Originally Posted by Idgit
I believe the offensive penalties are more damning than the defensive ones.
As far as I can remember from the one or two studies I've read, it's the reverse.
The explanation for causation that was offered is that defensive penalties are harder to overcome because many of them are automatic first downs, and the ones that aren't automatic (offsides, 12-men, delay of game) often result in a first down. OTOH, offensive penalties can be overcome more easily because most of them don't result in a loss of down, so there is always a chance to overcome the loss of yardage, particularly for 1st down penalties.