What Is Delay Of Game?

What is delay of game? A delay of game is a penalty that occurs when an offensive unit does not snap the football before the game clock runs out. In football, the offensive team has a certain amount of time...

In football, the offensive team has a certain amount of time to get the ball snapped and the play underway. If they fail to do so, this usually results in a five-yard penalty known as delay of game. In the NFL, the offensive team gets 25 seconds from the time the referee marks the ball and winds his arm to let the clock operator know that he should start the play clock.

In most cases, 25 seconds is more than enough time to get the play called and the ball snapped. But with the advancement of personnel and coaching styles steadily improving, delay of game penalties happen more and more.
Now coaches have to wait to see how many more yards they need for a first down or a touchdown. Once they decide that, they then determine which group or personnel to send into the game. Once the right personnel is in the game and the play has been called, there is usually about 10-15 seconds left to actually snap the ball once the huddle breaks.

If the offensive team decides to stick with the play that has been called, the quarterback can usually get the team up to the line of scrimmage and get the ball snapped off before a delay of game penalty can be called.
But if the quarterback decides to change the play or maybe the crowd noise prevents his teammates from hearing the snap count, delay of game penalties can occur.
Regardless of the reason why the play didn't get snapped in time, the penalty is always given to the quarterback.
As far as a defense getting called for delay of game, it's very rare that this is called, but not unlikely. If a referee feels as though a defense didn't allow the offense an opportunity to get the play off in time, he may call a delay of game penalty on the defense.
But like I said, this is rarely called.

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