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Defensive backs would get called for holding a lot less if they stopped holding so much

There’s one way to reduce the amount of penalties called for defensive pass interference and holding in today’s NFL. Defensive backs should just stop doing those things so much.

NFL: NFC Championship Game-Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As you know, the Packers would have been in Super Bowl LV if not for a controversial third-down holding call on cornerback Kevin King with 1:41 left that gave the Buccaneers a first down and effectively ended the game.

The officials were immediately put on blast for both calling a penalty they had mostly ignored for the duration of the game and for being in on the conspiracy of getting Tom Brady into the Super Bowl for the 10th time in his career.

I would be in agreement with everything in the previous paragraph (although, I can’t imagine the NFL NOT rigging things in favor of an Aaron Rodgers vs. Patrick Mahomes State Farm Super Bowl) if not for the fact that King totally held Tampa receiver Tyler Johnson. I mean, he pulled his freaking jersey out of his pants. In fact, I’ll bet if you go back and watch King’s game tape (it’s the offseason in Pittsburgh so we have to talk about watching a player’s tape as much as humanly possible between now and the NFL Draft), you’d probably find lots of incidents where he grabbed shirts, arms and maybe even jockstraps.

Heck, if you watched tape on every defensive back in the NFL, you could probably retroactively penalize them all a gazillion yards for holding, grabbing, arm-barring, the whole works.

Seriously, you know how they say you could call offensive holding on every play? The same goes for defensive holding, chucking, straight-up pass-interference, etc.

Those guys never stop touching receivers.

Is this stuff taught by secondary coaches in the modern era of football? I’m honestly asking. If it is, it goes directly against all of those rules the NFL put in place decades ago as a means to create more passing offense.

Do defensive backs even use inside and outside techniques anymore, or have they been replaced by holding onto a receiver’s arm like your girlfriend in a haunted house?

You may think I’m joking, but it’s honestly comical how all defensive backs—good, bad and in-between—do nothing but commit penalties on just about every passing play. Even when they reach around a receiver to knock a pass away, they often feel the need to wrap their arm around his back for some unknown reason.

You might say I don’t know what I’m talking about, that I don’t know anything about football, but I know holding and touching when I see them. I’ve been watching a lot of old Steelers games lately as part of my research for the weekly Retro Show podcast with Bryan Anthony Davis, and defensive backs from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s didn’t hold and hand fight nearly as much as they do today.

I realize that cornerbacks and safeties occasionally commit honest holding and pass interference (those things happen), but I also know that clutching and grabbing have become as big a part of a defensive back’s repertoire as fluid hips and looking back for the ball (not that they do that as much either, these days).

Finally, if you want to book the NFL on conspiracy charges, you better make sure Kevin King’s game tape isn’t admissible in court.

It would totally ruin your case.