The following is a summary of AYFFL rules that are different from NFL rules. For more information please refer to the official AYFFL documentation.

  • There will be one head referee and one junior referee per game. The head referee handles the game clock, play clock, and all official calls and penalties. The junior referee is responsible for spotting the ball, placing the “No Rush Zone” markers, and watching one of the sidelines.
  • Play takes place on a field 80 yards long and 40 yards wide with the final 10 yards of each end marked as end zones (making the play length 60 yards).
  • The Mini Division (the division the Warhawks play in) uses a “Pee-wee” or “K-2” size football.
  • All players must wear mouth guards and correctly worn flags at all times during a game.
  • The game is played within two 20-minute halves. The game clock does not stop except for time-outs or at the referee’s discretion. The final two minutes of a half use high school clock rules. Each team is given a 60-second and two 30-second timeouts per half.
  • Each team fields seven players.
  • Initial possession of the ball is determined by a game of “Rock/Paper/Scissors.”
  • Kicking the ball is not allowed. There are no free kicks (kick-offs) to start play or after scores, and no scrimmage kicks or field goal attempts (punts, drop kicks, placed kicks).
  • The ball starts on a team’s own 10-yard line at the beginning of each half, after a score, or if the opposing team elects to “punt” on one of their downs (no actual kicking is involved).
  • A team on offense is given four downs to reach the next first-down line. First-down lines are marked at the 20-yard lines on both sides of the field. If a team fails to reach the next 20-yard/first-down line or score within four downs, possession of the ball is given to the opposing team.
  • After a touchdown the scoring team is given the choice to attempt a point after from the 5-yard line (for 1 extra point) or the 10-yard line (for 2 extra points.
  • A “No-rush Zone” will be marked in the middle of the field. It spans one yard to either side of the ball after it has been spotted. Offensive players may not run the ball through the No-rush Zone, except when forced to go around a defender. Defensive players may not run through the No-rush Zone to get to a ball-carrier unless the ball-carrier is running through it as described above.
  • Tackling, hitting, shoving, clipping, tripping, grabbing, or holding any player (including a ball-carrier) is not permitted.
  • Ball-carriers are not permitted to dive or jump with the ball.
  • The ball is whistled dead if either knee of the ball-carrier touches the ground.
  • All players are eligible receivers, including linemen and quarterbacks.
  • There are no illegal formations.
  • Fumbled balls are whistled dead. Intercepted balls, however, are still live balls and may be run back for a score.
  • Blocking a defending player is done without the use of the hands (similar to boxing-out or screen-blocking in basketball). Again, no striking or shoving is permitted.
  • A mercy rule goes into effect if a team is ahead by 30 or more points in the first half or 25 or more points in the second half. The team that is behind will start their possessions at mid-field. The team in the lead will not be permitted to send any defenders past the line of scrimmage when on defense. The team in the lead also may not stop the clock using time-outs.
  • A second mercy rule goes into effect if a team is ahead by 35 or more points at any point in a game. If there are 5 minutes or less left in regulation, the referees will end the game. Otherwise, the same mercy rules apply except the team that is behind starts their possessions on their opponent’s 20-yard line.
  • In the event of a tie at the end of regulation, up to three overtime periods are played in which each team is given a three-play series to try to score a touchdown (and point after). The series start from the opponent’s 20-yard line. The game ends if one team scores more than the other after any overtime period or after three overtime periods.

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