Illegal contact is a penalty in football that is called on the defensive team when a defensive back makes illegal contact and interferes with a wide receiver more than 5 yards from the line of scrimmage. At the start of a play, wide receivers and defensive backs are allowed to make contact in order for one to gain an edge over the other. After five yards however, they can no longer make substantial contact. If the defensive backs interferes with the wide receiver in any meaningful way after five yards, the illegal contact penalty is called. This penalty results in a 5 yard loss and an automatic 1st down against the defense.