The game of football is the ultimate team sport and the teams that win, generally, come up with the most big plays.
Despite the analytics movement taking hold in the NFL, and all sports in recent years, certain simple stats have been overlooked. Or events that happen in games that don’t even get treated as stats.
We started thinking about these things when tracking “Pressure Created Interceptions” (or PCIs) back in 2020. Because we feel that a pass rusher should get credit for when he causes the quarterback to throw a worse ball that ends up getting intercepted. Those are huge plays and those players should get credit for them.
Learn all about PCIs here! Spoiler alert: Rashan Gary is the Packers’ king of this stat.
This got us thinking about some of the other big plays that happen during football games that also aren’t tracked, but should be.
Holdings Drawn (or HDs)
Holding penalties are, often times, drive killers. They can be some of the most impactful plays of the game and drawing them is an art.
When a pass rusher gets held and it’s called the coaching staff celebrates that player for making a big play, for impacting the game. Yet the pass rusher isn’t rewarded with a positive stat of any kind.
We think that shouldn’t be the case.
So this year we’re going to start tracking “Holdings Drawn” for all Green Bay Packers defenders.
When Rashan Gary or Preston Smith beat their man and are about to sack the quarterback only to be held by a desperate offensive tackle the defense celebrates. Why do we not track plays that defenses and coaches (and fans) celebrate. It’s a 10 yard penalty and can turn a second and eight into second and 18.
The pass rusher did his job so well that the only thing the offensive player could do is hold him, in turn hurting the team’s field position in the process. The pass rusher should get credit for causing mayhem, even if the play results in the flag. Especially if it ends in a flag, you could say.
It’s time we start cataloging these very impactful plays. It would stand to reason that the best pass rushers in the league would register the most Holdings Drawn, right? This year we’ll see which Packers defender records the most Holdings Drawn.
But we’re not stopping there.
Pass Interferences Drawn (or PIDs)
Similarly pass interference calls can be some of the biggest plays of any football games.
The fastest and most savvy wide receivers typically end up drawing the most pass interference calls. And sometimes they can be 50 yard penalties, which would literally often be the biggest plays of the games (in terms of yardage gained on a single down).
If a receiver beats his man and then gets pulled down by a defender trying to prevent a touchdown which results in a massive gain for the offense — why wouldn’t the receiver get credit for that?
The receiver does his job so well that the only way he can be “stopped” is by interfering with him, that means he made a big play happen. Some receivers are particularly good at drawing these calls, too, which even if you don’t like that idea, it’s an art.
So in 2023 we’ll be tracking how many pass interference calls each Packers receiver collects. It stands to reason that the best, and fastest, receivers in the league (or receivers that are the best at creating separation) will draw the most pass interference calls.
They should get credit for creating these monumental plays that often times decide games or at least definitively impact scoring drives for their teams.
2023 Packers Leaders in Holdings Drawn and Pass Interferences Drawn
We’ll track both of these stats (HDs and PIDs) on this page, so check back throughout the season to see which players lead the team in both categories if you’re interested.
It is our sincere belief that these stats will be tracked in the future when football coaches and fans start to understand the value of these plays and how they are the direct result of talent.
We haven’t tracked these stats before, but our guess is that Rashan Gary and Christian Watson will run away with both of these statistical categories for the Packers (if both stay relatively healthy).
Holdings Drawn by Packers pass rushers in 2023:
(waiting for the season to start)
Pass Interferences Drawn by Packers receivers in 2023:
(waiting for the season to start)
Thanks for reading and we appreciate your appetite for Packers football and looking a bit beyond what’s typically talked about. That said, these are incredibly simple stats and it’s strange that they’re not more-widely tracked.