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NFL's Dean Blandino reports illegal contact, hands-to-face fouls up

By Bill Bradley, contributing editor

NFL executive vice president Dean Blandino said last week that illegal contact fouls are up significantly while time of game has been slightly increased.

Blandino made the comments during the return of his weekly look at officiating calls for the media, which reviewed key plays during Week 1 of the preseason.

In this season's first installment, Blandino discussed the 2014 points of emphasis, keying mainly on illegal contact. Blandino said that includes illegal contact downfield, defensive holding, offensive pass interference and illegal hands to the face.

"Fouls are up in these areas, when you look at illegal hands to the face," he said. "We've had 21 more fouls from this point last year in the preseason. We've had 27 more illegal contact fouls. We've had 47 more defensive holds and six more offensive pass interference fouls.

"We're going to strictly enforce these fouls. But the good thing is that game (length) was not significantly up. Last year through the first 17 games, games were 2 hours, 58 minutes, 29 seconds. In 2014, we're at 2:59:39. So, we're just over a minute longer than we were at this time last year."

Blandino said the illegal contact fouls were mainly for violations more than 5 yards downfield.

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