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What is Holding?

A penalty assessed when a player grabs another player in order to gain an advantage. Holding can be called on the offense or the defense. Offensive holding is assessed ten yards from the previous line of scrimmage and the down is replayed. Defensive holding is assessed five yards from the previous line of scrimmage, and the offense is awarded a first down.

Sporting Charts explains Holding - football

Holding is one of the most common penalties in football. Offensive holding is called when a player grabs a defensive player, usually with the intent of blocking them successfully to open a hole or protect their quarterback. Defensive holding is called when a defensive player grabs an offensive player downfield, usually to keep a downfield receiver from getting open. Holding is a judgment call, and the degree to which holding is called tends to depend on the specific officiating crew, and how much grabbing they choose to allow in a given game.

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