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Official Rules of A7FL Football

COPYRIGHT 2020 A7FL INC. All Rights Reserved. A7FL® and American 7s Football® are trademarks of the A7FL INC.

Table of Contents

Throw-Offs (back to top)

To start each half and after every score, the defending team will throw the ball off from their own 35 yard line. The throwing team will have 3 players and the receiving team 1 player.  The player throwing the ball can get a running start but can not pass the 35 yard line.  The 2 gunners must be set on the 35 yard line and can not leave util the ball is thrown.  The ball must travel a minimum of 40 yards (to the 25 yard line) and stay inbounds.  If the ball passes the back of the end zone on the fly it will be a touchback and spotted on the receiving team’s 20 yard line.  If the ball lands in the end zone and has NOT been touched by the returner and has traveled the minimum distance the returner may down the ball in the end zone or choose to return it but it is a live ball.

  • Penalties and Scenarios on Throw-Offs.
    The penalty for any of the below infractions will result in the returner lining up on his own 25 yard line with the ball in his hand instead of awaiting a throw-off.  The throwing team will line back up on their own 35 yard line.  Once both teams are ready the official will blow the whistle to start the 3 on 1 play.  We will refer to this as a “Run Back.” Substitutions are not permitted during throw-off infractions.
  • Penalties that result in an Run Back:
    – Ball was thrown out of bounds
    – Offsides on the throwing team
    – Ball did not reach the 25 yard line on the fly
    – Play clock violation on the throwing team will result in a Run Back.
    – Play clock violation on the receiving team will result in a 10 yard penalty that will be assessed on the next possession.
  • Fair Catch Rules
    A returner may opt for a fair catch on all throw-offs by clearly waiving his hand side to side above his head.  Once the signal is acknowledged by the official the play will be blown dead so the returner can attempt the catch.  If the player drops the fair catch he will still maintain possession but the offense will be penalized 10 yards.

On Punts, there is no minimum distance needed, the ball can travel out of bounds and returners can opt for a fair catch or to not field the punt at all.

Blocking Rules (back to top)

  • No holding at all, not even inside the jersey. The Penalty for holding will be 10 yards from the original line of scrimmage and the offense will repeat the down.
  • Clipping (blocking behind the back) will result in a 15 yard penalty from the original line of scrimmage. Blocking in the back is only permitted inside the tackle box behind the line of scrimmage while a defender is being pass blocked.
  • No chop or cut blocking (blocking below the waist) 15 yard penalty from the original line of scrimmage.
  • No intentional hands to the face.  Penalty will be 15 yards from the original line of scrimmage.
  • Do not blind side a defender that has no chance in making the play. If you blind side someone that is 10 yards away from the play you will receive a 15 yard penalty. It is also a judgment call by the referee to eject a player for this penalty depending on it severity.

Line of Scrimmage (back to top)

  • The line of scrimmage is set by the referee before the start of each play with a flat cone. The cone will represent the line of scrimmage and no body part from either team can be over any part of the cone.  If either an offensive or defensive player is lined up offsides when the ball is hiked it will be a 5 yard penalty.  The 2 offensive linemen must be on the line of scrimmage with a split no wider than 1 yard.

Offsides (back to top)

  • The referee will set the line of scrimmage before each play with a flat cone.  If the ball is hiked and you are lined up offsides, a 5 yard penalty will be assessed. The play will be a free play for the offense unless the defender has a clear path to the QB because of his offsides, then it will be blown dead.
  • If any offensive player other then the quarterback moves early the play will be blown dead and the ref will call for a “reset”.  The play clock will continue to wind when a reset is called.  If a defensive player jumps early, the whistle will blow, the play clock will pause, and we will instantly reset.  A ref can give a warning for defensive and offensive offsides and opt to throw a flag on each infraction after the warning.  The idea is to keep the game moving, prevent long discussions and explanations about offsides, and prevent the offense from having to re-huddle.

Player/Team Conduct Rules & Equipment (back to top)

  • All teams must use the official A7FL football.
  • No spectators are permitted on the sideline.  Teams can only have rostered players (in uniform) and up to 5 staff members (18 or over) on their sideline.  Teams must keep their sidelines clear of garbage and personal belongings such as chairs, bags and other items.  If your sideline is in violation at any point in the game the referee will flag your team 15 years for unsportsmanlike conduct.  Multiple infractions could result in a forfeit.
  • No hard pads are permitted in the A7FL.  Knee, thigh, and rib pads are permitted but can not have any hard plastic in them, they must be soft.  Compression shirts with the thin foam inserts are also permitted.  Thick “shock pad” type shoulder pads are not permitted.
  • The only padded head gear that is permitted are the Skull Caps and Bands supplied by 2nd Skull.  Rugby caps and thick head protection are not permitted.  Baseball caps and hoodies are no permitted.  If your choice of head gear is loud or offensive the official has the right to ask you to remove your head gear.
  • A punch will land you a season suspension for an entire year, even if you miss. Depending on your teams actions during this type of infraction the league can suspend or fine your entire team.  If that same team has another member throw a punch again that season they will be removed from the schedule with no refund. We have zero tolerance for fighting.
  • 3 strikes you’re out. This applies to anyone cutting up, cursing a ref, threatening to fight, a dirty hit, or ejection. After you get a warning you will get a 2 game suspension to be served immediately following the game you just played.

Team and Sideline Conduct

You can yell but cursing is prohibited. Referees will call 15 yard penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct at their own discretion for cursing, threats, racist comments, or belligerence.

Offensive or aggressive trash talking or fighting will result in the suspension of your team or you. We will not tolerate any pushing or shoving after the play is over or any vulgar trash talk.

Pass Rushing Rules (back to top)

  • No late hits on the QB or any ball carrier.
  • If you have a blind side shot on the QB you must hit him high. Do not lower your shoulder into the QBs back or legs if he can’t see you.
  • You may rush as many guys as you like and blitz whenever you want.
  • The flat cone place by the ref will represent the line of scrimmage.

Keeping Score (back to top)

Touchdowns will be worth 6 points. After a team scores they will need to complete either a 1 point conversion or a 2 point conversion. We do not kick this isn’t soccer.

A score from the 5 yard line is worth 1 point.
A score from the 10 yard line is worth 2 points.
Once the offense has selected their option it can not change no matter the infraction.  For example, if there is a defensive penalty after the offense has selected to go for 2 it will still be a 2 point try after the penalty is assessed.
* A turnover during the conversions can NOT be returned.
* Conversions are untimed, only the play clock will run.

Safeties (player is tackled behind their own goal line) are worth 2 points (on 100 yard field only).  The defense will be awarded 2 points and the offense will have to throw off from their own 25 yard line on the next play.

Mercy Rule
If a team is leading by 7 Touchdowns (42 points) at the start of the 4th quarter the game will be ended.

Overtime Rules:
In order to win you need to get a stop and a score. An interception or fumble returned for a touchdown ends the game. Each team will have 1 time out with a 30 second play clock. The ball will be spotted at the 25 yard line with the ability to get 2 first downs (sticks are up).

Referees (back to top)

A referee must have the following at all times:

  • A penalty flag
  • Whistle
  • Stop Watch
  • Knowledge of the A7FL rules and access to printed or digital rule book.
  • Proper referee attire.

Tackling Rules (back to top)

  • Tackles must be made by attempting to wrap up. You are not permitted to throw a shoulder or elbow to try and knock someone down you must attempt to wrap up!  The only time it is acceptable to not wrap is when forcing a player out of bounds.
  • No head hunting or close lining. Do not wrap around a players neck or head, you could be suspended for 1 quarter and a 15 yard penalty will be enforced.
  • No pile-ons. If the player is down and you jump on the pile you will be ejected.
  • If a players forward progress is stopped the play will be whistled dead by the ref.
  • Tackling below the knees is only permitted if you are the first available tackler and you attempt to wrap up.  If you are the second tackler you must hit above the waist and you must attempt to wrap up.
  • No leg whipping or tripping.
  • To make a safe tackle keep your eyes to the sky get your butt low, hit and wrap up. Guys tackling with their heads down or throwing their body at ball carriers legs with no attempt to wrap up will be flagged 15 yards.
  • Play the whistle and play smart we’re all for good hits but PLAY SMART!

How Time is kept (back to top)

  • A 30 second play clock will start winding once the official has spotted the ball, blown the whistle and signaled for the clock to wind.  A play clock will wind in regular game play, conversions, and throw-offs.
  • 4 quarters each 15 minutes long.
  • There is a 2 minute warning at the end of the 2nd and fourth quarter.
  • Incomplete pass or if a player runs out of bounds (under 2 minutes at the end of the 2nd and 4th quarter) stops the clock
  • Timeout (3 per half) 3 challenges per half.  CHALLENGES ARE PERMITTED UNDER 2 MINUTES.
  • During regulation the clock will stop during penalties or change of possession. Once the ball is spotted by the official the game and play clock will start.

QB Cadence and Position (back to top)

  • The QB can start from the Shotgun or behind the lineman. He must be in between the 2 down linemen or if there are 3 down linemen he can be on the center.  The QB can not be deeper then 5 yards from the line of scrimmage when in the shotgun.  If the QB moves early (rolls before cadence) it’s a 5 yard penalty. The QB must be set just like the O Line and receivers. All QB candences must consist of 3 sounds and the offense can move on any of the 3 sounds. For example if your cadence is Down, Set, Go you can go on either Down, Set, or go but there is no going on 2 or trying to draw the defense offsides.  If the QB needs to audible and has already started his cadence he must stand up and point both arms to each sideline while yelling “CHECK”.  Once the audible is complete the QB must get set again and restart his entire cadence.

Wide Receivers and Defensive Backs (back to top)

  • Any eligible receiver lining up near an offensive linemen on the line of scrimmage must raise their hand and declare themselves a Tight End.  There are no formation rules for receivers and backs, only the QB and 2 down linemen (see line of scrimmage rules) have to be in a set position.
  • Defensive holding (DB holding receiver) 5 yards automatic first down (not a spot foul)
  • No contact after 5 yards – (when player doesn’t have the ball) 5 yards automatic first down
  • Contact on a receiver during a pass that is ruled catchable, is a spot found and called pass interference.
  • DBs can not lead with their head on open field tackles.
  • DBs can not launch themselves into a defenseless receiver without attempting to wrap up and make a good form tackle.
  • You can not lead with an elbow to make a tackle. You must attempt to wrap up on the secondary.
  • DBs may blitz but must obey the Pass Rushing Rules listed above.
  • 1 foot in for in bounds and TDs. If a player would have landed in bounds but is pushed out he is still in.

Field Size (back to top)

  • 120 full length field x 40 yard width field or sideline to far hash mark.


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