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These questions and rules are now under further review

Discussion in 'Blinded by the Lombardis: Patriots Forum' started by CFB_Rules, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. CFB_Rules

    CFB_Rules Member SoSH Member

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    I think you guys have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a holding foul is in the NFL. I don't referee NFL games, but I know quite a few guys that do and here is how holding is explained to them and how they have explained it to me.

    1st, and perhaps most important, the NFL rulebook outlines specific scenarios where offensive holding cannot be called by rule. Here are just a few (see rule 12-3-c for full list):

    A player is being double teamed
    A defender uses the "rip" technique, i.e. goes underneath the lineman's arm. These always look like a player is being clotheslined, and it is completely legal.
    The players being held is not at the immediate point of attack or doesn't have likely ability to make the tackle/play.

    Now with that being said, there is one exception to all of the above: takedowns. If a player is physically taken to the ground, it will be holding anywhere on the field. These are easy, because if a defensive player is taken to the ground it is always a holding foul except for one case, and that is an overpowering block. An overpowering block is the offensive lineman trying to go downfield and pushing a player over. You'll almost never see a "legal takedown" on a passing play, only on running players.

    So what is holding? Paradoxically, and I think this is where fans get confused, the least important thing to look at is the player's hands. You can call holding and be right nearly 100% of the time just from looking at the players from the waist down. If the offensive player is physically between the defender and where he wants to go (usually the QB) he can't be guilty of holding. If the defender is even with or beyond the offensive player, and the offensive player SIGNIFICANTLY prevents him from going where he wants to go, then it is holding (assuming it's at the point of attack etc. as mentioned above).

    The above is simplified by the NFL into specific "holding" categories. NFL officials are required to submit to the NFL what category the hold is whenever called.

    One last thing, Riveron made offensive holding a point of emphasis before the game last week because too many were being missed / passed on, which probably explains the uptick in OH fouls.
     
  2. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    So the refs were only missing calls on the Pats in previous games? I think all anyone is saying is call it both ways.
     
  3. CFB_Rules

    CFB_Rules Member SoSH Member

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    From what I've seen, most of the Patriot holds were takedowns which are the most egregious violation of the rule. I could be wrong but I at least haven't seen any clips of Steelers doing the same thing.
     
  4. OurF'ingCity

    OurF'ingCity Member SoSH Member

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    I view officiating much the same way I view fumble luck - it's seemingly random, but tends to even out over the course of a season. So while I do think the Pats were harmed by the officiating on Sunday, I assume there have been other games this season where the Pats were helped by the officiating - it's just that we don't focus on those because psychologically it's much easier to say "the Pats lost because the refs screwed them" than it is to say "the Pats won because the refs screwed the other team."
     
  5. Prodigal Sox

    Prodigal Sox lurker

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    If the holding rules are so complex they can't be understood by the fans, that's on the NFL not the fans. Similar to the "what is a catch" dilemma. No one really knows how a play will be called anymore until the ruling comes down, even by so called experts - many who played the game. That's a problem. It shouldn' be that complicated.
     
  6. CFB_Rules

    CFB_Rules Member SoSH Member

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    If you've been watching the same TV broadcasts I have, playing the game seems to have very little correlation with knowing a lot about it. Most players in my experience only know about what their specific position does. I've seen very few offensive lineman on TV trying to explain what is or what is not a hold, and that is the only position group that really has more relevant experience than a fan off the street. Jeff Saturday is the only notable exception I can think of, and his breakdowns of correct technique are excellent.

    Trust me, the lineman and the coaches know EXACTLY what they can and cannot get away with.

    As to your first point, you can either have consistency or simplicity. After 2004, the NFL decided they wanted to make defensive holding and illegal contact rules much simpler so the fan can more easily understand them. If there is a jersey grab, foul. Unfortunately, these are often very small actions that occur at high speed and are impossible to officiate consistently. For offensive holding, the prevailing philosophy is still old school, "Make them big so the 4 drunks in the top row can see it". but you can't put "Call it when it's big, ignore it when it's not" in a rule book. So the rule becomes more complicated, but in real life on the field the calls are more consistent from crew to crew.

    The NFL is not alone, this is a problem in all sports. NBA traveling philosophy is much more complicated than the rule, same for charge/block. MLB seems like it would be the simplest with balls and strikes, but even that isn't the case (where exactly is the midpoint between the shoulders and pants? Let's just pretend that it's the letters). Balls are balls and strikes are strikes. Unless the catcher has to reach across the plate to catch a strike, or it's 3-0 and the next pitch is close, or...you get my point. Humans trying to judge things at high speed need cues. For holding, one cue is "Is the defender on the ground?" Easy, consistent, unambiguous.
     
  7. Bowhemian

    Bowhemian Member SoSH Member

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    Can you explain defensive holding, in the case of a defensive lineman being called for holding? Seems like I have never heard it called, except against the Patriots.
     
  8. CFB_Rules

    CFB_Rules Member SoSH Member

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    95% of the time it's because the running back was trying to get through the line to run a route and got grabbed similar to any other eligible receiver.

    The other 5% is based on the defensive scheme. Sometimes a D lineman will pull the blocker out of the way so another defensive player can shoot through the gap. It normally wouldn't be a foul if you don't have that second player taking advantage. Most often you'd see it on kicking plays trying to block the kick.
     
  9. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Appreciate your insight. Should this one have been called (Steelers #53 in middle of field):

     
  10. j44thor

    j44thor Member SoSH Member

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    Disagree, HT is at least 5 yards away from Ben at any point during that play. He isn't close to the point of attack. That is the very definition of cherry picking plays because someone is tugging on someone else's jersey. You can probably find at least 50 more of those on any given Sunday that are not called.
    If HT is by the lineman or a couple yards from Ben that is a different story but HT was essentially out of the play.

    What that play does show is someone on defense not doing their job. Appears they are in zone but the S gets caught up in the middle of the field so that Samuels is wide open after Simon drops off.
     
  11. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    Holy crap. Not only did he yank Hightower's jersey, he spun him completely around with the hold. It wasn't germane to the play probably, but who knows. More to the point: that's irrelevant. Holds get called "away from the play" all the time. That's as blatantly obvious a hold as you'll ever find. Wow.
     
  12. CFB_Rules

    CFB_Rules Member SoSH Member

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    NFL only wants holds called away from the play if it's a take down. Nobody on the ground = no foul unless at point of attack.

    This is nothing unless the QB scrambles up the middle and gets beyond the defender. The offense is trying to stop the defender from getting to the outside, where he had no play. In my opinion that's not even a "marginal" call, it would be a straight up incorrect / phantom call on the grade sheet if flagged.
     
    #12 CFB_Rules, Dec 19, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  13. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    No, holding calls away from the play happen all the time with jersey grabs and no takedowns.
     
  14. j44thor

    j44thor Member SoSH Member

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    Those are typically calls on defenders holding receivers, not OL. Very rarely does a light tug on a DL jersey get called for offensive holding if it isn't at the point of attack.
     
  15. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    What the lineman did to Hightower in that clip is anything but a "light tug". It was a full on yank and hold so forcefully that it spun Hightower around as he was trying to pursue. I mean, come on. The guy wasn't even trying to hide it.
     
  16. j44thor

    j44thor Member SoSH Member

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    I think HT is using a spin move to get away. Had the OL actually spun HT there is a decent chance he falls and then gets the holding call. The spin is much too in control to be caused by the OL.
     
  17. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    By the way, when that play happened, I immediately thought that Simon was truly in no-man's land and had no good options, but re-watching it, it's clear that he should have stayed with the receiver. Van Noy probably had the ability to cut Roethlisberger off before he got the first down. Ugh.
     
  18. CFB_Rules

    CFB_Rules Member SoSH Member

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    I'm not doubting, but if you have some film to share I think it could be of value to the group.
     
  19. j44thor

    j44thor Member SoSH Member

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    Initially I thought Simon might have been in a hook zone or covering the flat zone but it appears that everyone else is in man coverage on the play and they are blitzing a DB so it was almost certainly man coverage that Simon was in. If that is the case he didn't do his job. Van Noy easily cuts off Ben and #31 also probably catches him from behind as well.
     
  20. BaseballJones

    BaseballJones goalpost mover SoSH Member

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    Well one thing’s for sure. Hightower, being held like crazy, sure isn’t.
     
  21. BigSoxFan

    BigSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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    Yup. Van Noy easily gets to Ben before the 1st down marker. Possible Ben breaks a tackle but not likely. Of course, having a DE in space against a RB is a great idea!
     
  22. j44thor

    j44thor Member SoSH Member

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  23. McBride11

    McBride11 Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Long got a hold called againt the Lt using a rip move in the Superbowl.
    He went to a knee as he rounded the corner but that hardly seems a takedown and the flag was all ready out.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sb...atlanta-falcons-facemask-new-england-patriots

    Holding gets called all the the time away from point of attack. Think a wr on opposite side of the play. Or a tackle on the backside when the DE is coming around to chase down a play that went opposite way.

    I mean that HT spin, how can you say HT doesnt make it to ben on the scramble. Maybe kvn cuts off the angle and ben cuts back and well ht isnt there bc he is held.

    Edit - dont get me wrong CFB your insight is hugely appreciated it just seems there may be more nuace than those rules or ‘point of attack’ means something different
     
    #23 McBride11, Dec 19, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  24. Super Nomario

    Super Nomario Member SoSH Member

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    I think a lot of this was the pressure blowing up the passing game's rhythm. Gronk had one target going into the 4th, Hogan didn't see another first-half target after the long TD, Gordon got only 2 targets. The passing game was all Edelman and dumpoffs to backs. It seemed like all the deep stuff they hit was off PA or against zone and Brady was running for his life most of the rest of the time.
     
  25. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Ben was scrambling at that point. It’s only away from that play if you know where he’s going to scramble to no?

    That’s a lot different from a guy holding after runner has already passed, heading downfield.
     
  26. CFB_Rules

    CFB_Rules Member SoSH Member

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    It's the take down aspect that drew the flag. This "rip" aspect isn't philosophy, here it is word for word in the NFL rule book:

    "When a defensive player is held by an offensive player during the following situations, Offensive Holding will not be called if, during a defensive charge, a defensive player uses a “rip” technique that puts an offensive player in a position that would normally be holding."

    The key aspect to the twitter play isn't the grab. Obviously he was grabbed. It's the position of the players. The Steelers lineman is still between the defender and the QB, he has good feet. The grab prevents the defender from going downfield, not from getting to the QB. I think if the action is more prolonged, it could be a foul. But one of the nice things about football is the officials are allowed to take time on these. You can wait and see how the play develops and then throw the flag if it's material. It's not basketball. I just think it's a hard sell that the grab had a material effect on the result of the play.
     
  27. Deathofthebambino

    Deathofthebambino Drive Carefully SoSH Member

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    On one of the holding calls on the Pats in the red zone, I'm pretty sure the flag came out before the runner even hit the hole. I would love it if someone could post the holding calls that were made against the Pats, and let's see what you think of those. If I had any ability technology wise to find these clips and post them, I would spend about a month asking your opinion about plays, because what you're saying, and what I'm seeing watching a few hundred games a year is just not consistent. I have no doubt you're right, as far as the rule book goes, but I have much less faith in the NFL refs ability to interpret those rules in real time. Shit, what did you think of the DPI call on Jones, when the flag came from 50 yards away from the ref standing in the middle of the end zone, and not the one standing about 10 feet from the play? When that happens, why wouldn't the refs even conference for a millisecond to figure out why one guy didn't see anything when he was in perfect position and another saw a penalty from an angle in which he probably couldn't see anything?
     
  28. Deathofthebambino

    Deathofthebambino Drive Carefully SoSH Member

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    CFB Rules, I'd also like your opinion on this play, posted earlier in the thread. Not point of attack? Nobody fell down (takedown), so no holding? If that's the rule, then so be it, but that's not how the rule is being applied on Sundays. It's just not.

    The point of attack thing drives me nuts. Think about how long that Miami lateral play that cost the Pats game took in real time. Who hell knows what defender could have gotten into position to make a play. I mean, by definition, once a QB throws a ball down field, are you telling me the offensive lineman are within their rights to just grab and hold on for dear life to keep the defensive players around them from running back into the play? I have to think if that's ok, then I, and many other players, would have been coached to do just that.
     
  29. CFB_Rules

    CFB_Rules Member SoSH Member

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    Alright, let's look at some film. Standard caveat that these are just my opinion and I don't have access to the NFL's grades:

    First, the DH:


    Sorry my video starts a hair late. This one is a little hard to see from the sideline camera angle (end zone is what you usually want for line fouls). #90 who is lined up directly over the ball grabs #53 and turns him, preventing him from getting out to the second level. This is a no brainer great foul call if the RB goes between the tackles. Since he bounced it outside I would probably pass on it myself but I would bet the NFL supports it as correct. Ended up actually helping the pats since the NFL strangely starts the clock on the snap after any penalty, so it gave them a free timeout at the cost of 5 yards of field position.

    The DPI:


    Another view of what the BJ saw: https://clippituser.tv/c/kazemy

    First thing, this is the Field Judge's initial responsibility. The Back Judge makes the call, and he can see on the first clip that he does run in to the Field Judge to discuss it afterwards. That being said, I don't like this one. Football Zebras posted that they liked the call but I just don't think it's enough. Both players are hand fighting and I don't see any real positional advantage gained. I think the BJ is calling him for hooking the receivers arm (which the FJ has no angle on) but he gets free before the ball gets there and I just don't think this is enough.

    I have no problem with the B calling a foul on this play. Distance for football officiating isn't nearly as important as angle of vision, and in many cases being farther away can be a benefit as you are able to take a wider angle and see more of the play.

    OH on NE #61

    This one is pretty easy. Right at the point of attack, he hooks, turns, and THEN takes him to the ground. Ticks more boxes than you really need for a holding call.

    OH on Pitt #66

    66 is the right guard. It doesn't look like much from the sideline angle. He has great feet and technique and is overpowering the defender until he gets to the 11 yard line, at which point the RB cuts back away from the block. As soon as the RB cuts the lineman lets the defender go. Would need an end zone view to be sure but I don't like it from this view. Perhaps more important though, if there WAS a foul it would have been at the 11 yard line. The end of the run was at the 16, meaning the penalty should be half the distance from the 11 to the 5.5. Officials put the ball at the 4 instead. (Quick note on enforcement, for running plays you enforce from end of run or spot of foul depending on what is worse for the offense. If either is behind the previous spot then its previous spot enforcement).
     
  30. CFB_Rules

    CFB_Rules Member SoSH Member

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    OH on NE #69

    69 gets beat instantly off the line and never at any point has good feet. If he lets the defender go at the 15 once he realizes he is beat I bet this is no foul even though there is some restriction. However he hangs on and ride the defender for 6+ yards right in front of the QB, and doesn't let go until he sees the ball is gone.

    Screencapped play @ 13:31, 1st quarter

    I don't like still shots because they can look like anything. Let's look at three players on this play:

    Left tackle: Maintains good feet, keeps himself between the defender and the ball carrier until the carrier is past his block. No foul.

    Right tackle: Gets caught in bad position at the end and there is some slight restriction under the collar. Let's go immediately when put in bad position. Defender doesn't think he is fouled.

    Right guard: Part of a double team with the center. Can't hold by rule.
     
  31. j44thor

    j44thor Member SoSH Member

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    Thanks for the breakdown. I am curious about the contact on Gronk while the ball is in the air on this play. Do you think the ref deemed the pass uncatchable or did they perhaps miss the contact which seems to happen with Gronk more often than not given his size. Brady is clearly upset with the official for not throwing the flag and it is abundantly clear in the video that there is significant contact before the ball arrives throwing Gronk off his route.
     
  32. CFB_Rules

    CFB_Rules Member SoSH Member

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    Doesn't fit into one of the DPI categories. He's looking for the ball and runs into Gronk, but doesn't play through the back, turn the receiver, etc.

    This is similar to the Malcolm Butler interception in the Super Bowl, where he makes contact with the receiver before the ball arrives but he is playing the ball. Early contact by itself is not a foul. Early contact without playing the ball is. You can easily argue that he's trying to get to where the ball is going and Gronk gets in the way.
     
  33. McBride11

    McBride11 Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Fascinating stuff. You should get a job on the NFL Sunday airings as the ref guy, way better than Perreira and whoever the other guy is.
     
  34. Deathofthebambino

    Deathofthebambino Drive Carefully SoSH Member

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    Yeah, I'd also like to thank you for your breakdowns. If a dope doesn't mind splitting this out, and if CFB is up to the task, I'd love to keep a Q&A thread open going forward where we can ask his (or hers?) opinion on plays going forward.
     
  35. Brand Name

    Brand Name thinks there's no 'i' in denial Staff Member Dope Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Agreed and done. This has been a fantastic topic to read so far, thank you kindly CFB_Rules, you've knocked it out of the park. Additionally, the thread title is deliberately a touch ambiguous so that in theory anyone can answer anyone's questions.

    New threads are good! Finally split one out, not too hard.
     
  36. j44thor

    j44thor Member SoSH Member

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    Thanks for splitting this out, agree this is a great thread thanks to CFB insight and analysis.
     
  37. RedOctober3829

    RedOctober3829 Member SoSH Member

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    Great analysis. In my experience both playing OL and watching about 150-200 games at field level holding gets called when the OL is out of position and the hands are outside the breast plate of the shoulder pads. An OL usually gets the benefit of the doubt if his hands are inside. In those plays attached here that’s the common theme.
     
  38. PedroKsBambino

    PedroKsBambino Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Appreciate the analysis. I am not sure I see how you got to the non-PI ruling though.

    The nfl rule is broader than the categories you describe above. It begins with a philosophical statement (which is also stated as a category) “It is pass interference by either team when any act by a player more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage significantly hinders an eligible player’s opportunity to catch the ball.” The dpi categories you refer to above are illustrative, not exclusive (and the rule says as much). Let me know if college different or I’m missing something?

    Thus, the question is whether the dB significantly hindered Gronk’s ability to get to the ball. Pretty hard to argue or doesn’t, since the contact keeps him from extending to get to the pass. Is that the argument you are making? If so...ok, your judgment.

    It is certainly true dB has an equal right to make a play on ball. That’s the Butler situation. But I’ve never heard the nfl refs or supervisors suggest anything the dB does to get to ball is ok, nor does the rule support that interpretation that I can see. To put it a different way, doesn’t your interpretation create an exception that swallows the rule?

    What am I missing?
     
  39. CFB_Rules

    CFB_Rules Member SoSH Member

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    The rule is broader, but the application isn’t in reality. As I said, the NFL requires its officials to choose which PI category the foul is in when reporting the foul to the league after the game. And while I suppose an official could invent his own category, nobody wants to be a pioneer in an avocation that values staying off the radar.

    As far as that specific play, it doesn’t look to me like he’s trying to lay a hit on Gronk. It looks like he just runs into him. Look at it from the DB perspective. He is looking towards the ball and the QB. If he was trying to get to where the ball is in order to make an interception, it would look just like this play except Gronk impedes his path in his own attempt to get at the ball.
     
  40. PedroKsBambino

    PedroKsBambino Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    The rule doesn't require that he "lay a hit" on Gronk, though...if you disagree, please cite where it does.

    An official could quite legitimately classify that play under the (a) or (b) category of pass interference.
     
  41. Lose Remerswaal

    Lose Remerswaal Leaves after the 8th inning Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Great thread and discussion and as suggested elsewhere, can we promote CFB_Rules?
     
  42. SMU_Sox

    SMU_Sox loves his fluffykins SoSH Member

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    +1 this poster deserves a membership. Excellent content and analysis. Makes the board a better place.
     

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