This is a penalty for grabbing an opponent's face mask during a play. This also refers to the metal bars on the front of a player's helmet.
This penalty can be assessed in two different ways. The first is a major foul that results in 15 yards and an automatic first down. This is when a player is tackled or pulled down by his face mask. The second, less major foul is an incidental face mask, which results in a five-yard penalty. This refers to incidental contact or grabbing of the face mask during a play.