Anytime the ball is snapped before the ready for play whistle/signal a foul or Delay of Game has occurred. A 5 yard penalty will be assessed and the Referee will wind the clock on the ready for play signal.Reading through the Pet Peeves forum reminded me of a play I saw a few years ago.
Late in the fourth, clock running, Team A gets first down. Ball has been spotted but ready for play has not been blown (believe the chains were not set yet). Team A snaps the ball and spikes it to stop the clock. What penalty is call for this?
This year with the new 40/25 play clock rules, with the clock running, once the ball is spotted by the Umpire (or other official) the ball becomes ready for play (there will be no whistle) and may be legally snapped by Team A.