A term for any time a team violates a rule of the game. Penalties are signaled by one of the officials throwing a flag in the direction of the penalty that occurred. The punishment for a certain penalty varies depending on the particular infraction, and can cause the team to have to take a yardage penalty, lose a down, or in extreme cases, have a player ejected. The location that teams are penalized depends on the infraction, although most penalties are either marked off from the original line of scrimmage or the spot of the foul.
Penalties can be crippling to a team because they allow the team to gain yardage, or cause an offense to lose yardage. Penalties can measure a variety of yards, although most are five or ten yard penalties. The penalty is signaled by an official throwing a flag towards the spot of the infraction, and the penalty is announced after the play is completed. On dead ball fouls, the penalty is immediately assessed, but in the event of a live ball foul, the penalty is announced after the play ends, and the team that did not take the penalty has the option to take the penalty or the result of the play.