Walt Anderson: Officials focusing on “clear and obvious” fouls

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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.

11 responses to “Walt Anderson: Officials focusing on “clear and obvious” fouls

  1. Games in Week 1 were a lot smoother and more enjoyable to watch without all the constant stops for questionable penalties that we had been seeing the last few years. Finally ol Roger got something right I think.

  2. Concept sounds good,hope it doesn’t lead to a lot of clearly and obviously missed calls. Some penalties can be clear without being obvious as well. But yeah, for sure less penalty and more play makes for more pleasant viewing.

  3. The start of the Bengals vs Browns Thursday night game was rough. The Sideline Judge had to be overturned by “Clear and Obvious” video evidence on a AJ Green out of bounds catch. The rub is that is was not even close to the naked eye in real time.

  4. I know the NFL refs are terrible but watching the NBA over the past few months reminds me that things could be even worse.

  5. Even if the refs call things the same as they did in week 1, I’d expect the number of flags to increase dramatically, as teams take advantage of the situation and instruct their players to hold more and see what they can get away with. So even if the refs remain consistent, I’d expect the change to come from the players behavior. One of the great skills for offensive linemen and defensive backs, is to learn how to hold just enough to gain an advantage, but release just in time to get away with it. If they think the refs have relaxed, they’ll try to hold just a tad longer.

  6. It was nice watching games and not immediately expecting a flag after every big play.

    And no Cowboys fans, you didn’t get jobbed, it was a clear push-off.

  7. I’m glad someone realizes this, because its what fans want. Ticky tack penalties on every 4th play are tedious. It started after Mike Pereira left and Dean Blandino took over. He implemented a grading system for refs so they started calling the ticky tack penalties. Al Riveron is a disaster.

  8. Did you happen to catch the two roughing the passer calls and the phantom holding call against the 49ers last week that literally handed the Cards their winning drive?

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