Longtime star quarterback Tom Brady appeared to let slip one of the NFL’s not-so-secret secrets on his “Let’s Go!” podcast on Monday.
Brady, whose return to the Buccaneers next season is still uncertain, casually admitted on the podcast that holding happens on every single play in the NFL.
“Is there holding by the offensive line and defensive line on every play? Yes.”
While “every” play does seem a bit exaggerated, according to sports outlets, it does make a lot of sense to fans who’ve long suspected that there is a lot more holding, which is the illegal use of the hand or arm to restrain another player who isn’t in possession of the ball, going on than referees are willing to–or can–whistle.
“There is holding on every single play,” Brady after co-host Jim Gray pointed out a seemingly missed holding call on Kansas City Chiefs tackle Orlando Brown during the AFC championship. “Now look, are you allowed to hold? No, you’re not. It’s against the rules. Is there holding by the offensive line and defensive line on every play? Yes. When are they going to call it? … It’s just the way sports are. It’s just another thing for us to get emotional about.”
The two-time Super Bowl MVP added that the NFL referees have a difficult job attempting to call holdings and other penalties at the moment because the action is moving so fast. According to Brady, the flags are warranted in instances when a player makes a “clear, obvious and prolonged” infraction.
“The refs got a tough job. What, are they going to get every call right? Is anyone a hundred percent in their job? It’s a hard job to do. They’re making decisions in a millisecond.”
The officiating that Gray had pointed out was a big point of focus in the Kansas City Chiefs’ 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, as fans in Cincinnati were left fuming after Kansas City appeared to get away with a hold on Patrick Mahomes’ five-yard run in the final seconds of the game’s fourth quarter.
Knowing how often this happens might validate the many instances in which fans noticed an obvious penalty on the field, but it certainly won’t make it any easier to take.