Offensive holding calls were way down from last year in Week One and the 181 overall offensive and defensive penalty calls were the second-fewest in an opening week since the league expanded to 32 teams.
The change comes after an offseason that saw officials unable to visit training camps or work preseason games and after a change at the league office that resulted in the hiring of senior vice president of officiating training and development Walt Anderson .
Anderson has instituted changes in the mechanics of officiating and explained last week’s drop in flags by saying “people want to see penalties that need to be called, not penalties that are ticky tack.”
“When we were preparing, certainly going in, we had a theme of ‘clear and obvious’ and we wanted that to continue throughout the year,” Anderson said, via NFL.com. “We had to address clear and obvious. You can’t miss clear and obvious and it starts with that. Going forward we don’t want all of a sudden to start calling the ticky tack stuff. We want things that are clear.”
Anderson said that the league has charged officials with “not only improving our performance but improving our consistency.” This week’s second round of games will provide some insight into the consistency end of things.