Rules and Guidelines

Rules and Guidelines for Participation on Tradition Sports Online


Rules and Guidelines


TSO is the largest online community dedicated to sports video game leagues based around some of the industry’s hottest titles. Madden NFL Football, NCAA Football, FIFA Soccer, NBA 2K Basketball, Tiger Woods Golf… we support them all. At Tradition Sports Online we add that layer of connectivity and accountability that online leagues need in order to thrive. Our goal is to put the best tools into the best hands, our members, and let them build their communities, rivalries and ultimately their own online coaching experience.
We want to create an environment of friends first who take the game back to the way it is suppose to be played, like you are with a buddy battling it out. The only way to do that is to take an active role in your community. You will be a lot less tempted to abuse aspects of gameplay if you feel like you might be disrespecting someone you have gotten to know. Over the years, this is something we have known to be true.
***** Keep in mind that the following are general rules for our leagues. Not every league follows these EXACT rules. All rules for the different leagues are located in their stickied, individual description threads in their respective forums.
F.1.0 Conduct: We ask that you act like the mature adult you are on the forums. Taking part in a debate is acceptable and encouraged, but any type of slander or personal attacks will not be tolerated.
F.1.A Posting adult explicit content or NSFW material is not allowed, period. If you think it's borderline, it is probably not appropriate for this websites.
F.1.B Putting down a team or college institution, beyond general banter, is not allowed . We are a community full of alumni and hardcore fans. We encourage camaraderie, but please be respectful of others.
F.1.C Public flaming of another member will not be tolerated. Take it to PMs if you need to. Treat other players, both gameplay and attitude, how you would want to be treated. This is a friends first league. If your taking these game "seriously" you need to re-evaluate your priorities. We are here to have fun and play a video game, it's a mythical national championship not a real one. Respect your opponent and have fun with it.
F.2.0 Banning: Any misconduct on the forums or while participating in a league is punishable. Banning is completely and solely at the discretion of the management team. In general, your first offense will land you a warning, the second will give you a couple days off to think about it and the third will be your last here at TF.

F.3.0 Sportsmanship: We are all grown adults here. There will be a zero tolerance policy for any public slander on the boards. If you have a problem, take it up via PM and settle it. The management team here are not your parents. Quitting games is frowned upon, no matter how badly you are getting beat or disagree with what has transpired. Remember that you are just playing a game and if you are going to be taking it too serious, you need to reevaluate your priorities.
F.3.A Absolutely under no circumstances are you to quit or otherwise purposefully disconnect from a User vs User game (League game, ranked game, tournament game, etc). This is the epitome of poor sportsmanship and is punishable by removing you from said league/tournament or from this site altogether. This is a serious offense and against this community's mature mentality towards online sim-style gaming.
F.3.B If in the unlikely event you have a problem with someone's gameplay, DO NOT QUIT. Finish the game, save some highlight videos and present it to your commissioner. The commissioner and you can present it to the management team if a problem still exists or a resolution can't be agreed upon. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to give yourself some time to digest what just happened. Sometimes games can be frustrating, but that does not mean that what your opponent is doing is necessarily cheese. You should always give your opponent the benefit of the doubt.
F.3.C If you are here because you like to win, just leave now. Submitting to unsportsmanlike activities will not be tolerated. Finish the game, tell your opponent good game and walk away. Being a sore loser or gloating about a win is not appropriate behavior here.

F.4.0 Spamming: We ask that you do not post with intentions to sell or advertise anything. We also politely ask that you do not post openings or opportunities for leagues from outside websites. Multiple irrelevant posts is also considered spam. Failure to comply with these rules will result in immediate termination of your account.



G.1.0 Pre-Game Depth Chart Changes: Depth chart changes are not permitted before the opening kickoff. Each owner is responsible for setting their depth charts weekly in the franchise. You are allowed to make a depth move during the game if:

     - a player is struggling.

     - you are trying to prevent an injury.

     - the game is a blow out.

Online league games consume enough of people's time and this rule is simply an effort to reduce the time in-game for both users. 

G.2.0 Controlling Players: You cannot pick plays and let the computer run them. Nor can you utilize the "Ask Corso/Madden" feature. You must control your QB throws and ballcarrier movement at all times.


G.3.0 Audibles: When calling an audible, you must allow the defense to adjust and be set for at least one second before snapping the ball.


G.4.0 Mixing up the Playcalling: Varying your playcalling on both offense and defense is a requirement of sim play. On offense, be sure to show your opponent different formations and different plays out of each. Of course, exceptions on offense come from your playbook. If you are using a flexbone playbooks, for example, the formations that are available are not very different. However, even in those playbooks, different looks are available and should be utilized. It is understandable (and acceptable) for a team that is down by a lot to become one dimensional, needing to throw the ball. By the same token, a team that is up by a lot is permitted to become one dimensional running the ball to keep the clock running. As long as the game is close, we expect all box scores to reflect a concerted effort at reasonable play calling.


On defense, be sure to mix up coverages, bltizes, and the like. Showing blitz should be used sparingly, but can be an option to mix it up. Sitting in Cover 3 or DE Contain all game, for example, is prohibited. In addition to making games more sim, mixing up your playcalling makes you a more lethal weapon as a coach. The more versatile you are on either side of the ball, the more you will be able to play mind games and set up plays against your opponent. The only exception to this goes along with offenses becoming one dimensional. If your opponent is forced to become one dimensional due to the score, you will be permitted to do so on defense.


When making adjustments on the field pre-snap, be sure that you are not making the exact same adjustments on every play. Constant press coverage, constant line stunts, shifting the DL and linebackers in the same manner every play and the like falls under the category of not mixing up play calling, and is frowned upon.




O.1.0 - Going on 4th Down: We encourage straight play in this league, however, we do not want to limit players to the point where they cannot play aggressively. With that in mind, there will be a simple rule on 4th downs:
Whenever you are past the 50 yard line with 1 yard or less to go, you are permitted to for it on 4th down.
If you are behind by two touchdowns or more in the second half, you can go for it whenever you like.
If you are the losing team in the 4th quarter, you can go for it whenever you like.
O.1.A - There are exceptions to these 4th down rules that will be handled on a league-by-league basis. Unless it is otherwise stated, these rules are law.


O.2.0 - Motioning: Motioning by backs and receivers is allowed. If the defense audibles before your motion is complete you must wait for the defense to get reset before snapping the ball, when possible. Otherwise, you are free to snap the ball when the Motion man reaches their spot on the field and the motion is complete.  If you are motioning a receiver/TE to block, the player must clear the tackle box before the snap can be made.


O.3.0 - Hurry Up Offense: (Disclaimer: Please understand the difference between an "up-tempo/no-huddle" and the "hurry up" offense)All teams are allowed to run the "hurry up" offense in both two minute drill situations. Any team losing in the 4th quarter is permitted to hurry up as often as they like. When using the hurry up offense, please allow your opponent to set their defense before snapping the ball. Purposely trying to cause offsides penalties or taking advantage of defensive AI is not allowed.  Conversely, running an "up-tempo/no-huddle" style offense is perfectly acceptable within the parameters of the in-game features.


O.4.0 - Playclock: We're all here to have fun. Keep in mind we play anywhere from 6-8 minute quarters (or larger with accelerated clock features); not 15 like in real life. So please choose your plays as quickly as possible on offense and make every effort to do so before the play clock gets close to running out. We do realize, however, that certain situations in the game may require some extra time when choosing a play. You may run the game clock with under 3 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Or if your trying to prevent another possession before the half.


O.5.0 - Play Action: Keep in mind it is unrealistic to call a PA Pass when it is 3rd down and more than 10. You may call a designed PA play and audible your RB to block or go into a pattern to stop the Playaction. Playaction should not be "over utilized" when you have not established the running game. Plain drop backs or shotgun formations should be the main passing formation for throwing the ball. Playaction is used to catch a defense off guard when you've been successful and pounding the rock during the drive or game. Be aware of the intention of PA and use it as such.


O.6.0- QB Scrambling: Unrealistic QB scrambling/sprinting is frowned upon on pass plays, including screens. Constantly dancing from sideline to sideline, running straight backwards or well behind the line of scrimmage without being under pressure is not realistic. This does not include option plays, designed QB runs or broken/pressured play situations.


O.7.0- QB Dropback: Purposefully dropping too far back in the pocket during regular passing plays is not allowed. Defensive AI doesn't take into account how far back in the pocket the QB is, allowing for wide open out routes and passes into the flats. This includes hitting a WR on said routes on screen plays.


O.8.0 -Running Up the Score: Good sportsmanship is a major part of TSO, so running up the score on user opponents will not be tolerated. This includes both User and CPU games. Please use good judgment when leading by a large margin. There isn't a reason to see multiple 70-80 point scoring games.


O.8.A - There are things you should do when on the positive end of a blow out. Removing your starters, punting, running the ball and chewing the clock should be staples of your gameplan. Starters should not be scoring when up by four scores. Late scoring will also not be tolerated. When up big, there should not be a reason to score in the closing minutes of the game.


O.9.0 -Option Piches: Make sure that you time your pitches correctly when running the option. There are instances in the game where the QB can make awkward, unrealistic and sometimes even illegal pitches that should be avoided. If you happen to execute a questionable pitch, the right thing to do is to try and negate any yards you have gained. Excessive amounts of questionable pitches is an acceptable complaint and will be reviewed by the commissioner.


O.10.0 - Spreading the Ball Around: WR's should be the main target for passing plays. HB's should be checkdown receivers and not primary targets. HB receptions should not get out of hand or be a primary aspect of an offensive gameplan. Your 3rd, 4th, and 5th WR should not be a primary target. Majority of passes should be thrown to your two outside WRs with few exceptions.


O.11.0 - Two QB Offenses: If you have one passing QB and one running QB, you should limit the rotation of them. Yes, it has happens "some" in real life, but that doesn't mean you can switch back and forth every play. Using two QBs in an offense should be done responsibly. Oklahoma's Bell-dozer package (Landry Jones, Blake Bell) and Texas' offense transition (Case McCoy, David Ash) are good examples.


O.12.0 - Excessive offensive audibles (changing formations): Calling audibles at the line of scrimmage is commonplace in every level of football. However, these audibles are almost always to plays in the same formation, or to flip the side of the play. Avoid calling audibles out of personnel groupings that conflict with the formation you are moving to. For example, changing from a 5 WR set to ace-big is not allowed. Calling an audible to change the formation circumvents personnel rules (I.E. WR at TE, WR at FB, HB at FB), and is not allowed. Take the time to setup your audibles using the custom playbook feature.




D.1.0 - Blitzing: While blitzing is certainly a part of the game, please be realistic when doing so, and do not use it excessively. Any attempt to confuse the AI when blitzing is prohibited (ie. spreading your defensive line then shifting your LB's to create AI holes). This also falls under the rules for mixing up playcalling.


D.2.0 - Defensive Playcalling: Please call realistic defensive plays for the proper situation. Use a 4 or 5 DL set to stop the run and a 3 or 4 DL set to play the pass. There are formations in these games that allow for unrealistic results. Using the 3-3-5 or 1-5-5 to stop the run, however effective it may be, will not be tolerated. There are OL AI problems with these formations that make them super-effective against heavy run sets.


D.3.0 - Defensive Subs: OLB are not suppose to play DE, Safeties are not suppose to play LB, etc in any package or formation, even if it's a game based package. It is just too much of an AI headache. Keep players in their original positions at all times.




ST.1.0 - Fake Punts and FGs: Any fake punt or field goal must follow the same rule used when going for it on fourth down. If you are allowed to go for it on 4th down in that situation, you can also fake the punt or field goal. Faking a FG or punt is part of the game and provides "the element of surprise," but please be realistic. 


ST.2.0 - Onside Kicks: Onside kicks are permitted at any time by the losing team in the 4th quarter.  Onside kicks may be used by any team with tasteful descretion.  No one should be exceeding the season record for onside kicks attempted in any league.  Commissioners may choose to limit this based on effectiveness and risk/reward imbalances. 




WG.1.0 - Pausing: If it's ever necessary to pause the game, please provide a quick explanation to your opponent if your not utilizing your headset at that time. Pausing the game to show poor sportsmanship will not be tolerated. Please do not start a game if you know something will interfere with your playing time.  Any messages you send to a league member using an off-site method can and will be considered when leveraging discipline here.  You are expected to treat everyone with respect that is a member here at TSO.


WG.2.0- Disconnects: Games will disconnect from time to time for various reasons (and usually have nothing to do with either user's setup). It will be up to the players involved to figure out a resolution; with the choices being to either replay the game from the beginning or simulate for an obvious winner. If you cannot reach a resolution, contact the commish. TF expects all owners to have a reliable, high-speed ISP. If you are having any type of Internet trouble, please do not start the game until the problem is resolved.


WG.3.0- Quitting a Game: Please do not start a game if there's a chance you will not be able to finish it. In the case of an emergency situation where you are forced to leave the game, an agreement should be made between both players as to whether the game will be replayed from the start or simulated in the opposing teams favor.  Commissioners have the final ruling when it comes to replaying games.


WG.4.0 - Scheduling: Leagues here operate on advances that typically have pre-defined advances (unless otherwise stated), missing games will be necessary at times. We are a community full of people who have lives outside of TSO leagues. We simply asks that you make every effort to schedule and play your own games by utilizing the message boards. ALL GAMES MUST BE SCHEDULED ON THE FORUMS. If a problem arises with your game and it is not scheduled between both parties on the forums, it will result in a sim. In the unfortunate event that you are unable to schedule a game, we ask that you do the following:

     - Notify your opponent via post on the forums or PM as early in the week as possible.

     - Notify the commissioner that your opponent will need to play the CPU or that your CPU game will need to be simmed.

Failure to follow these guidelines will result in a sim loss to your team.


WG.5.0 - Restarts: There will be NO restarts for user vs. cpu games. In the unlikely event that you experience a problem/emergency during your game, notify your commissioner immediately. Failure to instantly notify your commissioner will result in a sim. If restarts become a trend you will be dismissed from the league.


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