NFL Officials Called Fewer Offensive Holding Penalties in Week 3

Officials only threw 41 flags for offensive holding in 14 games on Sunday

Refs Hold Onto Flags for Holding After Conference Call With NFL
NFL referee Jerome Boger makes a holding call penalty. (Wesley Hitt/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / September 23, 2019 10:10 am

During last Thursday night’s game between the Titans and Jaguars in Jacksonville, officials threw eight flags for offensive holding in the first half alone.

The number of infractions got the attention of a pretty well-known player who tweeted out his displeasure with the penalties before switching off TNF.

The amount of holding calls also apparently got the attention of the NFL as the league held a conference call with senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron and referees prior to the continuation of Week 3 on Sunday.

That conference call had a direct effect on the number of offensive holding penalties which were called on Sunday, as only 41 flags were thrown in 14 games, an average of 2.9 per game, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

That’s a marked decrease from weeks 1 and 2, during which there were 188 offensive holding flags — a rate of 5.7 per game — contributed to a 16.2 percent increase in total penalties as well as a dip in scoring from 21.97 offensive points per game in 2018 to 20.9 in 2019.

Even though the league did make offensive holding a point of emphasis for referees entering the season, the rise in penalties and decrease in scoring were apparently worrisome enough to get the NFL to do something about it and talk to officials.

As for Brady, he insisted he is “very pro-ref” and didn’t mean to call out the officials.

“The refs always do a good job,” he said prior to Week 3. “They always do a great job. I never complain to the refs. Have you guys ever heard me complain to the refs? I don’t think I’ve ever complained to the refs. Maybe in the emotion, heat of the moment.”

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