perhaps figure skating or gymnastics is more your speed.

  36. I can see the future! Players will wear pressure
    sensitive uniforms that will beep if a defender
    touches within 5 yrds or zap defender out of
    existence if Goodell has his way.

  37. So the NFL wants to further handicap defenses. I know everyone loves offense, but this is starting to get ridiculous. These defenders can’t hit high, they can’t hit low, and now they can’t even get away with any sort of contact to jam receivers or be physical in any way. They might as well just have defenses take a seat on the bench and allow the offenses to march up and down the field

  38. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate good defense isn’t a real football fan. We lost our blue collar jobs to China and India. Now we’re losing our blue collar football to the fantasy league lover Roger Goodell.

  39. What’s Sherman gonna do if he can’t hold?
    The guy is totally unimpressive except for his ability to hang on to the jersey throughout his limited area of responsibility.
    This season will show him to be nothing more than a large mouth attached to a mediocre talent.

  40. What’s Sherman gonna do if he can’t hold? He’ll still tip that ball to MalcSmitty, except this time, the ref will throw a flag on Craptree for OPI when he pushed Sherm. Seahawks will decline the penalty, run out the clock, and still win.

    There you go, history altered.

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