Author Topic: Defensive holding rule number  (Read 6055 times)


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Defensive holding rule number
« on: October 29, 2010, 11:06:24 PM »
I have researched the defensive holding rule online and the most recent edition of the rules that I could find was from 1999.
I am interested in particular on the rule regarding a defensive player's use of hands against an offensive player other than the runner or a player the ball has been faked to.
The rule number corresponding to that situation was 9-2-3-C in the 1999 edition that I found.
Does this rule number reflect what is currently in the 2010 book? I have been unable to find it in local sporting goods stores or bookstores, and was hoping to have it as soon as possible since playoffs begin tomorrow in my son's league.
My son was playing right offensive guard and repeatedly had defensive players wrapping their arms around him and tackling him while he attempted to block them. His coach informed me after he was hurt on one particularly blatant instance, that, "Defensive players can use their hands any way they want."
This happened repeatedly by our players and theirs, resulting in multiple injuries, to include one player with a broken wrist. Not one flag was thrown in spite of calls from parents on both sides to restore some kind of order.

Offline Stretch

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Re: Defensive holding rule number
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2010, 01:27:51 AM »
Multiple injuries because the defense is holding?  If both sides think the game has gone crazy because of so much holding why don't they just stop holding?  You can buy rule books from the NFHS website or you can access them online if you are a member.

ART. 3 . . . A defensive player shall not:
a. Use a technique that is not permissible by rule. (See 2-3-2, 4)
b. Use his hands to add momentum to the charge of a teammate who is on
the line of scrimmage.
c. Use his hands or arms to hook, lock, clamp, grasp, encircle or hold in an
effort to restrain an opponent other than the runner.
d. Contact an eligible receiver who is no longer a potential blocker.
PENALTY: Illegal use of hands or arms (Arts. 1a, 2, 3a, b, d) (S42); interlocked
blocking (Art. 1b) (S44); holding (Arts. 1c; 3c) (S42) 10 yards.

ART. 5 . . . A defensive player may also:
a. Use unlocked hands, hand or arm to ward off an opponent who is blocking
him or is attempting to block him.
b. Push, pull or ward off an opponent in an actual attempt to get at the runner
or a loose ball if such contact is not pass interference, a personal foul
or illegal use of hands.
NOTE: When a player simulates possession of the ball, reasonable allowance may be
made for failure of the defense to discover the deception. This does not cancel the
responsibility of any defensive player to exercise reasonable caution in avoiding any
unnecessary contact.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2010, 01:30:27 AM by Stretch »


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Re: Defensive holding rule number
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2010, 04:52:14 AM »
The actions were much more than just holding is how the injuries happened. Players were being bear hugged, then spun around and either hip tossed to the ground, or literally picked up and driven into the ground with the defensive player on top.
I spoke with my son's coach along with other parents in an attempt to stop this wrestling match that eventually was happening on both sides, and got the response I spoke of earlier.
I was also told by one of his coaches that the horse collar tackle was legal as well after a defender chased down the ball carrier on the five yard line and grabbed him by the back of the neck portion of the jersey and brought him down.
This was one of the ugliest games I have ever witnessed at any level, and began researching the rules in order to contact the league president. Neither set of coaches did much in the way of stopping the brawl, and the officials did not call one holding penalty on either side, one personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct infraction. There were literally punches being thrown by players in full view of the officials, one of whom stepped in and pushed the two apart with only a warning.
I actually pulled my son off the field after he got angry and retaliated by clubbing a downed player in the pile. This was shameful play 11 and 12yr olds. Worse, was the lack of control by the coaches and officials. The officials thoughout the season had been exceptional up to this point.


  • Guest
Re: Defensive holding rule number
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2010, 04:59:49 AM »
By the way. Thank you for your response.
I am not hoping to ambush any officials or coaches with rule book in hand, i'm just a concerned parent and emergency department nurse seeking to keep the players as safe as the rules are designed to make it.

Offline bama_stripes

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Re: Defensive holding rule number
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2010, 10:13:24 AM »
May I respectfully suggest that you get a film of the game (especially the punches thrown)  and show it to your league commissioner.  Let him know of your concerns.  I'm sure your league has a process for dealing with problems such as this.

Offline PanamaRef

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Re: Defensive holding rule number
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2010, 10:26:55 AM »
I just finished my first season as a White Hat for the little guys.  It was a blast.  I told my crew from the start I did not want to see to many flags.  But instead talk to the players and tell them they can not grab or toss and to explain them how to block.  We would then go to the coach and tell him Number is holding and needs to be talked to or flags will start.  We only tossed a few flags and they were for face masks and a few DPI, where they would just tackle the kid before the ball got there.  All in all the kids, the coaches, and the parents were happy with the season.  

The only thing I can say.  Is to find out who the person is in-charge of the Officials and talk to them about your concerns as well as the president of the league and see if they would modify the rules from NFHS to a Pop Warner rules and even then they can be modified  for the league.


  • Guest
Re: Defensive holding rule number
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2010, 10:29:21 AM »
It seems like your coach is concentrating on 2-3-5 and forgetting about 9-2-3c.  Defenders can push or pull a blocker in an attempt to get to the runner but once they start doing wrestling throws, it becomes illegal.

In order for a horsecollar tackle foul to occur, the actual collar of the jersey and/or the shoulderpads has to be grabbed from the back or side (grabbing the jersey NEAR the collar doesn't count). Then the runner has to be brought down either backwards or to the side because of that grab.  If the runner falls forwards, it is not a horsecollar tackle foul.  If another player comes in to help on the tackle then there is also no horsecollar foul.