Gameplay Rules – General Rule #1 - Don't be a douche! Don't whine, don't quit, don't be an ass when you win, and don't be a baby when you lose. Rule #2 - Show respect! Don't complain about someone if you haven't talked to them first, don't fill the forums with your flame-war, keep it in a PM. If a guy brings a concern to you, consult rule #1 and listen to him and self examine, plus try and make any changes you need to be a true sim player, none of us are perfect. Use of headsets – I for one am almost never on the headset. My wife and kids are trying to get some sleep when I'm playing and if I am talking on the headset and wake up my wife she is unhappy. Unhappy wife=unhappy life. That being said, I encourage guys to get on the mic whenever possible, it builds camaraderie and makes addressing in game issues much easier. Resolution of Issues – I would hope that everyone is mature enough to resolve any gameplay issues between each other during the game, but if that isn’t possible, all gameplay issues should be brought up to me via PM. DO NOT go after your opponent in the forum, contact me via PM. Please include specifics about what the problem is, as well as video’s/highlights if possible. Arguing on the board about gameplay issues won’t be allowed. Refer to rules 1 & 2! Sportsmanship – Running up the score in CPU games or on your opponent in user vs. user games will not be tolerated, nor will general douchebaggery on the forums towards the other participants in the dynasty. If you are up 4 TD’s in the 2nd half of a game, take your foot off the gas a bit and run some clock. Look, I’m an old man, and really don’t have the time or patience for drama, so let’s not have any issues. Playbooks – Everyone will set their offensive and defensive playbooks by their 1st user vs. user matchup. Once chosen, they can’t be changed until the following season. Your playbooks will be posted in the forum. Custom Playbooks – I love this feature for offenses but am wary of cheeseburglers. All custom playbooks will be posted in the forum with a list of all the formations you have access to as well as a brief summary of your strategy. Offensive playbooks should follow a relatively specific strategy/gameplan. In other words, 5 wide + wildcat + maryland I + wishbone = straight cheese. It is possible that when you post your playbook I'll tell you that you can't have a certain combination. If you have a football reason hit me with it, in the end though, if I say it's out refer to rule #1. Defensive CPBs will not be allowed. The available base defenses each have strengths and weaknesses, custom defensive playbooks don't. Play Calling – Each person should be mixing up their offensive and defensive formations and plays throughout the game. This doesn't mean if you prefer man defense or want to structure your offense around the power-O running plays, you can’t do so. Just don’t run man cover 2 zone every play, and don’t run the same power-O play from the same formation 3-4 times in a row. Explore the playbook you've chosen and just be a bit diverse. It should be noted that if you run the same base defense almost all the time I don't want to hear complaints when your opponent runs the same routes to beat it all game. If you don't mix up your defense you cant expect them to mix up their offense. Scores & Statistics vs. the CPU – There will be a hard scoring cap of 70 points in games vs. the CPU, going above this amount will result in your game result being tossed out and a sim loss being posted to your record. The one exception to this is if you are involved in a shootout vs. the CPU you may exceed 70 points only if the final score is no more than a 21 point margin. Breaking this rule will result in a sim-loss for that week for your team. Additionally, running up statistics in CPU games won’t be tolerated. If you are winning by 28+ points in the 2nd half of a game, your starters should be on the bench. Starters scoring points in the 2nd half of a blowout will be benched for 1 or more future games, depending on the severity of the infraction. Game Plan Adjustments – Game play features such as aggressive/conservative settings and run/pass commit will be allowed, so long as they are used in game situations that would be realistic. In other words, leaving aggressive ‘jump the snap’ on all game is not OK, but turning it on for your opponents 2 minute drill when you know they are passing on every play would be allowed. The only exception is the conservative features on offense, which may be used at any time at the discretion of the coach. Gameplay Rules – Offense Going on 4th down – Coaches should kick on 4th down in accordance with realistic gameplay; however I love aggressive coaches and there are plenty of times where it makes sense to roll the dice: If you are behind by 18 or more points in the 3rd quarter or 9 points or more in the 4th quarter, going for it on 4th down is allowed at any time. If you are losing with less than 3 minutes to play in the game, going for it on 4th down is allowed at any time - unless you are in FG range and a FG would tie or give you the lead. If you have 4th and 1 or less past 50 yard line, going for it on 4th down is allowed at any point in the game - unless you are up by 17 or more, then kick it (see rule #1). If you have a kicker with low kick power or accuracy, or if it is a very windy game, you may go for it on 4th down from the 40 yard line in at any point in the game. Issues such as this should be communicated to your opponents in advance of the game so that they are aware. Discuss any 4th down attempts you feel are questionable with your opponent via chat during the game to avoid disagreements. If he says no, kick it and if you are being asked, ask yourself if you would want to go for it, don't say no because you don't want to lose, here again, see rule #1. Motion – Motioning backs and receivers is allowed, however if your opponent calls an audible during the motion you should wait a reasonable amount of time (a second or two) to allow the defense to reset prior to snapping the ball. Auto-motion plays are always allowed. You may snap mid motion if the man in motion is a FB or TE or if the playclock is about to expire. You may snap mid motion with a HB or WR only if they have cleared the tackle box and are outside of where the TE would normally lined up. You cannot snap the ball mid motion with a WR behind the offensive line unless it is an auto motion play (like jet sweep, motion option, etc). No-Huddle Offenses – These will be allowed if used in a sim fashion. This means that after plays that lose yards, the team should huddle. Additionally, the team should huddle after any incomplete passes. The offense must also allow the defense adequate time to call a play prior to snapping the next play (no forced offsides). You may go no huddle after going out of bounds, going out doesn't stop the clock in college except during the last 2 minutes. Play Clocks – Players should attempt to select and call their plays in a reasonable amount of time. Players should not be ‘chewing clock’ or intentionally running down the play clock except in late game situations (last 2-3 minutes of each half). If a game is a blowout and both parties agree, the ‘chew clock’ feature may be implemented earlier in the game. Play Action Passes – These plays should not be used in 3rd and long situations (6+ yards). QB Dropbacks –Purposefully dropping too far back in the pocket to avoid pressure 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. A normal QB dropback would be considered to be no more than 7-10 yards at most from the initial line of scrimmage, in the case of an under center passing play. From the shotgun, dropbacks should be limited to 2-3 additional yards from the line of scrimmage, since the concept of the shotgun is that it is intended to remove the need for the QB to dropback on shorter routes and at most would only require 1-2 steps back for deeper routes to develop. 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. Examples of unrealistic QB scrambling include: Sprinting backwards and/or to the sidelines off the play action fake. Rolling out with the QB is allowed, however this should be done with minimal sprinting. Sprinting backwards during a normal dropback is prohibited. Sprinting to the sidelines on a normal pass play that is not designed to be a rollout pass should only occur if there is pressure from the defense or you have waited 2-3 seconds in the pocket and no receivers are open. On a designed rollout pass, a normal rollout should be performed using the non-sprint QB running or a short sprint. If a QB sprints from the pocket, you should generally run the ball, not sprint out to throw the ball. The key here is intent. Occasssionally a QB can escape pressure to keep a play alive and then throw it, but this can't be a consistent strategy for you, it needs to be "accidental" so to speak. Calling a normal pass play and then immediately running with the QB should be very rare. Using a 1-2 read system with an athletic quarterback and then running is considered sim as long as it is done within reason (i.e., not every single play). Quarterbacks that consistently average over 15 carries per game should be getting at least half of those carries via the option. Let me stress again that a QB will take off early in a play on occasion, this is fine if it happens maybe once or twice in a game, like all things, refer to rules 1 & 2. Two QB Offenses – If you have one passing QB and one running QB, you should limit the rotation of them. The game does show the defense the number of the QB in the playcall screen, so some rotation will be allowed. The right way to do this is to change QBs at change of possession, short yardage, or redzone situations. Having a different QB on 1st and 10 and 2nd and 7 is cheese. If you intent to run a 2 QB system you must post the intent with your playbook as well as the player # and tendency so that everyone knows what to expect. Wildcat Personnel Groupings – This should operate similar to the QB rotation. For playbooks that are designed to use a wildcat personnel grouping, offensive playcalling should realistically reflect this change. If the wildcat package does not include a QB, the wildcat personnel should stay on the field for a grouping of at least 3 plays and not switched in and out for individual plays here and there. If the QB remains on the field for the wildcat package this rule does not apply. Options – Late pitches are not acceptable, if you succeed in a late pitch (even on accident) you should immediately run out of bounds/dive on the ground for a loss or no gain. To clarify, a late pitch is one where your QB pitches the ball AFTER he has been hit by an opposing defender. A good pitch is where the pitch is made prior to contact with the QB. If the ball comes out at the same time as the contact play on. Give your opponent the benefit of the doubt. If a pitch was questionable save the highlight. A late pitch here or there is bound to happen, especially if a player runs an option offense. If it is repetitive and seems intentional we'll deal with it, any issues should be discussed with me. Formation Subs - Bottom line here is to keep it sim. If you want to run HB by committee feel free to use formation subs to do so. If you have players with similar OVR ratings but different skills feel free to formation sub appropriately. For example, say you have two TEs rated 83 and 85 OVR. One has 85 speed and great hands, the other has 75 speed and great blocking. Sub in the blocker for all of your "base sets" and the faster guy for your spread sets. The thing to not do here is to put your #1 WR in the slot all game or to put a player at the wrong position like a FB at HB. Here again there are exceptions, if you are running a split back shotgun set and want two HBs instead of HB/FB that's cool. If you think a potential formation sub is questionable shoot me a PM and we'll take a look at it. Gameplay Rules – Defense Matching Formations – Generally, the defense should be matching up personnel against the offensive package on the field. This means that while occasionally running your base defense against an opponent’s shotgun 4 wide packages is allowable, you should not be running a nickel/dime defense against a 2 TE set in a running situation. Moving Players Before The Snap – On defense, shifting linebackers and the defensive line is permitted. However, if you manually move an individual defensive player before the snap you must control that player at the snap of the ball, unless you had to move the player because he was "stuck." Constantly spreading or pinching your DL or LBs falls under the rules for mixing up your playcalling. Moving a defensive lineman off the line of scrimmage or more than one 'step' outside the OT is prohibited. Blitzing – While blitzing is certainly a part of the game, please be realistic when calling blitzes. 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. 4-2-5/3-3-5 defenses – These defenses are allowed for use as a base defensive set. Defensive Line Play – Coaches controlling defensive lineman must first engage an offensive lineman on any pass rush or running play. Use of the 'loop' technique is not permitted in any TF leagues (for those who are unaware, the 'Loop' refers to user controlling the DL or LB and attempting to run yards around the OL to get at the QB). In general, when controlling a defensive lineman, you should always engage an opposing lineman and use rush moves to get clear. Additionally, use of the DE contain feature in the formation audible should be done in realistic fashion - in long yardage vs. a QB that is a definite running threat. Using the DE contain feature vs. a team that never runs their QB or using it in first and 10 situations or in conjunction with pinching the DL is not permitted. Safety/Linebacker Play - many users favor the FS or the MLB as their user controlled defender. The rule of thumb here is that you must mix up your playcalling. You cannot crash the line of scrimmage every down. You cannot bring your safety up to the line of scrimmage constantly. Bottom line, as with most issues, do that stuff appropriately. If it's 3rd and 1 then crash the line, if you are facing a guy who runs the ball 70% of the time bring your safety up where your LBs are to get 8 in the box. Everything you do should make football sense, not just video game sense. Gameplay Rules – Special Teams Kickers and Punters - Basically, kickers kick and punters punt. You can't bail yourself out of poor recruiting by having one player do both. The only exception to this is when there is an injury. Fake Punts and FG’s – Faking a FG or punt is part of the game and provides "the element of surprise," but please be realistic. These are utilized in NCAA but on a limited basis, so please keep that in mind. If you attempt more than one fake punt or FG in a season we'll have an issue. If you attempt one fake FG or punt every season we will also have an issue. Let it rip once, twice, maybe three times in the entire game cycle and we'll be fine. Punting - You may not line drive every punt. The line drive should only be used when you are trying to angle a punt out of bounds inside the 20. If you fear an opposing return man you may punt out of bounds or "sky punt" so your coverage closes in before he can catch it.