Is Social Distancing the reason THIS NFL penalty is down 78%?

Are NFL players social distancing ON the field? Because after Week One, offensive holding penalties are way down. In fact, they dropped to their lowest Week One total in at least 20 years.

Officials only threw 18 flags for offensive holding. That's a drop of 78% from Week One last year . . . and 58.6% from the five-year average from 2014 to 2018.

That can't be a coincidence, right?

The NFL wouldn't respond to questions about it . . . but the league has been "calibrating" holding fouls over the past few years, trying to find the best balance.

In 2018, the league instructed officials to step up enforcement of certain blocking techniques, and there was a surge in holding calls.

Now, they seem to be swinging in the other direction. The previous low in a Week One was 26 in 2001, the first year there was data on those kinds of penalties. And overall, there were only 199 total flags thrown last weekend, including those that were declined or offset. That's the second-lowest total in Week One since 2001.

Photo: Getty Image

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