A penalty where there has been two or more forward passes on a play. A second forward pass results in a 5-yard penalty. The down is reset and played again.
By rule, pass plays are only legal if a pass is thrown from behind the line of scrimmage. A quarterback or other player who throws a pass after crossing the line of scrimmage has thrown an illegal forward pass. Regardless of this rule, there can still only be a single forward pass during any play in football. Most often a second forward pass will take place during a play in which the quarterback or another player either intentionally or unintentionally attempts to lateral the football to a player, who then attempts a forward pass. Instead of a lateral, the ball is mistakenly thrown forward, causing a second forward pass to be thrown during the same play. An example of this might be a flea flicker play in which the running back is ahead of the quarterback when receiving what is supposed to be a lateral, who then laterals the ball back to the quarterback for a pass downfield.