Football Penalties List
Like many other sports, football players and teams will be penalized for committing actions that go against the rules. There are dozens of penalties and several different degrees of punishment for illegal actions. Read on to learn more about penalties in football.
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, or both 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.
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.
- Assisting the Runner
- Offensive Holding
- Offensive Offside
- Offensive Too Many Men on The Field
- False Start
- Illegal Block in the Back
- Illegal Block After Fair Catch Signal
- Illegal Contact After a Fair Catch
- Illegal Forward Handoff
- Illegal Forward Pass
- Illegal Motion
- Illegal Touching of a Forward Pass
- Illegal Touch of a Free Kick
- Illegal Snap
- Ineligible Player Downfield on a Kick
- Ineligible Player Downfield on a Pass
- Intentional Grounding
- Interference with a Fair Catch
- Invalid Fair-Catch Signal
- Kick Catch Interference
- Kicker or Holder Simulating Being Roughed
- Kicking Player Not Attempting to Return In Bounds
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.
- Attempting to Call an Excess Timeout to Freeze a Kicker
- Blocking a Kicking Team Player Out of Bounds
- Defensive Holding
- Defensive Offside
- Defensive Pass Interference
- Defensive Too Many Men on The Field
- Disconcerting Acts or Signals
- Fair Catch Interference
- Illegal Contact
- Illegal Double-Team Block
- Neutral Zone Infraction
- Picking Up a Teammate to Block a Kick
- Roughing the Holder
- Roughing the Kicker
- Roughing the Passer
- Running into the Kicker
- Kickoff Out of Bounds
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.
- Chop Block
- Delay of Game
- Delay of Half
- Delay of Kickoff
- Equipment Violation
- Excessive Celebration
- Forcibly Contacting a Player Out of Bounds
- Illegal Blindside Block
- Illegal Block Above the Waist
- Illegal Block Below the Waist
- Use of Helmet
- Horse Collar
- Illegal Batting
- Illegal Use of Hands
- Illegal Crackback
- Illegal Formation
- Illegal Cut
- Illegal Peel Back
- Illegal Shift
- Illegal Substitution
- Illegal Kick and Kicking Loose Ball
- Illegal Wedge
- Leg Whip
- Low Block
- Offside on Free Kick
- Player Out of Bounds on Kick
- Player Removing Their Helmet
- Second Excess Team Timeout after Two-Minute Warning
- Sideline Infraction
- Unnecessary Roughness
- Unsportsmanlike Conduct
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.