During the Monday night game between Green Bay and Detroit on 14 October 2019, Detroit’s Trey Flowers was twice penalized for “Illegal Hands to the Face” when he wasn’t really touching the face but was instead grabbing the shoulder pads under the chin. The result of the penalties was a first down, both happening at crucial moments for the Packers.
The ESPN announcer made a big deal about how the calls were wrong and that it affected the outcome of the game. However, a friend of mine pointed out that although “Illegal Hands to the Face” is not the correct call, it should have been penalized as “Defensive Holding,” which results in the same 5 yards and First Down.
Is this true? Is grabbing and holding the shoulder pads under someone’s chin considered Defensive Holding?