Holding

One of the most common penalties to get called in the NFL is a holding penalty.  A flag will get thrown for holding if a player is illegally restraining another player who is not in possession of the football.  Most of the time you will see a flag get thrown for holding at least once in a game, but usually much more than that.  It is very common for players on both sides of the ball to get called for this.  Typically, a flag for holding will get thrown if a player grabs the jersey of another player not holding the ball and throws him to the ground when he is not holding the ball.  This penalty is mostly called on the offense when a run blocker grabs or throws a defender to the ground to open up space for the running back, or when a pass blocker grabs onto the defender to prevent him from getting to the quarterback.  This penalty is mostly called on the defense if the defender grabs onto the player opposite him outside of the 5-yard area from the line of scrimmage where he is legally allowed to touch an offensive player.  If the defender touches the opponent outside of the 5-yard area, he will get the penalty called against him.

If a holding penalty is called on the defense, it is a 5 yard penalty and an automatic first down for the offense.  If the holding penalty is called on the offense, it is a 10 yard penalty and whichever down it is gets replayed.

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Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Player’s love to celebrate when they make a good play.  Whether they score a touchdown, get a first down, catch a really good pass, make a great tackle, or anything else you can think of that would give them a lot of credit, they all love to show their enthusiasm in different ways.  However, sometimes these celebrations get the players into trouble.  When a flag gets thrown in a situation like this, it is called unsportsmanlike conduct.

There’s a line that can’t be crossed in the NFL when it comes to celebrating and getting excited after making a good play.  If a player gets flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, it is usually because they were verbally taunting an opponent, taunting an opponent by getting in his face, excessive celebrating, or intentionally causing an injury.  It’s okay for players to celebrate when they make a good play or when they score, but they cannot do it at the expense of the other team.  As soon as a player gets in the opponent’s face or starts saying things to the opponent, they will get flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Certain situations where this penalty gets called can cause an uproar, because there have been times when the refs throw a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct when they didn’t need to.  This gets the fans heated, as well as the players.  Many people say that the players should be allowed to celebrate as they wish.  As long as they don’t taunt or cause trouble with the other team, I personally don’t see a problem with celebrations, especially after scoring a touchdown.

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False Start

When watching a football game, it is very likely that you will see a ref throw a flag and call a penalty for a false start.  This is a penalty that gets called on the team that is on offense.  It is common because the reason it happens is very simple.  The offense lines up with seven players on the line.  If one of these players moves or jumps forward before the ball is snapped to the quarterback, it is a false start.  A false start penalty is a loss of five yards, and the team replays whatever down they were on.

If you are the home team, and your team is on offense and they get called for this penalty, it is very frustrating.  However, if your team is on defense, getting the offense to have a false start is something all fans love.  Most of the time, when the home team is on defense, they will signal to the crowd to get loud.  This is because the louder it is in the stadium, the harder it is for the players to hear what the quarterback is saying, and it often causes them to jump or move, resulting in a false start penalty.  Some teams get multiple false start penalties in a game, especially if the noise level in the stadium is high.

One team that has fans who are known to get really loud and cause the opposing team’s offense to get false start penalties are the Seattle Seahawks.  They call their fans “The 12th Man” because of the noise level they generate at home games.

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Watch the video below to see an entire offensive line, except the center, get called for a false start: