UPDATED: Dec 17th, 2020
RULES AND REGULATIONS
MEN’S FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE
INTRODUCTION: The following rules and regulations are intended to provide for competitive and safe games. Clearly, it would be unrealistic to attempt to include all of the rules of football here. Instead, this document defines the ways in which American Football in Israel (“AFI”) men’s flag contact rules differ from standard football, and emphasizes the rules that are different from, or were in question during, previous years.
REGISTRATION: Each team’s captain is responsible for registering and updating their team roster and information, in accordance with the rules and league guidelines.
ROSTER: Each team’s roster must include a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 18 players. Players must be male, and must be 18 years old or older by Dec 31st of the year in which the season begins.
Rosters, including any changes to rosters, must be submitted to AFI in writing as specified during the registration process. Only players who have signed and submitted a roster-waiver form are eligible, and are covered by any medical treatment agreement for AFI players. A player may be removed, by his or the team captain’s written request, from a team’s roster. Once a player has been on a team during or after the weekend designated as "Week 4", (as either an active player or a member on the team's roster), they may not join another team. Once the final weekend of regularly scheduled games of the regular season is over no roster changes may be made. Use of an ineligible player is Illegal Procedure, and at the discretion of the referee may also constitute Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Regardless of any consequences upon the game, use of an ineligible player constitutes a serious risk, for which AFI cannot insure itself and which AFI cannot bear. Use of such a player will subject the team to an automatic minimum fine of NIS 1,000. The captain and players of the offending team and the ineligible player, jointly and severally, agree to cover all costs, medical and otherwise, incurred by any party, ensuing from the team’s actions, including use of an ineligible player, as well as the above-mentioned fine and any reasonable disciplinary penalty or fine assessed by the league.
SCHEDULE: Captains are responsible for monitoring their team schedule. Bye requests may be submitted only by the captain, via the website, at least 10 days prior to the requested date, and are granted subject to logistical considerations.
Players must wear mouth guards. Exceptions to this are allowed only if the player provides a doctor’s note stating “[player’s name] should not use a mouth guard when playing in the AFI men’s contact flag football league, during the following dates [specify dates]”. While AFI may sometimes have mouth guards available for sale, it is the player’s responsibility to provide a mouth guard.
Pants /shorts may not have pockets. The following are allowed:
1. Back pockets only. ( I.e. pockets of the sort commonly found on the back of pants - not pants worn backwards.)
2. Pockets that remain entirely glued, zipped, or sewed shut. Please note:
- It is the player's responsibility to ensure that the pocket remains completely closed. Like many other penalties, there is strict liability for violation - i.e. if the pocket comes open, it is a penalty, regardless of whether it is the player's "fault".
- Pockets may not be taped shut, as this constitutes an injury risk for opposing players.
- Pants or shorts that are turned inside-out, such that the pockets are hanging out, do not constitute illegal procedure – however, if such pockets are worn by the ball carrier, and an attempt is made to pull his flag, this constitutes protecting the flag (i.e. immediately ends the play).
Soft padding is permitted. Guards and pads made of hard materials (metal or plastic), and cleats with metal showing, are not permitted. AFI officials may, at their discretion, forbid the use of any equipment.
Anyone entering the field during or between plays must wear their team shirts, unless permission is granted by the referees.
The center may not wear flags.
Violation of this rule (“Equipment”) is illegal procedure.
FIELD OF PLAY: The field is 60 yards long, plus 10 yards for each end zone, and 25 yards wide, or as close to these measurements as practicable.
GAME TIME: Games consist of two 20-minute periods, with a one-minute halftime break.
PRIOR TO THE GAME: Before the game, each team must identify to the referee its captain. The referee will point out any irregularities concerning the field. The team winning the coin toss will have the prerogative to decide either which team will kick off, or the direction they will go. A team not represented at the coin toss five minutes prior to game time automatically forfeits the coin toss. The teams switch directions for the second half, which begins with a kickoff by the team which previously received.
GAME CLOCK: The clock runs continuously, except during timeouts, during the last minute of a game or sudden death period, and (where relevant) during the last minute before a scheduled halftime break. In said last minute the clock is stopped:
a) at the first dead ball with one minute or less remaining, (and there is a 30-second official time out),
b) when a play ends out of bounds,
c) on incomplete passes,
d) after a touchdown and through the ensuing extra point(s) attempt,
e) at the end of a play that includes a change of possession,
f) on penalties. However, when a team trailing commits a penalty in a situation in which the game clock would otherwise not have stopped, the clock will be stopped to assess the foul, but will restart (with a 25-second play clock) on the referee's whistle.
g) on time outs
h) on first downs.
The clock is restarted at the beginning of the following play.
TIME OUTS: Each team receives two timeouts per half. A timeout may be called by any team member and they can do so to either referee.
The referees will endeavor to accept and charge a timeout call when it is clearly signaled or stated by an identifiable team member.
In a situation where a player requests a time out when the clock is already stopped, the referee will endeavor to inform him, and clarify whether the player nonetheless wants a time out.
All this notwithstanding, ultimately it is the responsibility of the team to ensure that their timeouts are clearly indicated by their players to one of the referees.
Each time out lasts 30 seconds. The play clock is then started, and the game clock is restarted at the beginning of the following play.
A referee is allowed, at his discretion, to stop the game clock or play clock, and may retroactively change a team’s time out to an official time out if it emerges that one was necessary.
After an unscheduled official time-out, the game clock and play clock will resume upon the referee's signal, not on the subsequent snap; if less than 10 seconds remain on the play clock, it will be reset to 10 seconds.
If the game clock or play clock is stopped to enable an injured player to receive treatment or recover, that player must sit out at least one play unless there is a team timeout. A referee will announce the one-minute warning.
KNEEL-DOWN RULE: If one team leads by 17 points or more at the one minute warning preceding the end of the game, or anytime thereafter, the game is over.
PLAY CLOCK: Upon the conclusion of every play, the referees will position the line of scrimmage as necessary, and the line referee will signal the down. A 25-second play clock will then immediately begin. The offense is responsible for retrieving the ball in time for the next play. If play does not begin within the 25 seconds allowed, a Delay of Game penalty will be called. The line referee will count down the time remaining on the play clock, announcing the following seconds remaining: 10, 5, 3, 2, 1. In the last 10 minutes of the game, each delay-of-game penalty beyond the first one, on the same drive, will result in loss of down.
BEGINNING THE GAME: Each game begins with a kickoff from the 20-yard line. If a team is not ready at game time, the game clock will start (subject to the referee's decision, as warranted only by unusual circumstances), and the team present will choose direction and receive the kickoff in both halves. (Teams will still change directions for the second half). For every five minutes that a team is not ready, its opponent will be awarded eight points (and the late team will take possession, as on any other Touchdown, when they arrive). If a team is not ready 15 minutes after the game clock has started, the team present and ready is awarded a forfeit win. The official score of a forfeited game is 24-0. AFI will assess penalties, including possible fine, suspension, and points in the standings, for forfeited games. If neither team is ready at game time the game clock will start - however, the above procedure for awarding possession, points, and victories by forfeit, will only begin when one team is ready. If neither team is ready within fifteen minutes after the clock has started, both teams are declared loser by forfeit.
BALL USAGE: Any ball introduced into the game must be of adult size and approved by the referee. Any ball used in play becomes a game ball and may be used by either team, subject to the referee's discretion. However, if Team A wishes to use Team B’s ball, it must notify Team B one play in advance or risk a Delay of Game penalty.
ENTERING AND EXITING THE FIELD: Teams must be stationed on the side of the field designated by the referee. Players may not stand on the sideline in the area between the 10 yard line and the back line of the endzone. All players must enter and exit from that side of the field. A team may not field more than six players for every play. There is free substitution between plays. A substitution used, in the referee's judgment, to deceive the other team as to who is on the playing field for the ensuing play, is Illegal Procedure.
OFFENSIVE SCRIMMAGE: The offensive line consists of a center. All remaining offensive players may line up in any type of formation, on or off of the line of scrimmage. All offensive players must come to a set position before the snap, and after setting, may not move toward the line of scrimmage. Lateral and backward motion is permitted after all offensive players have become set.
SNAPS: To begin each play, the ball must be snapped between the center’s legs or to the center’s side. The ball must be snapped from the ground (the line of scrimmage marker is considered part of the ground). Apart from his hand(s), the center’s body must be entirely behind the ball. The ball is considered snapped when the center, in a set position, lifts the ball from the ground. The referee's “three-missippi” count will start as soon as the ball has been lifted from the ground. No player on either team may simulate the snap. A center who comes to a set position and then lifts the ball and replaces it on the ground has committed a False Start (see below). The defense may not touch the ball before it leaves the center's hands.
DEFENSIVE RUSH: Defensive players may not cross the line of scrimmage, nor begin uninterrupted forward motion that culminates in crossing the line of scrimmage, except:
1. After the completion of the line referee’s three-count.
2. After the quarterback (the player receiving the snap) releases the ball. Players may then cross the line of scrimmage immediately, regardless of when they began forward motion.
3. On a blitz (see below).
Should a referee forget to announce the three-count, the play must be replayed.
BLITZING: The defense may blitz once per set of downs. The defense is not required to announce the blitz. The referee will automatically count an early rush as a blitz whenever possible, and after the play will announce that the blitz has been burned.
OFFSIDES/FALSE STARTS: It is a False Start when an offensive player :
a. is beyond the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. Note: While referees try, where feasible, to warn players that they are set up offsides before the snap, offsides is solely the responsibility of the player.
b. moves forward after having come to a set position and before the snap, regardless of whether he has passed the line of scrimmage.
c. comes to a set position and then lifts the ball and replaces it on the ground.
d. Simulates the snap.
When a False Start by the offense is called, no play will be allowed to occur. If a defensive player is offsides when the ball is snapped, a penalty flag will be thrown, but play will proceed. A defensive player may rectify a potential offsides situation by returning onsides before the snap. If the defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage and initiates contact with an offensive player before the snap, or draws an offensive player offsides, the offsides may not be rectified, and no play will be allowed to occur.
BLOCKING: Blocking is allowed under the following conditions:
1. A block must be delivered with the chest, arms or open hands.
2. Players may not hold onto an opponent.
3. A block by any player must be above the waist and below the neck, and must be initiated from in front of the player being blocked. For the purpose of this rule, the front of a player is both the player’s chest and the direction in which the player is intentionally moving at the time of the block.
A block may not be initiated from an opponent’s blind side. In addition to the above definition, the following blocks are specified as illegal:
1. Any swinging forearm blow or punch.
2. A block with any part of the legs or head.
3. A block below the waist or to the back.
4. Offensive receivers blocking for one another (i.e. any kind of moving pick) downfield before a pass is caught.
5. Tackling of any sort.
6. A block thrown while not facing the opponent.
7. A block intentionally thrown against a player who is in the act of attempting to catch a kicked ball or a forward pass, even if the ball has already been touched.
The above blocking rules apply to both offensive and defensive players, on every play and regardless of the location of the players in relation to the line of scrimmage.
FOR RULES REGARDING BLOCKING THE BALL-CARRIER, AND BLOCKING BY THE BALL-CARRIER, SEE BELOW.
DOWNFIELD BLOCKING: No contact may be initiated by an offensive player beyond the line of scrimmage, nor may the center cross the line of scrimmage, except on a running play, or on a passing play after the ball has been caught.
A running play is one that does not include a forward pass . On such a play, offensive and defensive players are not restricted in the number of legal blocks they can throw at any position on the field of play. Once the offense throws blocks which are legal only on running plays, the defense may treat the play as a running play (i.e. the offense, not the defense, will be penalized if the offense eventually does pass on this play).
On a passing play (a play that includes a forward pass), no contact may be initiated over five yards beyond the line of scrimmage (towards the defense) by either side, unless: a) the forward pass has already been caught, or b) the contact is entirely incidental to the pursuit of the ball-carrier or of a ball which is not in any player’s possession.
On a passing play, defensive players may chuck opponents once within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Offensive players may not initiate contact. The same player may be chucked by more than one opponent. The player may use any legal block, with the following qualifications and clarifications:
a) A player may initiate and maintain continuous unbroken contact with the opponent, as long as the opponent is within five yards of the line of scrimmage. However, throwing more than one block, while not maintaining continuous unbroken contact, is not legal even within five yards of the line of scrimmage.
b) Even within five yards of the line of scrimmage a defender may not initiate a block if the receiver is level with him, or has run past him.
c) If the defender chooses to initiate contact, the offensive player may react to the contact with contact of his own, until contact has been broken. A defender who moves to block an offensive player's path is deemed to have initiated contact. Once contact has been broken, the players are once again prohibited from initiating contact.
FLAGS: Flag sets are provided by AFI. Shirts must be tucked into, and may not hang over, the flag belt. Flags must be worn on the side of the body, with their plastic holders slanted down and away from the body.
PROTECTING THE FLAG AND BLOCKING BY THE BALL-CARRIER: Any contact which the ball carrier makes with a defender must be entirely incidental to advancing the ball. The ball-carrier may not block an opponent’s hands in order to prevent an opponent from pulling a flag, and may not use any part of his body, nor the ball itself, to block for himself. This includes colliding with a defender deliberately or with disregard for the defender's body, including in the middle of a spin, rather than attempting to evade or pass by the defender. These actions result in the play immediately being dead (but are not a foul). If the action is flagrantly intentional (e.g. a deliberate swipe at the opponent’s arm, as opposed to a reflexive motion or regular motion of the hands at the runner’s sides), there is a 5-yard Protecting the Flag penalty. If the block or attempted block by the ball carrier is intended to physically displace a defender (e.g. throwing a block or deliberately colliding with the defender, and not merely swatting at the defender’s hand or using a passive stiff-arm to keep the defender from pulling the flag), there is a 10-yard Blocking By The Ball Carrier penalty, and at the discretion of the referee also a Personal Foul.
FORWARD PASS: The offensive team may throw one forward pass per play. Once the ball-carrier's body has advanced completely beyond the line of scrimmage no forward pass is legal.
Note: Like most fouls, an illegal forward pass does not automatically or immediately end the play.
The following are ineligible receivers on a forward pass:
- The passer
- The Center
- A receiver who has gone (or remained) out of bounds, except as a result of an illegal block.
Should an ineligible receiver be the first to touch an airborne pass, the play is dead. Such a player may touch, and take possession, of the ball only after it has been touched by any other player. An airborne receiver who catches the ball will be judged to have received the ball in bounds if both the last part of the receivers body to become airborne was in bounds, and the first part of the receiver’s body to land was in bounds.
INTENTIONAL GROUNDING: Intentional Grounding will be called if the offensive team, in order to avoid a sack, attempts a pass that does not reach the line of scrimmage and which is not intended for, nor playable by, an offensive eligible receiver. Quick spikes are legal provided they are intended, in the referee’s judgment, to stop the clock, and they do not also serve to avoid a likely sack.
RUNNING IN THE RED ZONE: If the line of scrimmage is 10 yards or less from the defensive team’s end zone, the ball may not be advanced beyond the line of scrimmage except on a play which includes a forward pass (or if there has been a turnover on the play). Note: Like most fouls, illegally advancing the ball in the red zone does not automatically or immediately end the play.
SPOTTING THE BALL: The referee will judge where the ball was when the play became dead, and the ball will be marked at that spot. If the ball is fully beyond the plane of the out-of-bounds boundaries when the play becomes dead, the spot will be the point at which the ball last fully crossed said plane – however, if the ball carrier is inbounds in the endzone and the ball is beyond the plane of the endzone, the ball will be marked as having advanced into the endzone (regardless of whether the ball is beyond the plane of the out-of-bounds boundaries).
FALLEN BALL-CARRIER: If a ball-carrier is on the ground, the play is ruled dead when the player is touched by an opponent, or when the referee calls the play dead to prevent injury.
PULLED FLAG: If a player’s flag is pulled off while he has possession of the ball, the play is dead. The defender must remain at the spot where the flag was pulled and return the flag.
MISSING FLAG: If the player with possession of the ball does not have two flags, due to any reason besides the flag being pulled off while he has possession of the ball, the play will be called dead when an opponent is close enough in the vicinity of the ball carrier to conceivably attempt a play. Note: this is regardless of whether the player lost the flag before the play, during the play before taking possession, or while already having possession.
IMPROPERLY POSITIONED FLAGS: If a ball-carrier's flags are improperly positioned (e.g. facing up, “slanted in”, not on the side of body, covered by shirt), the play will become dead when an opponent attempts a play. The above notwithstanding, if the improperly positioned flags were the result of an opponent's act (e.g. the opponent was attempting a pull and instead yanked the ballcarrier's belt sideways or pulled out his shirt), the play will not be dead.
BLOCKING/ROUGHING THE BALL-CARRIER OR PASSER: A defensive player may attempt to pull the ball-carrier’s flag(s) or to block a pass or lateral. Any contact that is made with the ball carrier intentionally or due to disregard of the ball carrier's or passer's body, is a 5 yard penalty for Illegal Contact. Any such contact, which in the judgment of the referee inevitably resulted in the displacement or tackling of the ball carrier, is a 10-yard Illegal Contact penalty, and at the discretion of the referee is also a Personal Foul.
DIVING: Intentionally leaving one's feet and extending one’s body forwards with intent to gain extra yardage is Diving. If a dive does not result in a collision with a defender, there is no penalty, but the play is dead and the ball is spotted at the point the dive was initiated. If a dive results in a collision with a defender it is also a Blocking by the Ball Carrier penalty (see above), and at the discretion of the referee is also a Personal Foul.
A fumble occurs when the player in control of the ball unintentionally loses hold of the ball.
A fumble is live while still in the air, and ruled dead when it hits the ground.
The defensive team may not attempt to intentionally cause a fumble - this is illegal procedure.
Should a fumble be caused by unintentional contact between a defensive player and the ball or ball-carrier, the ball is live while still in the air, but becomes immediately dead with no change of possession upon being touched by a defensive player before an offensive player takes possession.
The ball is spotted at the point it was ruled dead or the point where it was fumbled (i.e. where control was lost), whichever results in a new spot on the ensuing down that is further back for the fumbling team.
1. On a kick (including a punt), when the receiving team does not catch the kick, the ball will be ruled dead when the kicking team first touches the ball (whether or not it has touched the ground), or at the referee’s discretion to prevent injury. The ball will be spotted where it became dead - however, for the purpose of spotting the ball after the play, any touched ball which hits the ground and is not then controlled by the receiving team, will be treated as a fumble (i.e. the ball will not be spotted further forward than a touch by the receiving team).
Note: Possession officially changes on a kick when the receiving team physically takes control of the ball. Thus, a kick which has not been in the possession of the receiving team, may not become the possession of the kicking team, and is dead where first touched by the kicking team (whether or not touched by the receiving team, and whether or not it has touched the ground).
2. On a snap, when the snap is not caught, the ball will be ruled dead after it has hit the ground and the defensive team first touches the ball, or at the referees’ discretion to prevent injury. Note: A snap which has not yet touched the ground, (whether or not touched by the offensive team), may be intercepted in the air by the defensive team. Any lateral pass which has not yet touched the ground may be intercepted by the opposing team.
A TOUCHDOWN is worth 6 points.
A Touchdown is followed by a POINT AFTER TOUCHDOWN attempt even if there is no time left on the clock (but not if a team leads by 17 points or more, at or beyond the one-minute warning, which ends the game). The scoring team chooses to attempt the PAT from either the 5- or 10- yard line, for 1 or 2 points respectively.
Penalties are assessed on PAT attempts as on other downs, with a repeat of down from the new spot. Should the defense gain control of the ball on a PAT attempt and run it back to their endzone, they are awarded the same number of points the offense was attempting. Likewise, if the attempting team turns over the ball, and on the return commits a foul which is not offset, the returning team is awarded the points. In cases of offsetting penalties, the PAT is replayed from the previous spot, unless the defensive penalty occurred only after the turnover, in which case the PAT is no good.
After the PAT attempt, the team which surrendered the Touchdown begins its next drive on the 10-yard line.
A SAFETY is worth 2 points.
After a Safety, the team which scored the safety begins the next drive on the 25-yard line.
Penalties are assessed during or after the play involving the penalty, before the next snap, and not at any point thereafter. However, should a penalty with intent to deceive the referee (i.e. cheating) come to the referee’s attention beyond this point, Unsportsmanlike Conduct Personal Foul penalties may still be assessed (see below).
After a foul, penalty yards will be assessed as follows: If a foul (which is not declined) is committed before possession of the ball beyond the line of scrimmage – it is assessed from the line of scrimmage, and the down is repeated, unless otherwise noted. If all fouls (which are not declined) are committed after possession of the ball beyond the line of scrimmage (or after a turnover) – it is assessed from the spot of the first foul, and the down counts, unless otherwise noted. However, in the case of a defensive penalty, the offense may choose to have the penalty assessed from the line of scrimmage, with repeat of down.
Each penalty is assessed no more than half the distance to the goal line. Penalty yardage is assessed as part of the play (prior to determining whether a new first-down has been attained).
OFFSETTING PENALTIES: If fouls (which are not declined) are committed by both teams, the penalty yardage offsets and the down is replayed from the original line of scrimmage. Exception: Personal Fouls (See below).
The following is a list of fouls and their assessed penalties:
- Offsides/False Start: No play, 5 yards.
- Illegal Block: 5 yards.
- Pass Interference: 5 yards
- Delay of Game: 5 yards. Intentionally committing penalties in order to repeat or nullify downs and thereby reset the play clock is Delay of Game, and at the discretion of the referee results in a Personal Foul, stoppage of the Game Clock, and loss of down.
- Too Many Players on the Field: 5 yards.
- Intentional Grounding: 5 yards from spot of foul and loss of down. If the intentional grounding is committed from inside the end zone: Safety.
- Guarding the Flag/Blocking by the Ball Carrier: Play is dead immediately, but no foul/penalty unless flagrantly intentional (5-yard penalty) or intended to physically displace a defender (10-yard penalty) from the spot of the foul.
- Diving: Play is dead immediately, 0/5-yard penalty from the spot of the foul, as described above.
- Illegal Forward Pass: Down counts, and ball spotted at point of illegal forward pass. If inside the endzone: Safety. Note that an illegal forward pass does not immediately end the play.
- Advancing without a Forward Pass in the Red Zone: Down counts, and ball spotted at same line of scrimmage. Note that this does not immediately end the play.
- Offsides: 5 yards.
- Illegal Block: 5 yards
- Intentionally Pushing Ball Carrier Out of Bounds: 5 yards from point of foul, and automatic first down.
- Illegally Pulling Flag: 5 yards from where the play was ruled dead, and an automatic first down. Intentionally pulling a flag of a player who is not the ball-carrier is illegal procedure, and at the discretion of the referee also a Personal Foul.
- Pass Interference: 10 yards, and automatic first down. Flagrantly intentional pass interference is a personal foul.
- Too Many Players on the Field: 5 yards.
- Blocking/Roughing the ball-carrier or passer: 5- or 10-yard penalty as described in rules above.
- Holding the ball-carrier – 5 yards
PENALTIES ON KICKOFFS
On any penalty by the kicking team, including kick going out of bounds, the receiving team takes possession five yards before mid-field. (If declined, ball spotted where the play ended or the kick went out of bounds).
If there are offsetting penalties (which are not declined), receiving team takes possession at the ten yard line.
ILLEGAL PROCEDURE: 5 yards. For a palpably unfair act, the referees may enforce any penalty or decision as they consider equitable, including a score. NOTE: a "palpably unfair act" occurs only when the rules are violated in a manner wholly inconsistent with fair play. The classic example is if a player were headed for an unimpeded Touchdown, and a player from the opposing team entered the field from the bench and stopped him.
PERSONAL FOULS: 10 yards, automatic first down if against the defense, and ejection from the game at the discretion of the referee. A player committing two personal fouls in one game will be automatically ejected for the remainder of the game.
Any player ejected from a game is automatically suspended for the team’s next game, subject to appeal.
Unsportsmanlike Conduct is a Personal Foul. Should a violation with intent to deceive the referee (i.e. cheating) come to the referee’s attention beyond the snap subsequent to the violation, Personal Foul penalties for Unsportsmanlike Conduct may be assessed effective immediately.
Personal Fouls are considered part of the play, including acts committed in the referee's judgment as part of the "follow-through" of the play, (e.g. a violent late hit against a QB, even after the pass has fallen incomplete and the play has technically ended). Reactions to the outcome of a play itself are not "follow through".
Personal Fouls are assessed on the ensuing drive if committed at any point after a play resulting in a score, up to the ensuing drive. On a play with a Personal Foul, penalty yardage is assessed only for the Personal Foul. Personal Fouls offset with all other Personal Fouls on the play, and eliminate any penalty yardage which would otherwise be assessed for other fouls. Note: this does not mean that other fouls are entirely ignored. For instance, if a Personal Foul occurs, and Protecting the Flag occurs later in the play, Protecting the Flag foul would still be called and it would end the play - however, no additional penalty yardage would be assessed for the Protecting the Flag penalty. The Personal Foul penalty yardage would be assessed from the spot. Personal Fouls which are not part of a play offset with all other Personal Fouls that are, in the judgment of the referee, part of the same distinct event.
BEHAVIOR AND DISCIPLINE: The AFI will enforce rules to ensure appropriate behavior. Unsportsmanlike Conduct, including AFI-related actions transpiring off the field, will subject the offender to possible expulsion from the game, and will subject the offending player and/or his team to disciplinary action, including but not limited to fine, suspension, expulsion, and forfeit of past or future games, as deemed appropriate by AFI officials.
The following minimum disciplinary penalties will be automatically enforced, except at the discretion of the referee:
Abusive or offensive language or behavior toward players, fans or officials: Personal Foul.
Dangerous or threatening conduct, including fighting: ejection from the game upon first offense, and suspension for the team's next game.
Entering the field during a fight, or against the instructions of a referee or league official, whether before, during, or after the game: ejection from the game upon first offense, and suspension for the team's next game.
Illegal procedure with intent to deceive: ejection from the game upon first offense, and suspension for the team's next game.
If, in the judgment of the referee, any illegal procedure was attempted or committed, with intent to deceive the referee (i.e. the team is attempting to cheat), an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty will be assessed against any and every individual player judged to have thus attempted to deceive the referee, by omission or commission. This penalty will be enforced when it comes to the attention of the referee (i.e. regardless of when it transpired). Suspensions are subject to appeal, submitted in writing to the league coordinator. Appeals are considered at the discretion of the league, and an appeal does not automatically result in delay in enforcement. The above penalties will apply regardless of the point in the season when they must be enforced, and regardless of the team's opponent in their upcoming game, and they do not preclude or affect any legal actions. For the purposes of this rule, a scheduled double-header is considered one "game".
In regular season games, a game may end in a tie. In games beyond the regular season, a game that is tied at the end of regulation is resolved in overtime. The winner of an overtime coin-toss will decide either which team will make the first attempt, or on which side of the field all attempts will take place. Teams will take turns making attempts. The first team to lead, when both teams have had an equal number of attempts, is the winner.
In Upper-playoff games, the first two attempts of each team will be on first-and-goal from the opponent's 20-yard line, and penalties will be assessed on such attempts as during regulation time.
Teams will make all subsequent attempts to score on one play from their opponent's 10-yard line. Penalties will be assessed on such attempts as during regulation time, with the following exception: defensive penalties which would normally result in an automatic first down will result in a repeat of down from the new spot.
On all overtime plays, a turnover or safety will immediately end the drive, with no points recorded. After a score in overtime there is no extra-point attempt. The play clock will function as usual during overtime. There will be no game clock. Neither team will have any time outs, however a 30-second official time out will be called at the end of every attempt.
The final standings in each division are in order of most wins.
Teams with the same number of wins are seeded in order of most ties (i.e. fewest losses).
Teams that are still tied in the standings are seeded according to the following steps:
- Head-to-head record, but only if any team or group of teams have defeated, or been defeated by, all other tied teams.
- Wins against the highest seeded team in the division, but only if all tied teams have faced this team an equal amount of times.
- Wins against second-highest seeded team in division, etc.
- Random method of choosing.
If at any point in the tie-breaker process a team or several teams are separated from all others by virtue of a tie-breaking step, return the remaining group(s) of tied teams to step 1 in the process.
Playoffs/post-season format: Details on the post-season format will be posted separately.
DECISIONS, APPEALS AND PROTESTS: The Line Referee is the final arbiter of all decisions, with the exception of disciplinary matters, and makes all officially binding announcements.
Any appeal to the referee regarding matters besides logistical, scorekeeping and administrative decisions must be made before the next snap after the play being appealed. Only the team captain may make such an appeal.
As noted above, penalties are assessed during or after the play involving the penalty, before the next snap, and may not be assessed at any point thereafter, with the exception of Unsportsmanlike Conduct.
Logistical, scorekeeping and administrative decisions (e.g. game time remaining, score) may be appealed, so long as the subject of appeal would not reasonably have affected any of the ensuing action or decisions. (E.g. a 10-second timekeeping error would not reasonably affect the ensuing action while 20 minutes still remain in the game.) For the purposes of this rule, an appeal of the announced down may be made until the next snap; an appeal of the announced score may be made, before the game’s one-minute warning, until the snap of the PAT attempt following the next TD; an appeal of the announced score may be made, at or beyond the game’s one-minute warning, until the next snap. Any deliberation of the decision prior to resuming play, and any stop of the game clock or play clock, is undertaken solely at the discretion of the referee, and appeals do not preclude the possibility of incurring relevant penalties, including Delay of Game.