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Rule Book

NFLLU Rule Book

6 ON 6 | 5 ON 5
AGES 5-6 (6on6 JV)
7-8 (6on6 Varsity)
9-10 (5on5)
(11-12, 7 on 7 | 13-14, 8 man, Further Down)

Game

  1. At the start of each game, captains from both teams meet at midfield for the coin toss to determine who starts with the ball. The visiting team calls the toss.
  2. The winner of the coin toss has the choice of offense or defense. The loser of the coin toss has the choice of direction. Teams may choose to defer to the second half.
  3. The offensive team takes possession of the ball at its 5-yard line and has four (4) plays to cross midfield. Once a team crosses midfield, it has four (4) plays to score a touchdown.
  4. The offensive team has the the option to “punt” on 4th down at which point possession will change and the opposition starts its drive from its own 5-yard line.
  5. If the offensive team does not punt and fails to cross midfield, possession of the ball changes and the opposition starts its drive from the current spot.
  6. If the offense does not punt and fails to score, the ball changes possession and the new offensive team starts its drive on from the current spot.
  7. Teams change sides after the first half. Possession changes to the team that started the game on defense.

Terminology

Boundary Lines: The outer perimeter lines around the field. They include the sidelines and back of the end zone lines.

Line Of Scrimmage: (LOS) an imaginary line running through the point of the football and across the width of the field.

Line-To-Gain: The line the offense must pass to get a first down or score.

Rush Line: An imaginary line running across the width of the field seven yards (into the defensive side) from the line of scrimmage.

Offense: The team with possession of the ball.

Defense: The team opposing the offense to prevent it from advancing the ball.

Passer: The offensive player that throws the ball and may or may not be the quarterback.

Rusher: The defensive player assigned to rush the quarterback to prevent him/ her from passing the ball by pulling his/her flags or by blocking the pass.

Downs: (1-2-3-4) The offensive team has four attempts or “downs” to advance the ball. It must cross the line to gain to get another set of downs or to score.

Live Ball: Refers to the period of time that the play is in action. Generally used in regard to penalties. Live ball penalties are considered part of the play and must be enforced before the down is considered complete.

Dead Ball: Refers to the period of time immediately before or after a play.

Whistle: Sound made by an official using a whistle that signifies the end of the play or a stop in the action for a timeout, halftime or the end of the game.

Inadvertent Whistle: Official’s whistle that is performed in error.

Charging: An illegal movement of the ball-carrier directly at a defensive player who has established position on the field. This includes lowering the head or initiating contact with a shoulder, forearm or the chest.

Flag Guarding: An attempt by the ball carrier to prevent a defensive player from pulling his or her flags by blocking access to their flags with hands, arms, or the ball.

Lateral: A backward or sideway toss of the ball by the ball-carrier.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct: A rude, confrontational or offensive behavior or language.

Equipment

  1. Participants must bring their own official NFL FLAG belts and mouth guards to all games. Extra belts and mouth guards will be available for purchase. Flag belts are $5, and mouth guards are $15 (through official mouth guard partner, Loud Mouth).
  2. All players must wear official NFL FLAG belts and mouth guards at all times while on the playing fields.
  3. Team identified NFL FLAG jerseys will be provided unless otherwise noted.
  4. NFL FLAG footballs will be provided. Team footballs are not allowed.
  5. Players must wear shoes. Cleats may not be allowed at certain locations. This will be specified in the field details you receive prior to the season. However, cleats with exposed metal are never allowed and must be removed.
  6. Players may tape their forearms, hands and fingers. Players may wear gloves, elbow pads and knee pads. Braces with exposed metals are not allowed.
  7. Players must remove all jewelry, hats and do-rags. Winter beanies are allowed.
  8. Players’ jerseys must be tucked into shorts or pants if they hang below the belt line.
  9. We recommend players wear shorts or pants that do not have pockets. Shorts or pants with belt loops or pockets must be taped. Games will not be delayed for a player to tape up pockets.
  10. Flag belts cannot be the same color as shorts or pants.

Fields

  1. The field dimensions are 30 yards by 70 yards with two 10-yard end zones, and a midfield line-to-gain space permitting. No-run zones precede each line-to gain by 5 yards. However, some regions may use smaller fields because of field space available or to complete scheduling on time.
  2. No-run zones are in place to prevent teams from conducting power run plays. While in the no-run zones (a 5-yard imaginary zone before midfield and before the end zone), teams cannot run the ball in any fashion. All plays must be pass plays, even with a handoff.
  3. Stepping on the boundary line is considered out of bounds.
  4. Each offensive team approaches only TWO no-run zones in each drive (one zone 5 yards from midfield to gain the first down, and one zone 5 yards from the goal line to score a TD).

Rosters

  1. Home teams wear dark color jerseys. Visiting teams wear light color jerseys.
  2. Teams must consist of at least five players with a maximum of 14 players.
    1. 5-6 year olds will play 6 on 6 JV
    2. 7-8 year olds will play 6 on 6 Varsity
    3. 9-10 year olds will play 5 on 5
    4. 11-12 year olds will play 7 on 7
    5. 13-14 year olds will play 8-man

*Players may play up in age divisions but not down. Age cutoff date will be established prior to registration opening for a given season.

  1. Teams must start games with a minimum of five players. In the event of an injury, a team with insufficient substitute players may play with four players on the field but no fewer than four.
  2. Playing time will be mandated as follows:
    1. 5-8 year olds: All players must receive equal playing time
    2. 9-10 year olds: All players must play a minimum of 8 plays
    3. Those that are not meeting academic standards will not be eligible to participate in that weeks game.

Timing and Overtime

  1. Games are played on a 40 minute continuous clock with four 10 minute quarters unless one team gains a 28-point advantage, which will then take the game into scrimmage format wherein the losing team is allowed to run 2 untimed series. Clock stops only for timeouts or injuries with the exception of within the final 2 minutes of the game (unless there is a 25+ point differential).
  2. Quarter breaks are one minute and Halftime is five minutes.
  3. Each time the ball is spotted, a team has 30 seconds to snap the ball. Teams will receive one warning before a delay-of-game penalty is enforced.
  4. Each team has one 30-second timeout per half.
  5. Officials can stop the clock at their discretion.
  6. In the event of an injury, the clock will stop then restart when the injured player is removed from the field of play.
  7. If the score is tied at the end of 40 minutes, an overtime period will be used to determine a winner. Overtime format is as follows:
  8. A coin flip will determine the team that chooses to be on offense or defense first.
    1. If a second round of overtime must be played, the team that lost the coin toss will get to choose offense or defense for the start of the second round of overtime. This process continues with teams alternating who gets to choose to be on offense or defense to start out during every round of overtime.
    2. The referee will determine which end of the field the overtime will take place on.
  9. Each team will take turns getting one (1) play from the defense’s 5-yard line for one point or the defense’s 10-yard line for two points. Whether to go for one or two points is up to the offensive team. Whether or not the team that begins on offense converts the team that started on defense gets a chance on offense to win or tie by converting a one- or two-point play of their own.
    1. Example: Team A starts on offense and chooses to go for one point from the 5-yard line and is successful. Team B is then on offense and can choose to either go for one point from the 5-yard line to tie and force a second round of overtime or to go for two points from the 10-yard line for the win.
    2. If the second team on offense in an overtime round fails to beat or match the team that went first, the team that went first wins.
  10. Both teams must “go for two” from the 10-yard line starting with the third round of overtime.
  11. The final points earned by the winning team in the final overtime will be added onto the winning team’s total score. The losing team will not receive any additional points.
    • Example: End of regulation time, score is 14-14. Team A scores one point and Team B score two points. Team B wins with a final score of 16-14.
  12. All regulation period rules and penalties are in effect.
  13. There are no timeouts.

Scoring

  1. Touchdown: 6 points
  2. PAT (point after touchdown) 1 point academic challenge question, 2 points (10-yard line), 3 points (15-yard line) Note: 2&3 point PAT can be run or pass.
  3. Safety: 2 points: A safety occurs when the ball-carrier is declared down in his/her own end zone. Runners can be called down when their flags are pulled by a defensive player, a flag falls out, they step out of bounds, their knee or arm touches the ground, a fumble occurs in the end zone or if a snapped ball lands in or beyond the end zone.
  4. A team that scores a touchdown must declare whether it wishes to attempt a 1-point conversion (academic challenge question), 2-point conversion (from the 10-yard line), or 3-point conversion (from the 15-yard line). Any change, once a decision is made to try for the extra point, requires a charged timeout. A decision cannot be changed after a penalty. Interceptions on conversions cannot be returned.
  5. After one team is winning by 28 points or more, the game is over. Once a 28 or more point advantage is gained, no PAT will be attempted.
  6. Forfeits are scored 28-0 for the winning team.
  7. The coaches, officials and scorekeeper must sign the score sheet. If a coach does not sign the score sheet before leaving the field, the scorekeeper will note on that score sheet and the score will be FINAL.

Coaches

  1. Coaches are expected to adhere to NFL Leagues United philosophies, coaching guidelines and code of conduct.
  2. Only two coaches per team are allowed on the sidelines (with the exception of NFL Leagues United invited guests). All team photographers, team moms, fans, etc. must remain in the stands or in the case where there are no stands, a minimum of 10 yards off the field in the end zones.
  3. Coaches, this is your responsibility to keep your fans in the designated areas.
  4. Coaches must remain on the sidelines throughout the duration of the game with the exception of age groups 5/6 and 7/8.

Live Ball/Dead Ball

  1. The ball is live at the snap of the ball and remains live until the official whistles the ball dead.
  2. The official will indicate the neutral zone and line of scrimmage.
  3. It is an automatic dead ball foul if any player on defense or offense enters the neutral zone. In regard to the neutral zone, the official may give both teams a “courtesy” neutral zone notification to allow their players to move back behind the line of scrimmage.
  4. A player who gains possession in the air is considered inbounds as long as one foot comes down in the field of play.
  5. The defense may not mimic the offensive team signals by trying to confuse the offensive players, while the quarterback is calling out signals to start the play. This will result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
  6. Substitutions may be made on any dead ball.
  7. Any official can whistle the play dead.
  8. Play is ruled “dead” when:
    1. The ball hits the ground.
    2. If the ball hits the ground as a result of a bad snap, the ball is then placed where the ball hit the ground.
    3. The ball-carrier’s flag is pulled.
    4. The ball-carrier steps out of bounds.
    5. A touchdown, PAT or safety is scored.
    6. The ball-carrier’s knee or arm hits the ground.
    7. The ball-carrier’s flag falls out.
    8. The receiver catches the ball while in possession of one or no flag(s).
    9. The 7 second pass clock expires.
    10. Inadvertent whistle. NOTE: There are no fumbles.
  9. In the case of an inadvertent whistle, the offense has two options
    1. Take the ball where it was when the whistle blew, and the down is consumed.
    2. Replay the down from the original line of scrimmage.
  10. A team is allowed to use a timeout to question an official’s rule interpretation. If the official’s ruling is correct, the team will be charged a timeout. If the rule is interpreted incorrectly, the timeout will not be charged and the proper ruling will be enforced. Officials should all agree upon any controversial call in order to give each team the full benefit of each call.

Running

  1. The ball is spotted where the ball is when the play is blown dead.
  2. The quarterback cannot directly run with the ball. The quarterback is the offensive player who receives the snap.
  3. The quarterback may run once any blitzer crosses the line of scrimmage
  4. Only direct handoffs behind the line of scrimmage are permitted. Handoffs may be in front, behind or to the side of the offensive player but must be behind the line of scrimmage. The offense may use multiple handoffs.
    1. “Center sneak” play is allowed as long as the center fully hands the ball to the quarterback, takes a step behind the line of scrimmage, and cannot be passed back through legs.
  5. Absolutely NO laterals of any kind
  6. No-run Zones are located 5 yards before each end zone and 5 yards on either side of midfield are designed to avoid short-yardage power-running situations. Teams are not allowed to run in these zones if the subsequent line is LIVE. (Reminder: Each offensive team approaches only TWO no-run zones in each drive – one 5 yards from midfield to gain the first down and one 5 yards from the goal line to score a TD).
  7. Any player who receives a handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.
  8. Once the ball has been handed off in front, behind or to the side of the quarterback, all defensive players are eligible to rush.
  9. Runners may not leave their feet to advance the ball. Diving, leaping or jumping to avoid a flag pull is considered flag guarding.
  10. Spinning is allowed, but players cannot leave their feet to avoid a flag pull.
  11. Players spinning out of control will be called for flag guarding.
  12. Runners may leave their feet if there is a clear indication that he/she has done so to avoid collision with another player without a flag guarding penalty enforced.
  13. No blocking or “screening” is allowed at any time
  14. Offensive players without the ball must stop their motion once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage. No running with the ball-carrier.
  15. Flag obstruction – All jerseys MUST be tucked in before play begins. The flags must be on the player’s hips and free from obstruction Deliberately obstructed flags will be considered flag guarding.

Passing

  1. All passes must be from behind the line of scrimmage, thrown forward and received beyond the line scrimmage for the 6 on 6 and 5 on 5 divisions.
  2. The quarterback may throw the ball away to avoid a sack. Pass must go beyond the line of scrimmage.
  3. Shovel passes are allowed but must be received beyond the line of scrimmage.
  4. The quarterback in the 6 on 6 and 5 on 5 divisions have a seven-second “pass clock.” If a pass is not thrown within the seven seconds, the play is dead, the down is consumed and the ball is returned to the line of scrimmage. Once the ball is handed off, the 7-second rule is no longer in effect.
  5. If the QB is standing in the end zone at the end of the 7-second clock, the ball is returned to the line of scrimmage (LOS).

Receiving

  1. All players are eligible to receive passes (including the quarterback if the ball has been handed off behind the line of scrimmage).
  2. Only one player is allowed in motion at a time. All motion must be parallel to the line of scrimmage and no motion is permitted toward the line of scrimmage.
  3. A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception.
  4. In the case of simultaneous possession by both an offensive and defensive player, possession is awarded to the offense.
  5. Interceptions change the possession of the ball at the point of interception. Interceptions are the only changes of possession that do not start on the 5-yard line.
  6. Interceptions are returnable

Rushing the Passer

  1. All players who rush the passer must be a minimum of seven yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. Any number of players can rush the quarterback. Players not rushing the quarterback can defend on the line of scrimmage.
  2. Once the ball is handed off, the seven-yard rule no longer is in effect and all defenders may go behind the line of scrimmage.
  3. A special marker, or the referee, will designate a rush line seven yards from the line of scrimmage. Defensive players should verify they are in the correct position with the official on every play.
    1. A legal rush is:
      1. Any rush from a point 7 yards from the defensive line of scrimmage.
      2. A rush from anywhere on the field AFTER the ball has been handed off by the quarterback.
  4. If a rusher leaves the rush line early (breaks the 7 yard area), they may return to the rush line, reset and then legally rush the quarterback.
  5. If a rusher leaves the rush line early and the ball is handed off before he/she crosses the line of scrimmage, he/she may legally rush the quarterback.
  6. A penalty may be called if:
    1. The rusher leaves the rush line before the snap crosses the line of scrimmage before a handoff or pass – illegal rush (5 yards from the line of scrimmage and first down).
    2. Any defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped – offsides (5 yards from line of scrimmage and first down).
    3. Any defensive player not lined up at the rush line crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is passed or handed off – illegal rush (5 yards from the line of scrimmage and first down).
  7. Special circumstances:
    1. Teams are not required to rush the quarterback with the seven second clock in effect.
    2. Teams are not required to identify their rusher before the play.
    3. Any defensive player not lined up at the rush line crosses the line of scrimmage. If rusher leaves the 7-yard line before the snap, he/she may immediately drop back to act as defender with no offside penalty enforced.
  8. Players rushing the quarterback may attempt to block a pass; however, NO contact can be made with the quarterback in any way. Blocking the pass or attempting to block the pass and then making contact with the passer will result in a roughing the passer penalty.
  9. The offense cannot impede the rusher in any way. The rusher has the right to a clear path to the quarterback, regardless of where they line up prior to the snap. If the “path or line” is occupied by a moving offensive player, then it is the offense’s responsibility to avoid the rusher. Any disruption to the rusher’s path and/or contact will result in an impeding the rusher penalty. If the offensive player does not move after the snap, then it is the rusher’s responsibility to go around the offensive player and to avoid contact.
  10. A sack occurs if the quarterback’s flags are pulled behind the line of scrimmage. The ball is placed where the quarterback’s feet are when flag is pulled.
  11. A Safety is awarded if the sack takes place in the offensive team’s end zone

Flag Pulling

  1. A legal flag pull takes place when the ball-carrier is in full possession of the ball.
  2. Defenders can dive to pull flags but cannot tackle, hold or run through the ball-carrier when pulling flags.
  3. It is illegal to attempt to strip or pull the ball from the ball-carrier’s possession at any time.
  4. If a player’s flag inadvertently falls off during the play in 6 on 6 divison, the player is down immediately upon possession of the ball and the play ends. The ball is placed where the flag lands. For 5 on 5 the play will continue until touched by a defender.
  5. A defensive player may not intentionally pull the flags off of a player who is not in possession of the ball.
  6. Flag guarding is an attempt by the ball-carrier to obstruct the defender’s access to the flags by stiff arming, dropping the head, hand, arm or shoulder or intentionally covering the flags with the football jersey

Formations

  1. Offenses must have a minimum of one player on the line of scrimmage (the center). The quarterback must be off the line of scrimmage.
    1. One player at a time may go in motion 1-yard behind and parallel to the line of scrimmage.
    2. No motion is allowed toward the line of scrimmage.
  2. Movement by a player who is set or a player who runs toward the line of scrimmage while in motion is considered a false start.
  3. The center must snap the ball with a rapid and continuous motion between his/her legs to a player in the backfield, and the ball must completely leave his/her hands.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

  1. If the field monitor or referee witnesses any acts of intentional tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, blocking or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game. The decision is made at the referee’s discretion. No appeals will be considered. FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!
  2. Offensive or confrontational language is not allowed. Officials have the right to determine offensive language. If offensive or confrontational language occurs, the referee will give one warning. If it continues, the player or players will be ejected from the game.
  3. Players may not physically or verbally abuse any opponent, coach or official.
  4. Ball-carriers MUST make an effort to avoid defenders with an established position.
  5. Defenders are not allowed to run through the ball-carrier when pulling flags.
  6. Fans must also adhere to good sportsmanship as well:
  7. Yell to cheer on your players, not to harass officials or other teams.
  8. Keep comments clean and profanity free.
  9. Compliment ALL players, not just one child or team.
  10. Fans are required to keep fields safe and kids friendly:
  11. Keep younger kids and equipment such as coolers, chairs and tents a minimum of 10 yards off the field in the end zone area.
  12. Stay in the end zone area, not between fields.
  13. Dispose of ALL trash in designated trash cans.
  14. Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties:
  15. Defense + 10 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down
  16. Offense – 10 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Penalties

General

  1. The referee will call all penalties.
  2. Referees determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play.
  3. All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage, except as noted. (Spot fouls)
  4. Only the team captain or head coach may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and interpretations. Players may not question calls.
  5. Games may not end on a defensive penalty unless the offense declines it.
  6. Penalties are assessed live ball then dead ball. Live ball penalties must be assessed before play is considered complete.
  7. Penalties will be assessed half the distance to the goal yardage when the penalty yardage is more than half the distance to the goal.

Defensive penalties

Defensive Pass Interference: +10 yards Automatic first down

Holding: +5 yards Automatic first down

Stripping: +10 yards and automatic first down

Defensive Unnecessary Roughness: +10 yards and automatic first down

Defensive Unsportsmanlike Conduct: +10 yards and automatic first down

Offside: +5 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down

Illegal Rush: +5 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down

Illegal Flag Pull: +5 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down

Roughing the Passer: +5 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down

Taunting: +5 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down

Delay of Game: +5 yards from line of scrimmage

Offensive penalties

Screening, Blocking or Running with the Ball Carrier (lower divisions): -10 yards and loss of down

Charging: -10 yards and loss of down

Flag Guarding: -10 yards and loss of down

Offensive Unnecessary Roughness: -10 yards and loss of down

Offensive Unsportsmanlike Conduct: -10 yards and loss of down

Offside / False Start: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Illegal Forward Pass: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Offensive Pass Interference: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Illegal Motion: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Delay of Game: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Impeding the Rusher: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Taunting: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

 

7 ON 7 | 8-man
AGES 11-12 (7 on 7), 13-14 (8-man)

Game

  1. At the start of each game, captains from both teams meet at midfield for the coin toss to determine who starts with the ball. The visiting team calls the toss.
  2. The winner of the coin toss has the choice of offense or defense. The loser of the coin toss has the choice of direction. Teams may choose to defer to the second half.
  3. The offensive team takes possession of the ball at its 5-yard line and has four (4) plays to gain a first down. Once a team gains a first down, it has four (4) plays to score a touchdown.
  4. The offensive team has the the option to “punt” on 4th down at which point possession will change and the opposition starts its drive from its own 5-yard line.
  5. If the offensive team does not punt and fails to gain a first down, possession of the ball changes and the opposition starts its drive from the current spot.
  6. If the offense does not punt and fails to score, the ball changes possession and the new offensive team starts its drive on from the current spot.
  7. Teams change sides after the first half. Possession changes to the team that started the game on defense.

Terminology

Boundary Lines: The outer perimeter lines around the field. They include the sidelines and back of the end zone lines.

Line Of Scrimmage: (LOS) an imaginary line running through the point of the football and across the width of the field.

Line-To-Gain: The line the offense must pass to get a first down or score.

Rush Line: An imaginary line running across the width of the field seven yards (into the defensive side) from the line of scrimmage.

Offense: The team with possession of the ball.

Defense: The team opposing the offense to prevent it from advancing the ball.

Passer: The offensive player that throws the ball and may or may not be the quarterback.

Rusher: The defensive player assigned to rush the quarterback to prevent him/ her from passing the ball by pulling his/her flags or by blocking the pass.

Downs: (1-2-3-4) The offensive team has four attempts or “downs” to advance the ball. It must cross the line to gain to get another set of downs or to score.

Live Ball: Refers to the period of time that the play is in action. Generally used in regard to penalties. Live ball penalties are considered part of the play and must be enforced before the down is considered complete.

Dead Ball: Refers to the period of time immediately before or after a play.

Whistle: Sound made by an official using a whistle that signifies the end of the play or a stop in the action for a timeout, halftime or the end of the game.

Inadvertent Whistle: Official’s whistle that is performed in error.

Charging: An illegal movement of the ball-carrier directly at a defensive player who has established position on the field. This includes lowering the head or initiating contact with a shoulder, forearm or the chest.

Flag Guarding: An attempt by the ball carrier to prevent a defensive player from pulling his or her flags by blocking access to their flags with hands, arms, or the ball.

Lateral: A backward or sideway toss of the ball by the ball-carrier.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct: A rude, confrontational or offensive behavior or language.

Equipment

  1. Participants must bring their own mouth guards to all games. Extra mouth guards will be available for purchase.  Mouth guards are $15 (through official mouth guard partner, Loud Mouth).
  2. 7on7 and 8-man must wear mouth guards at all times while on the playing fields
  3. Team identified NFL FLAG jerseys will be provided unless otherwise noted.
  4. NFL FLAG footballs will be provided. Team footballs are not allowed.
  5. Players must wear shoes. Cleats may not be allowed at certain locations. This will be specified in the field details you receive prior to the season. However, cleats with exposed metal are never allowed and must be removed.
  6. Players may tape their forearms, hands and fingers. Players may wear gloves, elbow pads and knee pads. Braces with exposed metals are not allowed.
  7. Players must remove all jewelry, hats and do-rags. Winter beanies are allowed.
  8. Players’ jerseys must be tucked into shorts or pants if they hang below the belt line.
  9. We recommend players wear shorts or pants that do not have pockets. Shorts or pants with belt loops or pockets must be taped. Games will not be delayed for a player to tape up pockets.

Fields

  1. The field dimensions are 50 yards by 55 yards with a 10-yard end zone, and a midfield line-to-gain space permitting. No-run zones precede each line-to gain by 5 yards. However, some regions may use smaller fields because of field space available or to complete scheduling on time..
  2. No-run zones are in place to prevent teams from conducting power run plays. While in the no-run zones (a 5-yard imaginary zone before midfield and before the end zone), teams cannot run the ball in any fashion. All plays must be pass plays, even with a handoff.
  3. Stepping on the boundary line is considered out of bounds.
  4. Each offensive team approaches only TWO no-run zones in each drive (one zone 5 yards from midfield to gain the first down, and one zone 5 yards from the goal line to score a TD).

Rosters

  1. Home teams wear dark color jerseys. Visiting teams wear light color jerseys.
  2. Teams must consist of at least five players with a maximum of 14 players.
    1. 5-6 year olds will play 6 on 6 JV
    2. 7-8 year olds will play 6 on 6 Varsity
    3. 9-10 year olds will play 5 on 5
    4. 11-12 year olds will play 7 on 7
    5. 13-14 year olds will play 8-man

*Players may play up in age divisions but not down. Age cutoff date will be established prior to registration opening for a given season.

  1. Teams must start games with a minimum of one less than the standard number of players on one side of the ball.
  2. Playing time will be mandated as follows:
    1. 7v7 and 8-man: Coaches discretion (playing time is earned, not given)
    2. Those that are not meeting academic standards will not be eligible to participate in that weeks game.

Timing and Overtime

  1. Games are played on a 40 minute continuous clock with four 10 minute quarters unless one team gains a 28-point advantage. At this point the game will be over. Clock stops only for timeouts or injuries with the exception of within the final 2 minutes of the game (unless there is a 25+ point differential).
  2. Quarter breaks are one minute and Halftime is five minutes.
  3. Each time the ball is spotted, a team has 30 seconds to snap the ball. Teams will receive one warning before a delay-of-game penalty is enforced.
  4. Each team has one 30-second timeout per half.
  5. Officials can stop the clock at their discretion.
  6. In the event of an injury, the clock will stop then restart when the injured player is removed from the field of play.
  7. If the score is tied at the end of 40 minutes, an overtime period will be used to determine a winner. Overtime format is as follows:
  8. A coin flip will determine the team that chooses to be on offense or defense first.
    1. If a second round of overtime must be played, the team that lost the coin toss will get to choose offense or defense for the start of the second round of overtime. This process continues with teams alternating who gets to choose to be on offense or defense to start out during every round of overtime.
    2. The referee will determine which end of the field the overtime will take place on.
  9. Each team will take turns getting one (1) play from the defense’s 5-yard line for one point or the defense’s 10-yard line for two points. Whether to go for one or two points is up to the offensive team. Whether or not the team that begins on offense converts the team that started on defense gets a chance on offense to win or tie by converting a one- or two-point play of their own.
    1. Example: Team A starts on offense and chooses to go for one point from the 5-yard line and is successful. Team B is then on offense and can choose to either go for one point from the 5-yard line to tie and force a second round of overtime or to go for two points from the 10-yard line for the win.
    2. If the second team on offense in an overtime round fails to beat or match the team that went first, the team that went first wins.
  10. Both teams must “go for two” from the 10-yard line starting with the third round of overtime.
  11. The final points earned by the winning team in the final overtime will be added onto the winning team’s total score. The losing team will not receive any additional points.
    • Example: End of regulation time, score is 14-14. Team A scores one point and Team B score two points. Team B wins with a final score of 16-14.
  12. All regulation period rules and penalties are in effect.
  13. There are no timeouts.

Scoring

  1. Touchdown: 6 points
  2. PAT (point after touchdown) 1 point academic challenge question, 2 points (10-yard line), 3 points (15-yard line) Note: 2&3 point PAT can be run or pass.
  3. Safety: 2 points: A safety occurs when the ball-carrier is declared down in his/her own end zone.  Runners can be called down when they are touched with two hands by a defensive player, they step out of bounds, their knee or arm touches the ground, a fumble occurs in the end zone or if a snapped ball lands in or beyond the end zone.
  4. A team that scores a touchdown must declare whether it wishes to attempt a 1-point conversion (academic challenge question), 2-point conversion (from the 10-yard line), or 3-point conversion (from the 15-yard line). Any change, once a decision is made to try for the extra point, requires a charged timeout. A decision cannot be changed after a penalty. Interceptions on conversions cannot be returned.
  5. After one team is winning by 28 points or more, the game is over. Once a 28 or more point advantage is gained, no PAT will be attempted.
  6. Forfeits are scored 28-0 for the winning team.
  7. The coaches, officials and scorekeeper must sign the score sheet. If a coach does not sign the score sheet before leaving the field, the scorekeeper will note on that score sheet and the score will be FINAL.

Coaches

  1. Coaches are expected to adhere to NFL Leagues United philosophies, coaching guidelines and code of conduct.
  2. Only two coaches per team are allowed on the sidelines (with the exception of NFL Leagues United invited guests). All team photographers, team moms, fans, etc. must remain in the stands or in the case where there are no stands, a minimum of 10 yards off the field in the end zones.
  3. Coaches, this is your responsibility to keep your fans in the designated areas.
  4. Coaches must remain on the sidelines throughout the duration of the game.

Live Ball/Dead Ball

  1. The ball is live at the snap of the ball and remains live until the official whistles the ball dead.
  2. The official will indicate the neutral zone and line of scrimmage.
  3. It is an automatic dead ball foul if any player on defense or offense enters the neutral zone. In regard to the neutral zone, the official may give both teams a “courtesy” neutral zone notification to allow their players to move back behind the line of scrimmage.
  4. A player who gains possession in the air is considered inbounds as long as one foot comes down in the field of play.
  5. The defense may not mimic the offensive team signals by trying to confuse the offensive players, while the quarterback is calling out signals to start the play. This will result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
  6. Substitutions may be made on any dead ball.
  7. Any official can whistle the play dead.
  8. Play is ruled “dead” when:
    1. The ball hits the ground.
    2. If the ball hits the ground as a result of a bad snap, the ball is then placed where the ball hit the ground.
    3. The ball-carrier is touched with two hands by a defensive player
    4. The ball-carrier steps out of bounds.
    5. A touchdown, PAT or safety is scored.
    6. The ball-carrier’s knee or arm hits the ground.
    7. The ball-carrier’s flag falls out.
    8. The 7 second pass clock expires.
    9. Inadvertent whistle. NOTE: There are no fumbles.
  9. In the case of an inadvertent whistle, the offense has two options:
    1. Take the ball where it was when the whistle blew, and the down is consumed.
    2. Replay the down from the original line of scrimmage.
  10. A team is allowed to use a timeout to question an official’s rule interpretation. If the official’s ruling is correct, the team will be charged a timeout. If the rule is interpreted incorrectly, the timeout will not be charged and the proper ruling will be enforced. Officials should all agree upon any controversial call in order to give each team the full benefit of each call.

Running

  1. The ball is spotted where the ball is when the play is blown dead.
  2. The quarterback cannot directly run with the ball. The quarterback is the offensive player who receives the snap.
  3. The quarterback may run once any blitzer crosses the line of scrimmage.
  4. 7on7: Only one direct handoff behind the line of scrimmage per set of downs is permitted. Handoffs may be in front, behind or to the side of the offensive player but must be behind the line of scrimmage. The offense may use multiple handoffs.
    1. “Center sneak” play is not allowed
  5. 8-man: Handoffs are permitted at all times
  6. Laterals are permitted in the 7on7 and 8-man divisions.
  7. No-run Zones are located 5 yards before each end zone and 5 yards on either side of midfield are designed to avoid short-yardage power-running situations. Teams are not allowed to run in these zones if the subsequent line is LIVE. (Reminder: Each offensive team approaches only TWO no-run zones in each drive – one 5 yards from midfield to gain the first down and one 5 yards from the goal line to score a TD).
  8. Any player who receives a handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.
  9. Once the ball has been handed off in front, behind or to the side of the quarterback, all defensive players are eligible to rush.
  10. Runners may not leave their feet to advance the ball. Diving, leaping or jumping to avoid being touched down is considered flag guarding.
  11. Spinning is allowed, but players cannot leave their feet to avoid being touched down.
  12. Players spinning out of control will be called for flag guarding.
  13. Runners may leave their feet if there is a clear indication that he/she has done so to avoid collision with another player without a flag guarding penalty enforced.
  14. “Screening” (no contact) is permitted.

Passing

  1. All passes must be from behind the line of scrimmage.
  2. The quarterback may throw the ball away to avoid a sack. Pass must go beyond the line of scrimmage.
  3. Shovel passes are allowed but must be received beyond the line of scrimmage.
  4. The 7on7 division has a seven-second pass clock. If a pass is not thrown within the seven seconds, the play is dead, the down is consumed and the ball is spotted at the spot of the quarterback at the five second mark. Once the ball is handed off, the 7-second rule is no longer in effect.
  5. The 8-man division has no pass clock.
  6. If the QB is standing in the end zone at the end of the 7-second clock, the play will result in a safety.

Receiving

  1. 7on7: All players, with the exception of the center, are eligible to receive passes (including the quarterback if the ball has been handed off behind the line of scrimmage).
  2. 8-man: Designated Olinemen are not eligible to receive passes.
  3. Only one player is allowed in motion at a time. All motion must be parallel to the line of scrimmage and no motion is permitted toward the line of scrimmage.
  4. A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception.
  5. In the case of simultaneous possession by both an offensive and defensive player, possession is awarded to the offense.
  6. Interceptions change the possession of the ball at the point of interception.
  7. Interceptions are returnable
  8. Press/Bump and Run coverage is allowed. All contact must be within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage and must be with hands only.

Rushing the Passer (7on7)

  1. All players who rush the passer must be a minimum of seven yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. Any number of players can rush the quarterback. Players not rushing the quarterback can defend on the line of scrimmage.
  2. Once the ball is handed off, the seven-yard rule no longer is in effect and all defenders may go behind the line of scrimmage.
  3. A special marker, or the referee, will designate a rush line seven yards from the line of scrimmage. Defensive players should verify they are in the correct position with the official on every play.
    1. A legal rush is:
      1. Any rush from a point 7 yards from the defensive line of scrimmage.
      2. A rush from anywhere on the field AFTER the ball has been handed off by the quarterback.
  4. If a rusher leaves the rush line early (breaks the 7 yard area), they may return to the rush line, reset and then legally rush the quarterback.
  5. If a rusher leaves the rush line early and the ball is handed off before he/she crosses the line of scrimmage, he/she may legally rush the quarterback.
  6. A penalty may be called if:
    1. The rusher leaves the rush line before the snap crosses the line of scrimmage before a handoff or pass – illegal rush (5 yards from the line of scrimmage and first down).
    2. Any defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped – offsides (5 yards from line of scrimmage and first down).
    3. Any defensive player not lined up at the rush line crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is passed or handed off – illegal rush (5 yards from the line of scrimmage and first down).
  7. Special circumstances:
    1. Teams are not required to rush the quarterback with the seven second clock in effect.
    2. Teams are not required to identify their rusher before the play. However, if they do send a rusher, the rusher must check in with the official.
    3. Any defensive player not lined up at the rush line crosses the line of scrimmage. If rusher leaves the 7-yard line before the snap, he/she may immediately drop back to act as defender with no offside penalty enforced.
  8. Players rushing the quarterback may attempt to block a pass; however, NO contact can be made with the quarterback in any way. Blocking the pass or attempting to block the pass and then making contact with the passer will result in a roughing the passer penalty.
  9. A sack occurs if the quarterback’s flags are pulled behind the line of scrimmage. The ball is placed where the ball is when flag is pulled.
  10. A Safety is awarded if the sack takes place in the offensive team’s end zone

Rushing the Passer (8-man)

  1. All players are eligible to rush the passer from any position on the defensive side of the ball.
  2. A penalty may be called if:
    1. Any defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped – offsides (5 yards from line of scrimmage and first down).
  3. Special circumstances:
    1. Teams are not required to identify their rusher before the play.
  4. Players rushing the quarterback may attempt to block a pass; however, NO contact can be made with the quarterback in any way. Blocking the pass or attempting to block the pass and then making contact with the passer will result in a roughing the passer penalty.
  5. A sack occurs if the quarterback is tagged with both hands behind the line of scrimmage. The ball is placed where the ball is located when the tag occured.
  6. A Safety is awarded if the sack takes place in the offensive team’s end zone

Touching Down

  1. An offensive play is considered “down” when a defensive player touches the offensive ball carrier with both hands simultaneously.
  2. Runners can be called down when they are touched with two hands by a defensive player, they step out of bounds, their knee or arm touches the ground, a fumble occurs in the end zone or if a snapped ball lands in or beyond the end zone.

Formations (7on7)

  1. Offenses must have a minimum of one player on the line of scrimmage (the center). The center is only on the field to snap the ball and must take a knee immediately after the snap and cannot be involved in the offensive play. The quarterback must be off the line of scrimmage.
    1. One player at a time may go in motion 1-yard behind and parallel to the line of scrimmage.
    2. No motion is allowed toward the line of scrimmage.
  2. Movement by a player who is set or a player who runs toward the line of scrimmage while in motion is considered a false start.
  3. The center must snap the ball with a rapid and continuous motion between his/her legs to a player in the backfield, and the ball must completely leave his/her hands.

Formations (8-man)

  1. Offenses must have a minimum of 3 players on the line of scrimmage (the Oline). The quarterback must be off the line of scrimmage.
    1. One player at a time may go in motion 1-yard behind and parallel to the line of scrimmage.
    2. No motion is allowed toward the line of scrimmage.
  2. Movement by a player who is set or a player who runs toward the line of scrimmage while in motion is considered a false start.
  3. The center must snap the ball with a rapid and continuous motion between his/her legs to a player in the backfield, and the ball must completely leave his/her hands.

Blocking

  1. All players are eligible to block at the line of scrimmage and down field. Down field blocks must be made after the ball this thrown on passing plays. Blocks occurring before the pass has been thrown will result in an offensive pass interference penalty.
  2. Absolutely no head contact is permitted. All blocks must be stalk block style (hands only).
  3. All blocks must be standing. Cut blocks are not permitted and will result in a 15 yard penalty. Repeat offenders will be ejected.
  4. Block schemes maybe man or zone. No pulling is allowed.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

  1. If the field monitor or referee witnesses any acts of intentional tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, blocking or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game. The decision is made at the referee’s discretion. No appeals will be considered. FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!
  2. Offensive or confrontational language is not allowed. Officials have the right to determine offensive language. If offensive or confrontational language occurs, the referee will give one warning. If it continues, the player or players will be ejected from the game.
  3. Players may not physically or verbally abuse any opponent, coach or official.
  4. Ball-carriers MUST make an effort to avoid defenders with an established position.
  5. Defenders are not allowed to run through the ball-carrier when pulling flags.
  6. Fans must also adhere to good sportsmanship as well:
  7. Yell to cheer on your players, not to harass officials or other teams.
  8. Keep comments clean and profanity free.
  9. Compliment ALL players, not just one child or team.
  10. Fans are required to keep fields safe and kids friendly:
  11. Keep younger kids and equipment such as coolers, chairs and tents a minimum of 10 yards off the field in the end zone area.
  12. Stay in the end zone area, not between fields.
  13. Dispose of ALL trash in designated trash cans.
  14. Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties:
  15. Defense + 10 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down
  16. Offense – 10 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Penalties

General

  1. The referee will call all penalties.
  2. Referees determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play.
  3. All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage, except as noted. (Spot fouls)
  4. Only the team captain or head coach may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and interpretations. Players may not question calls.
  5. Games may not end on a defensive penalty unless the offense declines it.
  6. Penalties are assessed live ball then dead ball. Live ball penalties must be assessed before play is considered complete.
  7. Penalties will be assessed half the distance to the goal yardage when the penalty yardage is more than half the distance to the goal.

 

Defensive penalties

Defensive Pass Interference: +15 yards Automatic first down

Holding: +5 yards Automatic first down

Stripping: +10 yards and automatic first down

Defensive Unnecessary Roughness: +10 yards and automatic first down

Defensive Unsportsmanlike Conduct: +10 yards and automatic first down

Offside: +5 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down

Illegal Rush: +5 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down

Illegal Flag Pull: +5 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down

Roughing the Passer: +5 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down

Taunting: +5 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic first down

Delay of Game: +5 yards from line of scrimmage

Offensive penalties

Charging: -10 yards and loss of down

Flag Guarding: -10 yards and loss of down

Offensive Unnecessary Roughness: -10 yards and loss of down

Offensive Unsportsmanlike Conduct: -10 yards and loss of down

Offside / False Start: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Illegal Forward Pass: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Offensive Pass Interference: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Illegal Motion: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Delay of Game: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Impeding the Rusher: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

Taunting: -5 yards from line of scrimmage and loss of down

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