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Old 02-04-2019, 08:38 AM
GreedySmurf is offline
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NFL - Why different penalties for offensive versus defensive holding?


Never really thought about this before, but because the penalties occurred immediately one after the other last night, I realised a defensive holding penalty only incurs a 5 yard penalty, but an offensive one incurs a 10 yard penalty. What’s the rationale behind the difference? Holding is holding right?
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:50 AM
That Don Guy is offline
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Originally Posted by GreedySmurf View Post
Never really thought about this before, but because the penalties occurred immediately one after the other last night, I realised a defensive holding penalty only incurs a 5 yard penalty, but an offensive one incurs a 10 yard penalty. What’s the rationale behind the difference? Holding is holding right?
Good question, especially as it's 10 for both in college. My best guess: defensive holding is also an automatic first down in NFL (not in NCAA), whereas offensive holding is not a loss of down.
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Old 02-04-2019, 08:51 AM
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Defensive holding is also an automatic first down for the offense, while with offensive holding they replay the down so the offense effectively gets one free down to recover the lost yards. The penalty for defensive holding may well be the more severe despite being fewer yards.
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:29 AM
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Defensive holding is also an automatic first down for the offense, while with offensive holding they replay the down so the offense effectively gets one free down to recover the lost yards. The penalty for defensive holding may well be the more severe despite being fewer yards.
5 yards plus a first down is absolutely more severe. A first down is oxygen for the offense. Coaches will routinely take the 5 yards plus a first even if the result of the play is 2nd and 1, because a guaranteed new set of downs is more valuable than those 4 extra yards.
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:57 AM
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That happened at least once last night, as I recall.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:29 AM
enalzi is offline
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I always thought there should be more "loss of down" penalties for the offense to balance it out, (Or less automatic first down penalties). 99.99% of the time it's better to take a holding penalty than a sack.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:40 AM
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I've long considered the punishment of the defensive holding penalty in the NFL to be far more severe than the crime. A 3rd-and-25 situation can turn into a first down by grabbing the jersey of a wide receiver, even if the pass is thrown on the other side of the field. I've yet to see a rationale for the automatic first down on this penalty.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:41 AM
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Can I hijack this thread a little? The other really asymmetric penalty is pass interference -- I think it's 15 yards for OPI and "spot of the foul" for DPI. That could be 60 yards downfield.

If it's basically considered a catch by the offense if the defense interferes, why isn't it considered an interception of the offense interferes? Someone I spoke to also suggested, rather than making it an automatic interception (which would be really harsh), why not penalize the offense as many yards as the defense would have been penalized? So, if a defensive pass interference would have resulted in a 40 yard gain, then the offense is penalized 40 yards for offensive pass interference (and loss of down, since DPI results in a first down).
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:42 AM
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Because if it's third and long enough it would always be in the defense's interest to hold as much as possible and dare the officials to call it four or five times in a row.
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Old 02-04-2019, 11:01 AM
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Because if it's third and long enough it would always be in the defense's interest to hold as much as possible and dare the officials to call it four or five times in a row.
If it's a 10-yard penalty, then generally two defensive holding calls back-to-back will result in a 3rd-and-long turning into a first down. And, yes, I've seen defensive holding called on two consecutive plays.
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Old 02-05-2019, 07:00 PM
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When I followed football, offensive holding was 15 yds. But I agree that 5 yds + first down is still more serious. But I would go along with calling offensive pass interference an interception. But I think that the whole setup is to favor the offense. All you have to do is read all the "boring" comments in the Stupor Bowl thread to realize that that is a good strategy.

I guess the most boring baseball game I ever saw was the perfect game. Nothing happened. Well the Phillies did score six runs.
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