Is COVID-19 Making Football Better?
Now that we actually have NFL football it's hard for me to find any reason to complain. I know people are upset about little to no fans in attendance and maybe your favorite team isn't that good but WE HAVE FOOTBALL! So I'm ecstatic as it is then we find out possibly the most annoying and frequent penalty in football, Holding is down 78%! Is social distancing from the COVID-19 pandemic the reason Holding calls are down so dramatically?
The theory out there is players have had socially distancing beat into their heads so soundly that they might be carrying the practice onto the field of play. Think about it like this if you're a New York Jets or Giants fan maybe the offensive line doesn't suck as bad as you thought, maybe they're just practicing social distancing. So even though they aren't protecting Sam Darnold and Daniel Jones from a beating on the field they are protecting them from coronavirus.
ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert is reporting that:
Officials threw only 18 flags for offensive holding across the league, a drop of 78% from Week 1 in 2019 and 58.6% from the five-year average from 2014 to 2018, according to ESPN Stats & Information data.
Of course, it's also possible that officials have been instructed to speed up the games and keep them interesting. Which would certainly keep the Holding penalty flag in their pockets much longer but We've seen some players very cautious when it comes to COVID-19 so maybe there is actually a plus side to the viruses effect on the game.