Lack Of Holding Penalties TV Related?

Did you see Madonna salsa dance at her press conference? It’s an absolute certainty, artists and Hollywood are fully aware when the stage is bigger.  It’s in their DNA to add ‘something special’ when the proverbial lights turn brighter.  Well I can make a case the National Football League may be taking a page from big brother Hollywood attempting to add their own version of ‘something special’.

With the Superbowl looming, the decrease in holding penalties may be a purposeful act by the league to improve the game aesthetically for increased ratings.

It is generally understood by players a holding penalty can be called on each play. The infraction isn’t officiated to that frequency as it would severely slow down the game, but this act (known as the non-call) does beg the question… how honest of a game are we really watching?

In contrast to the regular season these playoffs have brought a stark decline in the number of holding penalties. In 10 playoff games only 8 holding penalties have been called compared to an average of 2 per game in the regular season. Amazingly, the Giants have 6 of those be holding penalties.


How can holding decrease when teams are passing more?

The lockout educated to how much the NFL values increased revenue – TV ratings being a main target. Holding “non calls” have a trickle down effect unbeknownst to the quintessential football fan. First, the non-call allows offensive linemen to be better blockers. Secondly, the receivers gain more time to get open and systematically third… quarterbacks’ completion difficulty is decreased. End result brings an offensive ease toward efficiency. Pleasing the eye of some fans/media.

Is this right? Is it fair to ignore one holding penalty and call another? As of now it’s speculation, but if it were true is it justified to improperly officiate a game for the sake of aesthetics?

My response would be no because this act hurts a team like the Giants – a team strongly suited in pass rush. Non holding calls should not be of benefit to one team over another. This hurts integrity, causes questions and adds to a growing ‘gray area’.

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11 Responses to “Lack Of Holding Penalties TV Related?”
  1. I totally agree with you. The fact referees have held their whistles when it come to holding penalties is a travesty in itself. This directly affects the Giants and in my opinion will be a big issue if a non call decides the game. You would think the more important the game the more focused officials would be. As you can see throughout the playoffs this is not the case.
    Good topic and great read.

  2. The Stowaway says:

    I think if you went back a few years there would be a consistent pattern of fewer penalties called in the postseason. I think that’s why teams who have been in the playoffs before (and understand what they can get away with) usually do better than teams who have not been in a playoff game for a while.

    Very interesting thoughts!

  3. Johnette says:

    Interesting theory. There have been noticeably less holding calls in the postseason and I do believe that the passing game factors in. 3 of the best 4 QBs in the league (Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady) had postseason appearances so it makes sense that the league would look to keep the games fast paced and allow the passing game (which has been a spotlight this year) to play a large part. Well written.

  4. Glenn says:

    I agree that holding calls are down during the playoffs and super bowl. I think the answer is obvious. 1st i agree Brad that nobody especially fairweather NFL fans want to see a sloppy penalty infested playoff game. Die hard fans like myself understand the game and realize certain matchups have the potential to be sloppy. 2nd and most important Roger Goodell in no way shape or form wants a ref to be the star of the superbowl. Could you imagine the fallout from a superbowl being decided on a holding penalty. Can you imagine a Manning Nicks last second TD waived off by a holding call. short of a absolutely blatant call, don’t call it.

  5. joel says:

    I have noticed more holds called on run plays during the regular season. I to be honest haven’t noticed many offensive penalties at all besides the false start. Is that just me or have tHe penalties in general went up on the defensive side and down on the offensive side?

  6. Like your blog, excellent analyses.

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