NFL officials cut way down on holding flags in Week One

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Last year, the NFL told officials to make offensive holding calls a point of emphasis, resulting in an increase in flags. This year, things have changed.

NFL officials threw only 18 flags for offensive holding in Week One, a 78 percent decline from last year, according to ESPN.

The league isn’t saying whether it specifically told officials that they were calling too many ticky-tack holding penalties last year, but it seems likely that as part of the officials’ offseason training, they were told not to go overboard with the holding flags.

Penalties were down overall from last year in Week One of this year, which was good news from a watchability standpoint: Although there were concerns that a regular season without a preseason would result in sloppy play, the quality of the games was high. The officials may have helped that along by letting the marginal holding calls go.

24 responses to “NFL officials cut way down on holding flags in Week One

  1. The games were much better to watch without every freaking drive getting set back. Plus, the refs did a great job screwing Dallas on that OPI call. Excellent first weekend. (Dallas fans have no right to complain — they got a free interception when the refs missed an obvious hit to Goff’s head which caused the INT.)

  2. Just opens the door to more blatant holding plays if they know they can get away with it. It will not improve the game.

  3. If we’re being technical, the trend began in the Super Bowl when the Chiefs highly penalized O-line became magically effective against the best D-line in the league.

  4. Expect the number of holding flags to increase dramatically when the Lions visit the Packers in week 2

  5. dabears7190 says:
    September 16, 2020 at 10:36 am
    Just opens the door to more blatant holding plays if they know they can get away with it. It will not improve the game.

    This. It favors teams that coach holding and actually hurts teams that play by the rules.

  6. How do you think the NFL controls the outcome of games. It threw these jackleg officials. Had to get LA off to a good start

  7. The number of penalties called should not be due to a league directive, or a referees’ interpretation of the rules.

    Having fewer penalties in each game is a good idea. Just make the rules clearly reflect this.

    Holding, for example, could be defined as an o-lineman grabbing and pulling a defender to prevent that defender from taking a step.

    DPI could be defined in a similar way, grabbing and/or holding of the arms which prevents the receiver from attempting to catch the ball.

    Sure, there will always be some interpretation. But overall, let the guys play unless someone is preventing the opposition from playing the game fairly.

  8. Overall a good thing. Alternatively,I’ve often wondered what reducing it to a 5 yard penalty would do to the game.
    It kinda seemed like the penalty calling focus may have been shifted to pass interference. Looked like a lot of questionable calls were made in that regard for week 1.

  9. Holding shouldn’t be called if it didn’t affect the outcome of the play on the opposite side of the field.

  10. I thought it was great, but don’t let teams take advantage, especially at the end of the game.

  11. Well, we know the old saying “there’s holding on every single play, it’s whether the refs call it or not.”

    It’s a slippery slope for sure.

  12. This is good in theory, but it should not mean that they ignore blatant fouls either. If you want fewer holding penalties change the rules, don’t just selectively change enforcement so the players have no idea what is or isn’t allowed on each play.

  13. The Broncos deserved to lose, but blatant holding calls by the Titans were missed on three of their third down plays that led to first downs. That does not improve the game.

  14. This is to try to spike more offense for higher tv ratings. 78% is an enormous number.

    Winowich was held to the moon and back on a play in the game
    vs Miami and he still made the tackle. The lineman about ripped his shirt off.

    Goodell is a cheater and sucks.

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