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In College Football, the most yards that the offense or defense can be penalized is 15 yards. In the NFL, that is unknown since a pass interference penalty on the defense is spotted at the spot of the foul. That means the penalty could be 20 yards, 30 yards, or even more. The most yards the offensive team can be penalized is 15 yards for a personal foul. *But since the NFL, etc. have the half-distance rule, the most you could lose is 50 yards (if you are on 'x' down and inches, the distance to the other endzone is 100 yards; half of this is 50 yards).

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15y ago
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10y ago

A football field is made up of 100 yards. The team that is trying to score (offense) has 4 attempts, called downs, to gain 10 yards. The team the the offense is facing (defense) is trying to prevent them from gaining yards or cause a turnover, also known as an interception. If the offense successfully gains 10 yards before 4th down, it goes back to 1st down until they score. If they fail to gain the 10 yards before 4th down, they can choose to either punt the ball in an attempt to make the defense work harder when they are on offense, or they can run a normal play with the hope of gaining the necessary yardage for 1st down.

Players can be penalized for doing things they are not supposed to do during the game. A "false start", sometimes referred to "jumping off sides", is where a player starts to execute a play before the ball is snapped. This results in the other team gaining 5 yards. The quarterback will sometimes call "hut" while the center will not snap the ball in an attempt to trick the defense into jumping off sides for an easy 5 yards.

"Holding" is where one player illegally restrains an opposing player from making a play. This can be either an offensive player who improperly blocks a defensive player and prevents him from making the tackle, or a defensive player who tries to hold a receiver back from running his route in an attempt to stop him from catching the ball. This is the most common penalty in football and results in a loss of 5 yards for the team that the holding player is on.

"Pass interference" is where a defensive player makes contact with a receiver before he actually catches the ball. Defensive players are allowed to "bump" receivers as they come off the line of scrimmage in an attempt to mess up the timing of the route, and they are allowed to either swat the ball out of the air to prevent it from being caught or to catch a ball that was intended for an offensive player, which is known as an interception, but they are not allowed to tackle receivers before they have the ball or push them to prevent them from catching the ball. This results in a loss of 5 yards at the high school and collegiate level. If the ball is deemed "uncatchable", no penalty is assigned.

A "face mask" penalty is called at any time when one player grabs onto another player's face mask during the time of play. When a player grabs onto another player's face mask and lets go, it is a 5 yard penalty. When a player grabs onto another player's face mask and drags him down to make the tackle, it is a 15 yard penalty as it is considered a threat to the player's safety.

"Blocking in the back" is called whenever a player is blocked from behind and results in a 10-yard penalty.

A "Roughing the kicker" penalty happens when a defensive player runs into the punter while his leg is still in the air. This results in a 15 yard penalty and an automatic first-down, making the punt invalid.

"Clipping" is when one player blocks another player below the waist. This results in a 15 yard penalty and happens mostly during special teams.

"Chop blocking" is when an offensive player engages a defensive player in a block, and another offensive player blocks the same defensive player below the waist. This results in a 15 yard penalty, not to mention the scorn of the defense. Chop blocking is seen as a dirty play and often causes fights among players.

"Delay of game" penalties occur when the offense does not snap the ball in the required 45 seconds. This results in a 5 yard penalty.

"Illegal celebration", as odd as it sounds, results when a player scores a touchdown and involves other players in a choreographed celebration, uses a prop for his celebration, or falls to the ground in his celebration, or when another players leaves the bench to celebrate. A 15 yard penalty is assigned on the following kickoff.

"Taunting" results when players start a verbal argument with one another after the play has been executed. This happens in the NFL more than any other level. I'm not sure what the penalty is for this, but I would assume it to be 5 yards.

"Unsportsmanlike conduct" occurs when players start a physical altercation with one another after the play has been executed. These penalties are worth 15 yards.

"Late hitting" results when a player pushes, tackles, or blocks another player after the whistle has been blown. This falls under the category of unsportsmanlike conduct.

An "illegal formation" occurs when the offense does not have exactly 7 players on the line of scrimmage. This results in a 5 yard penalty, but barely happens past the high school level.

"Illegal procedure" occurs when a player moves perpendicular to the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped or when a player is not set 1 second before the snap.

"Intentional grounding" happens at the high school level when a quarterback intentionally throws the ball out of bounds to avoid a sack. This results in the loss of a down.

Some other things you should know:

A kick that goes out of bounds results in the other team getting the ball on the 40 yard line automatically.

Referees at the lower levels may replay questionable downs since they do not have the kind of technology to review the play like the NFL does.

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14y ago

5 to 10 yards

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12y ago

5 yards

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Q: What are the penalty yards for illegal formation in football?
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