Saints should have been complaining about Donovan Smith’s holding

NFL: DEC 05 Saints at Buccaneers
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On Tuesday’s PFT Live, we talked about some of the blatant holding in which Buccaneers tackle Donovan Smith engaged during the final drives of Monday night’s win over the Saints. On Wednesday’s PFT Live, we looked at every play from those drives during which he held.

It’s amazing that he was flagged for holding only twice. It’s even more amazing that the Saints weren’t repeatedly and loudly losing their minds about it.

Chris Simms made the point during both shows that the players who had been held should have been complaining to the officials. At some point, coach Dennis Allen needed to be yelling and screaming at the folks in black and white stripes about the fact that “76 is holding on every f–king play!”

He was. And, hey, why stop if they’re not calling it?

So why didn’t they call it? Incompetence is the easiest explanation. The notion that the game was “rigged” becomes much harder to accept. NFL games ARE NOT rigged, even if it’s not unreasonable at times to wonder.

There’s a middle ground to consider. The NFL has been touting all year the number of close games and come-from-behind wins. The total close games for the year and the week have become the first item in each “Seven from Sunday” email that the league sends out.

This was the first nugget for the latest edition: “With two games yet to be completed in Week 13, there have been 85 games decided by a touchdown (six points) or less, the most such games through the first 13 weeks all-time. Ten of 13 games (76.9 percent) that have been completed in Week 13 have been within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter and there have been 147 games within one score (eight points) in the fourth quarter this season, the most such games through the first 13 weeks in NFL history.”

Next, the league pointed out the 10-point deficits that were overcome this week (two to win, one to tie), the fourth-quarter deficits that were erased (four to win, one to tie), and the games decided by a touchdown in the final two minutes (two).

Tampa’s victory over the Saints fell into each of those categories. If the officials are aware (and they surely are) that the league likes having the inherent excitement that flows from unpredictable games that are never over until they’re over, will they be inclined to look the other way when one team is down by 13 points with five minutes to play and one of its offensive linemen is holding on every single play?

What may have started as simply as giving Tom Brady and company a chance to make things interesting necessarily became something more than that, once things got very interesting. The final result wasn’t predetermined, but the exciting finish was allowed to happen by officials who failed to throw flags.

Conscious or not, how isn’t it a potential explanation for what happened? One way to keep it from happening is for the players and coaches of the team that is getting held on every play to make so much noise as it’s occurring that it can’t be ignored.

31 responses to “Saints should have been complaining about Donovan Smith’s holding

  1. Roger Goodell has always said that the team he cheers for is the one that’s losing

  2. It happens all the time and in some cases certain teams like the Raiders get called for holding when they don’t even hold.

  3. it would just be nice if the refs were held accountable the same way players and coaches are.. players get fined for the wrong socks but refs can be terrible at their job and nothing happens..wonder why this is..hmmmmmm

  4. The saints are not interesting. They are boring. Tampa has more big names and they have Brady. Therefore more compelling television, ratings, and a team that has a punchers chance if they get healthy. Who are you taking, Brady or that clown Kirk Cousins in a playoff game. You think the saints would swing a point spread at all? With that current team. Not a chance. To summarize: IDC. Good job Donovan

  5. It kind of reminds me of Pete Carroll’s guidance to the Legion of Boom that if you commit defensive holding / DPI on every single play, the refs won’t call it a majority of the time the DBs do it.

    Smith and the Bucs probably figured the same. If he’s getting beat constantly, just hold on every play and the refs will be loathe to call a zillion penalties.

  6. There is one set of rules enforced for the GOAT and Buccaneers and another for the rest of the league.

  7. (yawn)

    Every Sunday…I can EASILY find at least 20 holding non-calls against my team.

    Holding happens on every play in the NFL…just rewind the tape and play it back in slow motion and you will see.

    Nothing to see here…move along….

  8. There’s holding on every snap but it’s only called sometimes it seems even though it’s easy enough to see on TV.

  9. Until the NFL hires ‘full time’, ‘competent’ officials this will be an issue and as sports betting continues to expand, John Q Public is going to continue questioning whether games are ‘rigged’ or simply officiated by incompetent individuals that can’t perform in their ‘part time’ job ? Sadly, it could be both.

  10. It’s a bit disingenuous to claim games aren’t rigged while pointing out that refs exert influence over making the games closer. Sorry but that middle ground is just a convenient excuse that somehow justifies the refs controlling the outcome of the games. Also, the Saints inability to use up more than 30 seconds on their final drive has NOTHING to do with Donovan Smith! Yes the refs should have called the holding. I’m just pointing out the Saints had an opportunity to not put the outcome in the hands of refs clearly intent on affecting the outcome.

  11. you want to see a offensive line get away with holding watch the Vikings OL at home

    what a joke

  12. You state “The notion that the game was “rigged” becomes much harder to accept. NFL games ARE NOT rigged, even if it’s not unreasonable at times to wonder.”

    Then it is insinuated the refs are aware of the NFL’s desire for close games, comeback victories, etc., and thus refs may be looking the other way as it gets down to crunch time, makes sense from the leagues standpoint, people stay tuned in. Although this act might be passive, by nature it would still be considered a deliberate or intentional act on the part of the ref to keep the game close, which by definition is rigging or fixing.

    And there isn’t made any mention of the elephant in the room, gambling. Maybe huge money went on the Saints for 3 1/2 quarters as the spread moved in New Orleans favor while watching Tampa’s inept offense, so the refs looked the other way allowing Tampa back in the game and covering the New Orleans money. And yes, that would be rigged too.

  13. Hard as it is to believe, the officials are graded on their performance each week and those grades are tied to compensation, promotion, and postseason assignments. The officials have much more of an incentive to do their jobs correctly than they do to try to keep a single game close so the league is happy. The best explanations are a combination of (a) incompetence, and (b) nobody wants to call holding on every single play.

  14. Come on. The Pats never got stuff like this in NE. They’d get phantom flags all the time to slow them down or have rules made up against them with rule changes to fight against their success.

    Now that Brady was succumbing to a 5-7 record with an absymsal ego season, Goodell stepped in.

    Stop defendging the Goodell cheating! We all know it exists! Good grief.

  15. Readers should be complaining about your hate towards the Bucs and your constant whining. Just like a saints fan!

  16. I wonder if there’s gonna be a blog on Mark Ingram’s lameoid play in the 4th quarter when he ran out of bounds instead of easily picking up the first down.

  17. Holding occurs on almost every play in the NFL.
    This just sounds like conspiratorial sour grapes. It would be nice if the refs called the game exactly to the rules, but then I doubt many people would be entertained by what would result from that flagfest.
    I’d just like to see the egregious mistakes result in punishment for the officials. The picayune griping here does nothing to bring that closer to happening.

  18. Nick Bosa should just start complaining now. He gets held constantly anyways. Sunday should be an all time record for holding penalties.

  19. If the refs are adjusting the say they call games based on the idea that the league wants more close games, then it is, by definition, rigged. The outcomes don’t have to be pre-decided for rigging to occur.

  20. Brady get breaks from the refs. And in other breaking news the sun rises in the morning.

  21. Tommy always gets breaks from the refs starting with a questionable call on the tuck rule play.

    And by questionable call I mean one of the worst calls in sports history.

  22. I see you fail to mention hands to face from defender that DS had a holding call on same play. Or that no call of CB that was holding Julio Jones jersey while the announcers talked about how he wasn’t up to speed yet. You think a guy pulling on your jersey would slow you down? Just stop with your whining. Both teams had no calls.

  23. The Saint’s fans should be screaming “why do we have such a poor defense all of the sudden?” Allen was a good defensive coordinator, but he is not a head coach. The bonehead award for the game has to go to Ingram. He should not have been running out of bounds at all on that play. It should have been said in the huddle, “Do not go out of bounds.” This Saints team is poorly coached all around.

  24. It’s kind of funny they point this out about Donovan Smith, rightfully so, but Penning of NO was holding on almost every play as well but they didn’t mention one word of that. Having watched the game look at Penning on all 3 of the big downfield plays that worked for NO. Holding, blatant and undeniable. Not one word. Bizarre

  25. Yep it was horrible by far the worst holding and the most I have ever seen by one player ever in a game by a mile.

    I think it has to be a league memo sent out don’t let Tommy get hurt that would be bad for us.

    I have seriously never seen a guy hold every single snap. And that is exactly what he did.

  26. Brady getting “referee specials” is just the norm. Been that way for years. Only thing surprising on Monday night was Tammy wasn’t whining quite as much as usual.

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