Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 Aug 2014

Penalty Watch: Preseason Week 1 (Ruh-roh)

Did you notice a lot of penalty flags in the first full week of preseason games? Mike Pereira, former Vice President of Officiating, had an interesting tweet on Sunday about the new points of emphasis officials are working on this season.

The NFL wants tighter calls on contact down the field, but there are some alarming figures here. With 24 illegal contact penalties in 16 games, that sets a pace of 384 for an entire regular season. Last year, there were just 37 accepted illegal contact penalties in 256 games (fewest since 2001).

We'll certainly keep an eye on this developing story, but if the news keeps spreading about this past week's Flagapalooza, expect human nature to kick in and more flags to stay in the pockets this week.

Posted by: Scott Kacsmar on 11 Aug 2014

6 comments, Last at 11 Aug 2014, 8:36pm by The Ancient Mariner


by Perfundle :: Mon, 08/11/2014 - 3:18pm

On the other hand, there were also 81 offensive holding calls, which is 5.1 per game, compared to the regular season average of 2.2 last year.

by theslothook :: Mon, 08/11/2014 - 3:26pm

Yet another random variable to track...

by Duff Soviet Union :: Mon, 08/11/2014 - 4:43pm

I hate this.

Every rule change and interpretation in a decade has been made to enable offense to run rampant, then one freaking defense plays great and wins a Super Bowl and "hey, we need to stop this".

Where does Goodell get the idea that everybody hates defense?

by Scott Kacsmar :: Mon, 08/11/2014 - 5:19pm

It's not all defense when OPI is something to crack down on. A pace of 11 per week would be way above the 62 total accepted last season.

I'm not sure the preseason is the best way to implement this when most of the starters will be inactive or playing a couple of series. Most of the snaps are going to guys who won't factor much into the real games. They can put on tape what they're calling now, but that should have been taught well over the summer by the league through old videos. "This is what we want, this is what we don't want. Have a good training camp." Don't make teams adjust techniques in mid-August.

by The Ancient Mariner :: Mon, 08/11/2014 - 8:36pm

My understanding is, that's more or less what they did, except for the "well over the summer" part; they started rather more recently than that.



by Jerry :: Mon, 08/11/2014 - 4:59pm

I'd wait until the season starts before getting too excited. If the league decided that the four penalties Pereira listed weren't being called enough, they could tell the officials to call them extra-tight during exhibition season, to make sure players are discouraged from committing those fouls. Even if the standard then loosens once the games count, the point has been made.