Football Loss Of Down
What is a Loss of Down in Football?
Loss of a down is when the team on offense loses one of their four chances to advance enough yards for a new first down. Losing a down is only possible for the team that has the ball, so faults committed exclusively by the offense can lead to the loss of a down. For example, if the offense is in a second-down situation needing to advance ten yards and commits a penalty, the play will be restarted and the team will find itself in a third-down situation, still needing to travel the same yards for a new first down.
As if losing a down was not bad enough, some penalties can lead to a combination of losing a down and losing some yards. When committing one of those penalties, a team that finds itself in a second-down situation needing to advance five yards has to restart the play a few yards back and in a third-down situation.
Penalties that Lead to a Loss of a Down
The penalization for faults can vary depending on the various levels and football leagues, and that includes the loss of a down. In the NFL, the penalties that most commonly lead to the loss of a down are intentional grounding and illegal passes. Both of those penalties lead to the loss of a down and the loss of five yards. When a team loses a down, the official signals it by putting both hands on the back of their head.
List of Penalties that Lead to a Loss of a Down
There are a wide variety of penalties that can result in a loss of down. These penalties include: