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YoloinOhio

How the NFL is manipulating games in 2020: Fewer holding calls, faster games and way more offense

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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.



The decision has not only helped offenses, by cutting their penalty yards in half, but it has also led to slightly quicker games and certainly less public discussion about officiating.

Few fans would object to such aesthetics, and you've heard no complaints from teams. It's fair to ask whether the league can or will credibly sustain this effort, and to question where it will lead to as players and coaches test their new boundaries. More than anything, this episode is a stark reminder of how the NFL can manipulate its product without changing a single rule. It is football's equivalent to juicing the ball, an artificial injection of energy into the game.

 

 

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Issue will be when they choose to enforce some of these penalties they’re letting slide. I have noticed tons of holding that’s not being called but I’m used to that in most games 

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I’ve noticed the lack of holding so much this season. In past years I would notice it every now and then. This season, I see it pretty much every snap. Not just minor missed holding calls, obvious calls where the defender is being grabbed from the snap. 

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Why would they do this!?  For ratings and MONEY!?  The NFL!?   Inconceivable!

 

** And let us not forget that this season will be an important benchmark for the new television contracts so it will have an outsized impact on the NFL revenue stream. 

Edited by BarleyNY
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Hughes had it rough before. Now he just doesn't have a chance.

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Are there actual numbers on scoring this year compared to last year or years before? Everybody talks about how offenses are ahead of defenses but I didn't see any data.

 

I'll count it myself tonight but maybe it was published somewhere so help me out if you can.

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This clearly makes sense, I have always thought that the playoff (Minus LA-NO) game and especially the Super Bowl are much better games because of the lack of yellow flags.  If it's a clear cut penalty it should be called, but no one ever went to a game to watch the refs.  

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13 minutes ago, No_Matter_What said:

Are there actual numbers on scoring this year compared to last year or years before? Everybody talks about how offenses are ahead of defenses but I didn't see any data.

 

I'll count it myself tonight but maybe it was published somewhere so help me out if you can.

I saw a few things that had some stats. One that sticks out(I may be remembering the wrong numbers) but there was something like an average of 12-13 games a year where both teams scored 30+ Points. This year its really close to that or already matched that.

 

i don’t recall where I saw that. Could be here or twitter

Edited by Not at the table Karlos

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36 minutes ago, PetermansRedemption said:

I’ve noticed the lack of holding so much this season. In past years I would notice it every now and then. This season, I see it pretty much every snap. Not just minor missed holding calls, obvious calls where the defender is being grabbed from the snap. 

Hopefully our OL is taking advantage 

15 minutes ago, No_Matter_What said:

Are there actual numbers on scoring this year compared to last year or years before? Everybody talks about how offenses are ahead of defenses but I didn't see any data.

 

I'll count it myself tonight but maybe it was published somewhere so help me out if you can.

 

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And this is surprising in what way? Give the masses what they want; TOUCHDOWNS! 9-7 defensive struggles are boring and why a lot of Americans don’t like soccer. The RedZone wouldn’t be nearly as exciting if they switched from a three and out in Cleveland to fair catch in Philly. 
 

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54 minutes ago, Rc2catch said:

Issue will be when they choose to enforce some of these penalties they’re letting slide. I have noticed tons of holding that’s not being called but I’m used to that in most games 

 

Actually, the big issue is (and has always been) how the refs selectively choose to enforce these penalties during the game.

 

For example, the play before Kroft's catch that was inexplicably ruled an INT, was a holding call on Mitch Morse.  @Simon commented elsewhere that he saw Morse holding all game.  OK, so at the start of the game, players kind of feel out what the officiating crew is going to allow, and Morse has it in his head "they're gonna let us hold".  Now all of a sudden on an important possession for the Bills late in the 3Q, the refs make 1st and 10, 1st and 18 on the Bills 21 by CALLING a holding penalty.  That clearly influences the game.

 

(then on the next play, that phony INT ruling ices the influence but I digress.  Check out how PFR has currently scored that play though).

 

My point is, the rules have to be consistently enforced.  If the refs have made a decision to not call offensive holding, then don't call offensive holding.  Don't call it selectively at key points in the game.

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16 minutes ago, YoloinOhio said:

Hopefully our OL is taking advantage 

 

Hopefully? Were you wearing blinders? 

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51 minutes ago, YoloinOhio said:

 

 

 

Why they are doing it seems obvious to me. When baseball went on strike the guys came back huge and juiced as MLB knows they wanted to see offense and a breaking of records to help bring back the fans. McGuire Sosa brought back a lot of eyes that went away the 1st year post strike. 

 

This year ratings are way down and it's probably the growing frustration and striking of fans against the NFL and players turning political as well as CTE concerns. The ratings this year for the 1st few weeks for SNF, MNF have went down. SNF has gone down substantially.

 

I think it's a ploy for to help come back and watch as fans like offense more than defense. I'm sure the loss of fans from the first bit of kneeling had the owners instruct players to stand or incentivized them. I think the league knew this year was going to be a bad year because of this. 

 

It's McGuire Sosa tactics for the NFL: overlook what you find to be offensive and in exchange more excitement. Even if you stay away it won't be for long after looking at the box scores. 

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As long as scores don’t go crazy where teams are scoring 40-50 points on a regular basis, I am all for games where scoring is in the high 20’s or into the 30’s. 
 

I am not the football purist who proclaims the game is ruined if the score is not 13-10.  
 

Scoring = Excitement = Ratings

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6 minutes ago, BillsToast said:

 

Why they are doing it seems obvious to me. When baseball went on strike the guys came back huge and juiced as MLB knows they wanted to see offense and a breaking of records to help bring back the fans. McGuire Sosa brought back a lot of eyes that went away the 1st year post strike. 

 

This year ratings are way down and it's probably the growing frustration and striking of fans against the NFL and players turning political as well as CTE concerns. The ratings this year for the 1st few weeks for SNF, MNF have went down. SNF has gone down substantially.

 

I think it's a ploy for to help come back and watch as fans like offense more than defense. I'm sure the loss of fans from the first bit of kneeling had the owners instruct players to stand or incentivized them. I think the league knew this year was going to be a bad year because of this. 

 

It's McGuire Sosa tactics for the NFL: overlook what you find to be offensive and in exchange more excitement. Even if you stay away it won't be for long after looking at the box scores. 

Solid post and I agree. 

 

The inconsistency to the  calls or phantom calls are what kill me though. The refs 100% influence the outcome of these games, they are most likely told to let these games be close and start calling BS or ticky tack plays they were not prior.

 

Basically, what we seen up at 28-3 last Sunday. 

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Doesn’t really matter if this is true or not true.  All 32 teams playing under the same rules, same refs. 

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3 minutes ago, Alphadawg7 said:

Doesn’t really matter if this is true or not true.  All 32 teams playing under the same rules, same refs. 

Jerome Boger begs to differ ;)

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This is stupid. The NFL is becoming the CFL where it's all about offense. One side of the ball shouldn't be rendered next to irrelevant. I actually like watching a good, punishing defense and I don't think I'm alone. 

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the NFL is losing billions from lost gameday revenue

 

You think a company of their size wouldn't do something about that? They clearly are trying to make the games more entertaining to increase their ratings. thats why the officiating this season has been a total disaster so far. during the rams comeback I lost track of how many times Jerry was being held by their LT. NFL wants more scoring. 

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