When a football is legally snapped or kicked, it is considered live until an official blows the play dead.
There is a play in action when the terms live ball and dead ball are used in football.
There is an important distinction between live balls and dead balls when it comes to penalties. Live ball penalties often nullify plays, while dead ball penalties are assessed between plays.
How do you Define a live Ball Foul?
In football, a live ball refers to a play in progress, while a dead ball refers to the time between two plays.
A live ball foul occurs during a play, while a dead ball foul occurs after or before a play.
Since the majority of penalties occur during play, live ball fouls will be the most common fouls in football.
A live ball foul has more consequences since it affects the outcome of the play. For this reason, living ball fouls are often going to wipe out the play.
There are various types of live ball fouls in football, including holding, pass interference, and illegal contact. These kinds of fouls occur during play, which is why they are called live ball fouls.
Living Ball Fouls vs. Dead Ball Fouls
In both types of foul, the foul occurs during the play, whereas the other occurs before or after.
Live ball fouls occur during a play when the ball is “live,” while dead ball fouls occur between plays.
Dead-ball fouls are not going to affect the outcome of a play while live-ball fouls will.
On a touchdown play, let’s compare a live ball foul and a dead ball foul.
The offense scores a touchdown, but is assessed a penalty for holding during the play, so it is a live ball foul.
The foul negates the play on the field, and the touchdown will be erased. The team will restart the play with a ten-yard penalty.
As an example, let’s say a team scores a touchdown and is then assessed a personal foul after shoving a player to the ground during the celebration.
Having occurred after a touchdown has been scored, this penalty is considered a dead ball foul. The fact that it occurred after the play means that the touchdown will not be affected.
The team that was assessed the personal foul will take the penalty yardage on their kickoff or PAT instead.
As a result, dead ball fouls are often less consequential because they don’t erase the previous play.
Check out our article on what is a dead ball in football to learn more about live balls.