Trust me, the only thing that will piss you off more than missed holding calls is this article explaining why officials don’t call holding when there’s holding.
When determining whether to reach for the flag, as yourself these two questions:
- Was there an advantage gained by the offending team?
- Was there a disadvantage suffered by the offended player?
Once you can answer yes to either question, does the play fit into one of the following buckets:
- Grab and restrict. When a player takes hold of a would-be tackler and prevents him from advancing toward the ball-carrier. Call it near the point of attack, not if it happens 15 yards away and has no impact on the play.
- Grab and turn. When a player takes hold of a would-be tackler and spins him away from the play. Again, proximity to the point of attack is a component.
- Takedown/tackle. The point of attack is not critical here. A takedown to the ground needs to be called anywhere on the field…
And… if someone gets held but just gives up on the play with no effort to get away – even right at the center of the play – it’s not a foul.
If I’m a defensive player, all this tells me is when in doubt, flop.
What’s truly hilarious about this set of evaluations is that if an official was really following one potential holding situation that closely, think about all the other things happening on the play that he isn’t watching.