2020 NFL: League Manipulating Games? No, Holds Barred!

Reggie's Racquet

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An interesting take from ESPN's Kevin Siefert.

"In its entire 100-year history, the NFL has never opened a season on the kind of scoring tear we've seen in 2020. Teams are averaging 24.7 offensive points per game during the first three weeks, 16% better than 2019 over the same period, and 22% higher than their average during the previous two decades."

"There are a number of theories for the surge, from high-level quarterback play to the coronavirus pandemic-related loss of home-crowd advantage. All have merits. But there is another direct correlation, an inorganic root emanating from the league office. At the direction of its new leadership team, on-field officials have changed the way they enforce penalties -- especially offensive holding -- in a way that is too dramatic to ignore."

There are clearly less offensive holding penalties being called. There were many blatant missed offensive holding calls in the Patriots last game. Siefert says 59% less offensive holding calls than 2019. It has changed the game but not sure for the better.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/30003263/how-nfl-manipulating-scoring-2020-fewer-holding-calls-faster-games-way-more-offense
 

Harry Hooper

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As the article discusses, I think it's not an attempt to juice the offense but rather bringing the postseason "minimal flags" approach to the regular season so that games flow more.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Right, I don't have an issue with fewer offensive holding calls (or fewer calls in general) IF those changes are applied consistently. But that's a big "if."
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

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An interesting take from ESPN's Kevin Siefert.

"In its entire 100-year history, the NFL has never opened a season on the kind of scoring tear we've seen in 2020. Teams are averaging 24.7 offensive points per game during the first three weeks, 16% better than 2019 over the same period, and 22% higher than their average during the previous two decades."

"There are a number of theories for the surge, from high-level quarterback play to the coronavirus pandemic-related loss of home-crowd advantage. All have merits. But there is another direct correlation, an inorganic root emanating from the league office. At the direction of its new leadership team, on-field officials have changed the way they enforce penalties -- especially offensive holding -- in a way that is too dramatic to ignore."

There are clearly less offensive holding penalties being called. There were many blatant missed offensive holding calls in the Patriots last game. Siefert says 59% less offensive holding calls than 2019. It has changed the game but not sure for the better.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/30003263/how-nfl-manipulating-scoring-2020-fewer-holding-calls-faster-games-way-more-offense
Tom E. Curran noted on his podcast this week that through three games, the Patriots have zero offensive penalties. For context, Pats lead the league in rushing at 178 yds per game.
 

BigJimEd

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Right, I don't have an issue with fewer offensive holding calls (or fewer calls in general) IF those changes are applied consistently. But that's a big "if."
Consistency is obviously a big concern but I'm concerned about some of the egregious calls I've seen let go.

There was one game I was watching where the OT basically tackled the rusher multiple times on one drive.
 

bankshot1

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I thought going into the covid-marked season, with shortened practice time and with pre-season games eliminated, a less polished game was to be expected. And a league wink to the to refs to go slow on flags to not accentuate the mistakes, and not kill the flow of the game with penalties, was not an unreasonable conspiracy theory to believe in.
 

Captaincoop

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As long as it goes both ways, this seems like a reasonable approach to me. I'd like to see the same approach to defensive holding and PI. We've had some games the last few years where there was a flag on every other play, and that's worse to watch than a missed call here and there.
 

slamminsammya

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As long as it goes both ways, this seems like a reasonable approach to me. I'd like to see the same approach to defensive holding and PI. We've had some games the last few years where there was a flag on every other play, and that's worse to watch than a missed call here and there.
And so the circle of life continues. Remember the pre-2004 days? What a time for defenses.
 

Captaincoop

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And so the circle of life continues. Remember the pre-2004 days? What a time for defenses.
I remember the early 80s, when cornerbacks had the forearm shiver in their toolkit and used it liberally.

It would be interesting to see today's much more skilled and athletic QBs and WRs have to deal with some of the physical play that has been stripped from defensive backs over the years. If the result is fewer flags and slightly lower scores...that seems like a fair trade.
 

joe dokes

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Tom E. Curran noted on his podcast this week that through three games, the Patriots have zero offensive penalties. For context, Pats lead the league in rushing at 178 yds per game.
There were at least a few runs against oakland where I saw a patriot OL or WR get a handful of jersey on replay that I thought were calls in past seasons.
 
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