NFL Refs turn a blind eye to holding LA Rams Aaron Donald

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

After two weeks of shutting out LA Rams Aaron Donald, why are the NFL refs turning a blind eye towards blatant offensive holding?

The LA Rams know something is amiss with the way NFL referees are calling games when All-Pro Aaron Donald is playing and is not recording quarterback sacks. In fact, in the past two games, he’s not only not recording sacks, but he’s failed to make a single tackle. How can that possibly be?

There are only two logical explanations. Either Aaron Donald is banged up and nobody is talking about it, or the offensive lines for both the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are getting away with pro-wrestling type moves on the football field. From what I’ve seen by watching the games, and still photo images afterward, it is the second scenario that is the reason.

The problem is, that subjectively ignoring holding calls on Aaron Donald is encouraging even more blatant transgressions to occur during each subsequent game. That’s a problem.

Why does this happen?

Of course, Aaron Donald plays at an unattainable level for other NFL players. And so, some believe that NFL referees are acting in ways to improve the overall competitiveness of games. In short, if they called holding penalties on Aaron Donald, his ability to sack the quarterback would improve dramatically, and the NFL would have Aaron Donald leading in many statistical categories, while other players would come in a distant second.

An alternative reason that we believe may be more accurate is the fact that offensive linemen are guilty of holding Aaron Donald on every play. For the sake of game continuity, refs are noticeably speeding up the game this season by calling far fewer holding penalties overall. That has also created higher scoring games in the process.

Fixed, or ‘fixed’?

While some argue that this has fixed the NFL football game for the better, the way refs are allowing offensive linemen to choke, hold, grab the jersey, and downright wrestle Aaron Donal this season, it is more likely that games are being ‘fixed’. In essence, the role of a referee, whether by calling or not calling penalties, should not have so great an impact on the game that it has a noticeable effect on the outcome.

While calling holding on every play teams face Aaron Donald is not a viable solution, it would behoove the NFL to call some holding on Aaron Donald moving forward. It might slow down the game occasionally, but there is also the goal of preventing unnecessary player injury. At this pace, offensive linemen will be permitted to body slam or pile drive, Donald to maintain their blocks.

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Call it down the middle.  But for heaven’s sake don’t draw the line so far to the extreme that NFL games take on a ‘why the hell aren’t they calling that?’ reputation. NFL players figure out where the threshold for penalties has been drawn pretty quickly in the early minutes of a football game. Hopefully, that threshold will be somewhere that catches and penalizes the type of offensive holding that is occurring against LA Rams Aaron Donald.