NFL RULES: Summary of Penalties
Automatic First Down
1. Awarded to offensive team on all defensive
fouls with these exceptions:
(c) Delay of game.
(d) Illegal substitution.
(e) Excessive time out(s).
(f) Incidental grasp of facemask.
(g) Neutral zone infraction.
(h) Running into the kicker.
(i) More than 11 players on the field at the
1. Defensive holding or illegal use of hands
(automatic first down).
2. Delay of game on offense or defense.
3. Delay of kickoff.
5. Excessive time out(s).
6. False start.
7. Illegal formation.
8. Illegal shift.
9. Illegal motion.
10. Illegal substitution.
11. First onside kickoff out of bounds between
goal lines and untouched or last
touched by kicker.
12. Invalid fair catch signal.
13. More than 11 players on the field at snap
for either team.
14. Less than seven men on offensive line
16. Failure to pause one second after shift
17. Running into kicker.
18. More than one man in motion at snap.
19. Grasping facemask of the ball carrier
20. Player out of bounds at snap.
21. Ineligible member(s) of kicking team going
beyond line of scrimmage before ball is kicked.
22. Illegal return.
23. Failure to report change of eligibility.
24. Neutral zone infraction.
25. Loss of team time out(s) or five-yard
penalty on the defense for excessive crowd noise.
26. Ineligible player downfield during passing
27. Second forward pass behind the line.
28. Forward pass is first touched by eligible
receiver who has gone out of bounds and returned.
29. Forward pass touches or is caught by an
ineligible receiver on or behind line.
30. Forward pass thrown from behind line of
scrimmage after ball once crossed the line.
31. Kicking team player voluntarily out of
bounds during a punt.
32. Twelve (12) men in the huddle.
1. Offensive pass interference.
2. Holding, illegal use of hands, arms, or
body by offense.
3. Tripping by a member of either team.
4. Helping the runner.
5. Deliberately batting or punching a loose
6. Deliberately kicking a loose ball.
7. Illegal block above the waist.
1. Chop block.
2. Clipping below the waist.
3. Fair catch interference.
4. Illegal crackback block by offense.
5. Piling on.
6. Roughing the kicker.
7. Roughing the passer.
8. Twisting, turning, or pulling an opponent
by the facemask.
9. Unnecessary roughness.
10. Unsportsmanlike conduct.
11. Delay of game at start of either half.
12. Illegal low block.
13. A tackler using his helmet to butt, spear,
or ram an opponent.
14. Any player who uses the top of his helmet
15. A punter, placekicker, or holder who simulates
being roughed by a defensive player.
18. Any player who removes his helmet after
a play while on the field.
Five Yards and Loss of Down (Combination
1. Forward pass thrown from beyond line of
10 Yards and Loss of Down (Combination
1. Intentional grounding of forward pass (safety
if passer is in own end zone). If foul occurs more than 10 yards
behind line, play results in loss of down at spot of foul.
15 Yards and Loss of Coin Toss Option
1. Team?s late arrival on the field prior
to scheduled kickoff.
2. Captains not appearing for coin toss.
15 Yards (and disqualification if
1. Striking opponent with fist.
2. Kicking or kneeing opponent.
3. Striking opponent on head or neck with
forearm, elbow, or hands whether or not the initial contact is made
below the neck area.
4. Roughing kicker.
5. Roughing passer.
6. Malicious unnecessary roughness.
7. Unsportsmanlike conduct.
8. Palpably unfair act. (Distance penalty
determined by the Referee after consultation with other officials.)
15 Yards and Automatic Disqualification
1. Using a helmet (not worn) as a weapon.
2. Striking or purposely shoving a game official.
Suspension From Game For One Down
1. Illegal equipment. (Player may return after
one down when legally equipped.)
Touchdown Awarded (Palpably Unfair
1. When Referee determines a palpably unfair
act deprived a team of a touchdown. (Example: Player comes off bench
and tackles runner apparently en route to touchdown.)