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Week 1 of 2018 set a new NFL record for penalties in a week

Penalty-ridden games can be nearly unbearable to watch. There were plenty of them to go around in Week 1.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The NFL managed to set a record for the number of accepted penalties during Week 1 of the season. To make matters worse, the record was already set before the Monday night games kicked off. When the Sunday games concluded, there were already 226 accepted penalties in Week 1. Add another 29 on Monday night, and the grand total of 255 accepted penalties set a new standard for penalties during Week 1 in the NFL. The previous record over the last 10 years was 222 in 2014.

Just to clarify, accepted penalties are deemed as any penalty that’s enforced. Offsetting or declined penalties are not included in this total.

Not only was there a new total for the first time in at least a decade, every Week-1 game had double-digit penalties — a first as well. There were almost 16 penalties on average per game for the week.

To put the number of penalties that fans had to endure this past week in more perspective, there has only been one week in the last 10 years where more penalties were enforced. In Week 2 of 2015, an outlandish 298 penalties were accepted/enforced league-wide (357 were called). Week 1 of 2018 now sits second.

There were five games in particular where the penalties really mounted up. Those games were:

Atlanta at Philadelphia: 26

Pittsburgh at Cleveland: 23

Buffalo at Baltimore: 19

Dallas at Carolina: 19

Oakland at LA Rams: 19

Of the penalties called, 76 of them (30%) were pre-snap penalties, such as false-start, illegal formation, encroachment, etc. The top penalties throughout the league were:

Offensive holding: 53

False start: 42

Defensive holding: 17

Defensive pass interference: 17

It’s hard to determine whether the increase in penalties was due to officiating or sloppy play. There are several new officials in the league this year which could be a factor. Additionally, starters are playing less and less in the preseason which leads to mental mistakes early on. Regardless, it becomes increasingly difficult to watch a game when the number of accepted penalties is approaching the twenties.

One thing to remember is that, since 2015, the average penalties-per-game for Week 1 was actually less than the season average. If that’s the case, we’re in for some rough watching this season.