“Holding happens on every single play in the NFL.”
This quote doesn’t need to be attributed because just about every analyst has said it at some point during an NFL game or season. It’s a well-known fact that offensive linemen hold more often than they get caught, but that could be changing this year.
In fact, Fox Sports officiating analyst Mike Pereira says the NFL’s new emphasis on holding penalties could have a bigger effect on games this year than the one-year trial on reviews on pass interference.
“It’s not that they’ve created a new rule, but they’ve basically taken away an element of the rule where it said that holding is not holding if it didn’t have an effect on the play, if it’s on the back side of the play for example,” Pereira told Omnisport in association with Buffalo Wild Wings on Thursday. “They’ve basically taken that verbiage out and said ‘holding is holding.'”
This is almost what the NFL did in 2004 with illegal contact and holding on the defense. After the Colts and quarterback Peyton Manning complained about the Patriots holding in the playoffs during that year, the league made a change to get that out of the game, which led to an increase in offensive numbers across the board.
While calling more holding penalties on the offense may not have that dramatic of an effect as the change did in 2004, it certainly could change the pace of the game and hinder offenses, at least somewhat, throughout the year. There has already been a change seen in the preseason.
“The number of holding calls in the preseason, so far, is off the charts,” Pereira said.
He continued: “It’s not that they’re calling penalties and they’re not fouls, they are, but they don’t really have a great effect on the play. And that’s going to be – if you talk about holding penalties – they’re averaging about three, three and a half per game traditionally, and now in the preseason we’re seeing like eight per game.”
The story of the year undoubtedly will be the new pass interference rule. With the drama surrounding the NFC Championship game last year that’s understandable. But the holding penalty sure sounds like it could be a much bigger story that isn’t getting as much attention.
Most penalized teams in the #NFL preseason, sorted by penalties (not counting declined or offset) & yardage:
1. ATL 45-402
2. LAR 39-294
3. ARI 37-292
4. PHI 37-267
5. SF 35-342
6. JAX 34-298
7. DEN 34-298
8. GB 33-296
9. NE 32-314 (13 off. holding)
10. NO 32-304
11. IND 32-292
– Christopher Price (@cpriceNFL) August 27, 2019