Can You Challenge Offsides in the NFL?

Can you challenge offsides in the NFL? It’s a common question from football fans, and we’re here to give you the answer.

What is Offsides?

In football, an “offsides” violation occurs when a player on the offensive team is positioned in front of the ball when it is snapped. This section will discuss whether or not you can challenge an offsides call in the NFL.

Definition of Offsides

In football, offsides is a foul that occurs when a defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage before the snap and is within the free kick formation. The purpose of this rule is to allow for a fair and balanced contest between the offense and defense.

If an offensive player crosses the line of scrimmage before the snap, it is a running into the kicker penalty. If a defensive player does so, it is called offsides. Either way, it’s a five-yard penalty from the previous spot.

In some cases, offsides may be called even if the defender is not in the free kick formation. This includes if they are in motion at the time of the snap or if they are standing still but not lined up on either side of the center.

Examples of Offsides

Offsides is called when the defensive team is more than 1 yard past the line of scrimmage when the snap occurs. If even one player on the defensive side is in this position, it’s offsides. The most common offsides scenarios happen on rushing plays, when a defender reacts too quickly to the snap and gets ahead of the offensive linemen or running back.

Here are a few examples of offsides:
-A defensive lineman rushes before the snap and is in the backfield when the quarterback hands off to the running back.
-A linebacker blitzes before the snap and goes past the line of scrimmage before the quarterback can hand off or throw the ball.
-A defensive back jumps forward before the snap in an attempt to get a better position to guard against a pass play.

How to Challenge Offsides

If you think an opposing player is offsides, you can throw a red flag to challenge the play. The referee will then review the play to see if the player was indeed offsides. If the ruling is offsides, the opposing team will be penalized 5 yards. If the ruling is not offsides, then your team will be penalized for challenging the play.

Review the Play

The first step in challenging an offsides call is to review the play. If you think the opposing team may have been offsides, look at the film to see if there is any evidence to support your claim. If you can’t determine for sure whether or not the other team was offsides, it’s probably not worth challenging the call.

Throw the Red Flag

Once the play is over, the defending team can throw a red flag to challenge the ruling on the field. If the challenge is successful, then the play will be reversed and the offending team will be penalized.

When is the Best Time to Challenge Offsides?

If you challenge an offsides and the play is upheld, you lose a timeout. So, when is the best time to challenge offsides in the NFL? The answer may surprise you.

Late in the Game

Offsides is one of the most difficult judgment calls for officials to make, so it is not surprising that there are often questions about whether or not a particular call was correct.

In the NFL, each team is allowed two challenges per game, and they can only challenge calls that are reviewable. Unfortunately, offsides is not one of the reviewable calls.

The best time to challenge an offsides call is late in the game, when you only have one challenge remaining. This way, if the challenge is unsuccessful, you will still have a chance to challenge another call later in the game.

When the Outcome is in Doubt

If the ruling on the field is that the attacking team is offside, but the officials aren’t sure if the offensive player was actually in an offside position when the ball was played, then a challenge can be made. In this case, even if the replays are inconclusive, the ruling on the field will stand and the challenging team will lose a timeout.

In general, it’s best to challenge an offside call when the outcome of the play is still in doubt. If it’s clear that the attacking player was in an offside position when the ball was played, then there’s no point in challenging as you’ll just lose a timeout.


In Conclusion, the answer to the question “Can you challenge offsides in the NFL?” is no. Offsides is not a reviewable play, and there is no way to challenge it. The only way that an offsides call can be changed is if the officials on the field blow their whistles and stop play before the snap, which is very rare. If you’re watching a game and you think an offsides call was missed, the best thing to do is just hope that the officials were able to see it and correct it.

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