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AP Photo/Todd Kirkland

Rules Changes To Improve The American Flag Football League (AFFL)

The American Flag Football League is coming down to the end, with four teams—two “amateur” teams and two “professional” teams—left standing with $1 million on the line. The games have been entertaining, especially with no real NFL or college football being played right now, but things could be a little better. These are some of the rule changes we’d like to see to improve the AFFL games.


Blitz Whenever, Run Whenever

Currently, the AFFL has set rules for when the quarterback can run and when the defense can blitz. Defenses are limited to five blitzes per half, and the quarterback can only run if the defense blitzes them. I think the games would be better if you could do whatever whenever. Defenses would have to account for the quarterback running the ball at all times, but offenses would need to contend with a potential blitz on each play. This would also boost the quality of play deep in the red zone and down by the goal line.


No Throw Clock (or extend it)

If the quarterback can run whenever and the defense can blitz whenever, a throw clock would be especially unnecessary. Four seconds should be enough time for receivers to get open, but deep shots are nearly impossible if the two deep safeties know what they are doing. However, if the throw clock is either eliminated or extended by just a second or two, it could lead to more big plays.


Special Teams and Rosters

It’s really funny watching the “throw-offs” for kickoffs and punts, as it’s something most of us have probably done as kids when no one could punt. But these are grown men, and one of them should be able to punt. Also, a 15-man roster would be perfect, as you could have seven main guys for offense, seven main guys for defense (and of course they could switch and some players will play both sides of the ball), and one kicking specialist; then, field goals could also be added for another scoring element.



Field goals would fall into this category, as the ability to kick a field goal and add three points could be the difference in a game being one possession or two possessions in the end. The three-point conversion attempt after touchdowns should probably be eliminated, as one- or two-point conversions are the norm. And I’m not sure I like the seven points for a touchdown over 50 yards, as it basically penalizes long, methodical scoring drives.



It’s good that they have penalties like flag-guarding and holding, but I don’t think penalties should lead to a loss of down. A false start on fourth down doesn’t feel like it should turn into a turnover on downs.


Less Physicality

The most obvious needed rule change of all is that there needs to be less physicality. Again, the flag-guarding (no stiff-arms or slapping down defenders’ hands) is great, and there are plenty of rules in the AFFL rulebook to have safe play. But the officials need to do a better job of calling penalties for contact, and the players need to do a better job of protecting each other out there. If the game is going to get physical, then flag football might not be the right type of football to play. So this might not necessarily be a rule change, but the current rules need to be enforced better.


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