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If refs can call holding on every play , how do they chose ?


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While watching one of the divisional games Saturday HOLDING was called on one team . It was in the middle of the line on a running play , the defender who was being blocked tripped and fell to the ground , the announcer said that " you will get a holding every time the guy who you are blocking goes to the ground" . And " you can call holding on every play" .

If that is the case , why don't they call it ? Yes yes the game would be slow all that crap . Why have the rule at all if the refs pick and choose when they call it ?

I hate to sound like a " HOMER " AND LET ME SAY OUT FRONT the Steelers lost because Jacksonville was better. The refs call a hold on Pittsburgh center on the first two point try. Both announcers say it was a phantom call . Hines Ward has a hold of a Jacksonville defenders face mask , no call . On the Jacksonville's QB'S big run at the end of the game you can see very obviously that there were about 4 holds that sprung that play. I saw on play when the blocker who was beat grabbed the back of the pass rushers jersey to hold him up . But the refs can't see that . They can see a minor hold in the middle of the line but not one right in front of them .

I'm sure if you watch a lot of NFL film tapes this goes on for every team . It just I only get to see Steelers tapes.

So why call it at all ? Or , are the refs instructed to call a hold after so many plays . It is a easy thing to hide since " YOU CAN CALL HOLDING ON EVERY PLAY" . Why not make it a 5 yard penalty insted of a game changing 10 yarder.

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I think they only trey to call the obvious ones, it's not a conspiracy or something. If they're watching a guy and he does something obvious, they'll call it, but they can't watch everybody on every play. The rule is kind of blurry though, it's not concrete.

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I referee football, so here is my take on the subject:

It's called POINT OF ATTACK.

Yes, there is pretty much holding on every play. A little handful of jersey, a tug on the arm, etc. Most of it happens when the offensive player pushes up on the defender, and it occurs inside the shoulders around the collar.

From youth level up to high school, referees are instructed to only call holding when it has an obvious effect on the play. As such, there are many number of questions to ask before throwing the penalty flag:

1. Is there holding going on? (obviously)

2. Where is the holding occuring? (on the other sideline away from the play, inside the tackles, etc.)

3. Is the defender trying to break the hold?

If the tackle grabs the outside of the sleeves of the rushing defender, but the defender isn't making an obvious attempt to break the hold, or isn't really moving at all, it won't get called.

Holding is primarily called when it's an obvious obstruction to a defender making a play, and that is almost always at the POINT OF ATTACK (where the ballcarrier is).

At those levels, the only times refs will call holding not at the P.O.A. is in cases of obvious takedowns/tackles by the offense, when everyone in the stands can see it as well.

Remember...in the NFL and FCS/FBS NCAA football, there are 7 officials. That amounts to 3 players for every official. At lower levels, you have 5 or 6 officials, so there's an extra player to watch. Each official has a primary coverage area depending on the play. But for every play, the referee and umpire can watch the interior line, and that's where holding almost always occurs. When the Line Judge/Head Linesman call holding, it's usually on a play that has swept to their respective sidelines.

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jp's description was really good, and is basically what I agree with. I play offensive line, so I need to know this pretty well. The usually is holding on every play, but like jp said most of it is grabbing is on the inside where for high school the refs almost always see. The ones that get called are when you wrap up someone or they are breaking away and you still have a handful of their jersey.

And then there is the rare call of holding on a defensive lineman. I'm pretty small, so I'm almost always at least 30 punds lighter than the guys I block. One game the other killed just cut me every play because I was always lower than him and once he got called for holding my legs. My question to jpslapshot (or anyone else that knows the rules) are under what conditions can a defensive lineman be called for holding.

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A defensive linesman can hold onto the offensive tackle/guard, allowing a speedier teammate to get into the backfield. It's a tactic used primarily during a blitz...the offensive tackle/guard can't block out the defense if he's being held himself. I've seen it called in a few games.

Aside from that, defensive holding is usually only called on eligible receivers, before the ball is thrown.

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