Flag on the Play: Offsides & Encroachment

Offsides and encroachment are defensive penalties. Both get a five yard penalty. They’re pretty close to the same thing with one difference.

Encroachment happens when a defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage and touches an offensive player.

If a defensive player goes across the line of scrimmage just before the ball is snapped he’s offsides. If he gets back to his side of the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped then there is no offsides penalty.

He can also be called for offsides if the movement from defensive player causes a false start.

Take a look at this offsides penalty. You can see the defensive player go across the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped.  It gives the defense an unfair advantage at the start of the play.

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