A celebratory gesture following a touchdown, in which the player who scored will throw the ball very hard into the ground, causing it to bounce away. A spike is a common celebration that many players will use following a touchdown, and it is one of the gestures that does not usually violate the "excessive celebration" rule, although a ball spiked at or on an opposing player will draw a 15-yard penalty after the play. Spikes are judged on their creativity and strength.
The spike has been one of the most common individual celebrations throughout most of the last 40 years of professional football. Prior to the emergence of more elaborate touchdown celebrations, it was a basic celebration that was judged as a mildly unsportsmanlike gesture. The spike has continued to appear throughout football and can take on creative forms. Players have altered spikes to include spiking the ball over the goal post, or handing the ball to another player so that he may spike it. Typically, a penalty will not be called on a spike in professional football unless the player is believed to have directed the spike at an opposing player.