Does it seem that they measure for first downs less than they used to?

It seems like they’ve drastically reduced the amount of measurements that were clearly not even close. 10 years ago, I swear we were constantly seeing measurements that were nearly a yard short of a first down. IMO, if feels like we don’t see those anymore.

You can have 1st and short after an offensive penalty (eg: holding) down the field. You get credit for the yards you gained until the penalty, which is enforced from that spot.

It also seems to me that referees have become more generous with their spots than they used to be. This is particularly noticeable when it comes to determining forward progress.

Nah, the refs are only generous with the spot for the other team.

Absolutely. Otherwise, we’d give coaches unlimited challenges, and fans wouldn’t bother showing up.

I don’t think they do it any more, but I always liked how, after a measurement that came up short, the referee would grab a particular link of chain, then march the chains to the hash mark, re-stretch them, and carefully place the ball on that link.

And then randomly spot the ball after the next play from scrimmage.