clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Did you know 'roughing the holder' and 'leaping' are NFL penalties? The Bucs might not have!

New, comments

We had some Weird NFL Penalty Theater in Bucs-Colts.

Chris Conte of the Buccaneers tried the old jump-the-line-and-block-the-field-goal play. But he missed, hit the Colts' holder, and was called for a rare "leaping" penalty, giving the Colts a first down.

There must be something about the Colts' field goal unit that's allowing teams to cue in on these jumps. Jamie Collins of the Patriots swatted one of their extra points earlier this year. But Conte missed the block, and hit the Colts' holder, Pat McAfee, and he was called for leaping.

First of all: Yes, leaping is an NFL penalty. In fact, it was just called Thursday night in the Cowboys-Panthers Thanksgiving game. According to, that game was the first time it's been called since 2012, and now we've had two in four days. Neat!

But the leaping call doesn't just apply to a player who jumps over the line. It applies to a player who jumps to block a kick and then lands on somebody. It's a player safety rule intended to prevent players jumping and falling on the heads and necks of their opponents and teammates.

Conte doesn't seem to land on somebody, so this shouldn't be a leaping call. He does, however, destroy the holder, which could've been an even rarer "roughing the holder" call. Yes, it is in the rulebook. I can't find the last time it was called in an NFL game, although it was called in college earlier this year in the Georgia-Alabama game. If Conte blocked the field goal, hitting the holder would be legal. But he didn't, so it should've been roughing.

The refs were probably right to call a penalty on the Buccaneers here, although they chose the wrong rarely called penalty to call. The Colts would score a touchdown instead of a field goal with their new set of downs, so the extra four points could be meaningful.

* * *

SB Nation presents: The NFL's annoying catch rules struck again last week