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Football Penalties List

football penalties
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What are Penalties in Football?

In football, when a team commits an infraction against the rules of the game a foul will be called and a penalty will be assessed. Penalties can have varying levels of punishment for teams, including loss or gain of yardage, automatic first downs, or even ejections. Referees will usually signal penalties by throwing a yellow flag and using the corresponding hand motion for the respective penalty. Most penalties are common throughout the sport of football. However, some penalties may be different at varying levels of the game. The following is a list of penalties in football.

Football Penalties List

In football, various penalties are classified as offensive penalties, defensive penalties, and offensive and defensive penalties. Offensive penalties are committed by the team that currently has the ball, defensive penalties are committed by the team that does not have the ball, and offensive or defensive penalties can be committed by either team at any point in the game.

Offensive Penalties

These penalties can only be committed by the offensive team, and the severity of the penalty varies for each. Offensive penalties usually result in a loss of yardage. 

Defensive Penalties

These penalties can only be committed by the defense team, the severity of the penalty varies for each. Defensive penalties usually result in the offense gaining yards or an automatic first down. 

Offensive or Defensive Penalties

These penalties can be committed on either the offensive or defensive side of the ball, and many can happen in dead ball situations. The severity of the penalty varies with each.

FAQ

What types of penalties are there in football?

There are various types of penalties in football, which fall under three general categories: offensive, defensive, and offensive or defensive penalties. Offensive penalties are committed by the team that has possession of the ball, defensive penalties are committed by the team that doesn’t have the ball, and offensive or defensive penalties can be committed by either team. Common penalties in football include holding, false starts, pass interference, and unnecessary roughness.

How many penalties are there in football?

There is no set number of penalties in football, but the number of distinct penalties is somewhere around 80-100. Many penalties in football are called less often than others, and many are variations of similar concepts, but separated out as offensive or defensive penalties. According to recent statistics, the five most commonly-called penalties in the NFL are offensive holding, false starts, defensive pass interference, defensive holding, and unnecessary roughness.

Are penalties different in professional football and college football?

While the categories and types of penalties in football are largely the same between the NFL and NCAA, many of these penalties have different consequences, depending on the level of football being played. For example, in the NFL, a defensive holding penalty carries a consequence of 10 yards, while in the NCAA, the same penalty is only a five-yard penalty.

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