Holding is a penalty that occurs when a player uses his hands or arms to push from behind, hang onto, or encircle an opponent. Holding can be called on the offense or the defense.
Offensive Holding: Usually called on offensive linemen who are blocking defensive linemen and trying to open up holes for running backs, but offensive holding can also be called on receivers who are trying to gain an advantage over the defensive backs covering them. Penalty: 10 yards, replay down.
Defensive Holding: Defenders can legally block a receiver within the first 5 yards from the line of scrimmage. After 5 yards, they are held to the standard definition of holding. Penalty: 5 yards, automatic first down.