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    NFL Penalties Down, Defensive Holding Up

    NEW YORK Although there were fewer penalties overall in the first week of the NFL season, the number of defensive holding calls tripled, presumably because of the new emphasis on calling them.

    According to figures from the league's officiating department, there were 218 penalties accepted in the 16 games in Week 1 compared to 240 in the first week of the 2003 season.

    However, there were 15 defensive holding calls accepted compared to five last year. Illegal contact calls remained the same, five in each season.

    At league meetings last spring, the NFL's competition committee instructed the officiating department to emphasize enforcement of the holding and illegal chuck penalties. That emphasis comes, in part, because of what was thought to be lenient officiating on those calls in last year's AFC title game between Indianapolis and New England.

    Those two teams met again last Thursday night in the season opener. There was one defensive holding call enforced against each team and an illegal chuck call against the Colts in the Patriots' 27-24 win. Two other defensive holding calls were declined.

    ___

    September 14, 2004 - 2:11 p.m. EDT


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    Re: NFL Penalties Down, Defensive Holding Up

    Another early example of how numbers can tell you different things ...

    I'm troubled that the early emphasis - relative to the Rams' crew, was defensive holding by the linemen. I thought the emphasis was supposed to be on the secondary as defined by the area beyond five yards. Clearly flagrant calls like the one against Young vs Seattle last year could not be ignored. But calling one like the one against Jackson at the line where leverage will always be an issue is dubious at best.

    Without actual camera footage trained on all the downfield routes and looking at them frame by frame, it might not be fair to insinuate that the Refs are the ones that should be called for Illegal_Contact_With_The_Game, but then again so what ... I'm a fan and its my perogative to ...

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