Attorneys Football League Rules

Washington Attorneys Football League Rules

NCAA rules govern, except as modified or elaborated upon below:


  • a. Playing field Size - 100 yards x 40 yards. Each end-zone is ten yards long. The distance between each goal is 80 yards.
  • b. Ball Regulation size and weight; must be supplied by the participating teams.
  • c. Uniforms Only rubber cleated shoes can be worn. No metal cleats. All other football equipment is prohibited.

Length of game

  • a. A regulation game shall consist of two - 30 minute halves with a running clock, except for time-outs. Each team shall be entitled to two (one-minute) time-outs per half.
  • b. After the time has expired at the end of the second half, eight consecutive plays, either by one team or both teams shall be run. For purposes of this rule, a play shall include punts, but not kick-offs or points after touchdowns. Rout rule: If one team is ahead by 17 or more points at the end of regulation then the game shall be ruled over.
  • c. Teams will be allowed 5 minutes between halves.
  • d. A team shall be allowed 10 minutes beyond the schedule time for the start of a game to field at least 6 players.
  • e. A team will have 40 seconds to put the ball into play after the ball has been spotted at the line of scrimmage. Failure to comply with this rule will subject the offending team to a five-yard penalty. A delay of game penalty shall stop the clock until the ball is put into play.


  • a. Touchdown - 6 points.
  • b. Safety - 2 points (the team scored upon shall have a free kick from the 20-yard line)
  • c. PAT - 1 point for passing or running the ball over the goal line from the three-yard line. 2 - points for passing or running the ball over the goal from the ten yard line.

Players and Substitutions

  • a. A team consists of 7 players on the field, subject to subparagraph (b) below. Any team with less than six players at the start of the game shall forfeit the game.
  • b. There shall be unlimited substitutions, except that no more than 2 non-attorneys shall be on the field at any one time.
  • c. At the beginning of each game, the team captain shall inform the opposing captain of the identity of the non-attorneys.

Playing regulations

  • a. A coin toss determines which team has the choice of kicking off, receiving or defending a particular goal. The team that wins the toss of the coin may choose to receive or kick. If that team chooses to kick, it has the choice of goal to defend. At the start of the second half, the other team has the choice of kicking or defending a goal or receiving.
  • b. KICKOFFS: putting the ball into play.
    • 1. The ball is put into play at the start of the game, after a score, and at the beginning of the 2nd half, by a place kick, with or without a rubber tee, or a punt from the 30 - yard line. Defensive players must be at least 20 yards away (on their own 30 - yard line).
    • 2. A kickoff going out of bounds which is untouched by the receiving team or the kicking team will be placed at the 30- yard line of the receiving team.
    • 3. A kickoff which hits the ground without being touched by either team may be picked up and advanced by the receiving team. If a kickoff hits a member of the receiving team and then hits the ground, it is dead at the point of contact with the ground. The receiving team will have possession of the ball.
    • 4. An untouched kickoff that hits the ground and comes to stop in fair territory is dead where it stops and possession goes to the receiving team. On-side kicks are not allowed.
    • 5. A kickoff which is downed in the end zone by a receiving team player or which goes out of the end zone shall be brought out to the receiving team's 20-yard line with possession to the receiving team.
  • c. Advancing the ball
    • 1. First downs are achieved by the offensive team by crossing the into the next zone. Zones are twenty yards apart. (a team doesn't need to go twenty yards to get a first down, the zone must be crossed from any distance within four downs).
  • d. Fumbles
    • 1. All fumbles are dead at the point where a players loses possession of the ball and the ball hits the ground. Possession remains with the team fumbling the ball, unless the fumble is recovered by either team while it is in the air, in which case possession goes to the team recovering the fumble. A fumble recovered in the air may be advanced towards the opponent's goal.
    • 2. Passes from the center that hit the ground before being touched by a backfield man can be put into play by the quarterback unless a member of the defensive team has already touched the ball.
    • 3. Passes from center that hit the ground after being touched by any player are dead where the ball hits the ground.
    • 4. If a team on fourth down has declared its intention to punt, the punter may kick the ball anywhere behind the line of scrimmage without taking a snap.
  • e. Touching
    • 1. The ball-carrier shall be stopped when touched simultaneously with both hands by a defensive player anywhere on the ball-carrier's body. A defensive player may leave his feet to touch a ball-carrier.
    • 2. A ball-carrier who falls without being tagged may get up and continue to run.
    • 3. A defensive player may not hold the ball carrier in order to complete the tag. Penalty -15 yards from the spot where the holding took place.
    • 4. Stiff-arming is not allowed. Penalty - 15 yards from the spot of stiff-arming.
    • 5. A passer is not considered "touched" if his arm is moving forward in execution of a pass when tagged by a defensive player.
  • f. Time-outs
    • 1. Two per half (one minute each)
    • 2. In case of injury, time-out will be declared. If the injured player stays in the game, the time-out will be charged to his team. However, if he leaves the game for more than four consecutive plays, either by his team or the opposing team and then returns to the game, no time-outs will be charged.
  • g. Forward pass.
    • 1. All players are eligible to receive.
    • 2. A simultaneous catch by an offensive and defensive player shall be awarded to the offensive player..
    • 3. Intentional grounding of a pass is not allowed. There must be a receiver in the general vicinity of the pass. PENALTY - 15 yards from the spot of the previous down and loss of down.
    • 4. A forward pass is incomplete when a player jumps and catches the ball but lands with one or two feet on or outside the boundary line. One foot must land in fair territory.
    • 5. A player may not catch his own pass.
    • 6. There should be absolutely no contact on pass receivers (not even within the five-yard bump zone specified in the pro rules). In that regard, no defensive player may line up directly over the center. PENALTY: for illegal contact with receivers while running patterns - 5 yards and automatic first down.
  • h. Blocking
    • 1. Blocking on the line of scrimmage shall consist of "checking" with the body above the belt and below the neck in crouching position or standing position. PENALTY: for illegal blocks to the face or legs - 15 yards from line of scrimmage. No three point stance may be used while blocking; only the blocker's feet may be in contact with the ground. The blockers may extend their arms forward but may not extend their arms laterally or hold their opponents while blocking. PENALTY: 15 yards from line of scrimmage. Open field blocking for kick-offs and punt returns shall be governed by this rule. Players may set stationary picks which shall not constitute blocking under this section; provided, however, that a moving pick shall be considered blocking and subject to the restrictions of subsection 6.
    • 2. The defense is restricted to use of hands above the waist and below the neck of an opponent; unnecessary roughness is not allowed. PENALTY: - 15 yards from line of scrimmage and automatic 1st down. A defensive player may use his hands to push his opponent aside but may not hold his opponent while doing so. PENALTY - 5 yards and automatic 1st down.
    • 3. Neither an offensive nor a defensive player may use a forearm shiver. PENALTY: 15 -yards from line of scrimmage, and automatic 1st down if against defense.
    • 4. No player shall leave his feet to throw a block. PENALTY: 15 yards from line of scrimmage.
    • 5. All players on both offense and defense can use a three point stance, except that no three point stance may be used by a blocking back.
    • 6. There shall be no blocking beyond the line of scrimmage by any offensive or defensive player except on punt returns and kickoff returns. There shall be no blocking by any defensive player on any return of an interception. PENALTY: for downfield blocking - 15 yards from line of scrimmage.
  • I. Punts
    • 1. On any down, the offensive team may put the ball in play by a punt, but the offensive team must notify the defensive team of its intention to punt. A team must punt after notifying the defensive team. The ball is dead until kicked.
    • 2. The kicker must kick without delay.
    • 3. A minimum of five (5) offensive and three (3) defensive players must remain within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.
    • 4. No player may cross the scrimmage line until the ball is kicked.
    • 5. No pass from center to the punter is required. The punter simply kicks the ball anywhere behind the line of scrimmage.
    • 6. A defensive player may block a punt, but he cannot cross the scrimmage line to do so. A blocked punt caught in the air by a defensive player may be advanced towards the opponent's goal. If a punt is caught by a defensive player and is subsequently dropped by him, the ball is dead once it hits the ground. If a member of the kicking team catches a blocked punt, the ball is dead where he catches it and the receiving team takes possession. Any punt that is touched and not caught by player on the receiving team and hits the ground is dead where it hits and becomes the possession of the receiving team.
    • 7. A punt that hits ground without being touched by either team may be picked up an advanced by the receiving team. A punt that goes out of bounds with or without being touched by a receiving or kicking player is dead where it went out of bounds.
  • j. Ejection
    • The officials, in their judgment, may eject a player from any team for repeated instances of unnecessary roughness or for persistent or aggravated verbal abuse. Once ejected, the player must leave the vicinity of the playing field. The ejected player may not play in his team's next game even if it is a playoff game. If a player is ejected from a game twice in one season, he shall no longer be eligible for the remainder of his team's games, including the playoffs.
    • Fighting is strictly forbidden. Any player that initiates physical contact or participates in any dispute or fight involving physical contact will be banned from participation in the league for one full season, regardless of the circumstances and without exception. The commissioner, in his discretion, may impose more severe penalties, including a permanent ban on participation.
    • Examples include: Abusive or insulting language directed at the officials or an opposing player; Any acts of unfair play; Intentionally kicking at the ball (other than during a legal kick); Spiking the ball into the ground; Throwing the ball high into the air; Intentionally kicking at any opposing player (DQ); Intentionally contacting a game official during the game; (DQ); Intentionally swinging and arm, hand, or fist at an opposing player (DQ). PENALTY: Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Dead Ball, 15 yards (and/or objection). The second unsportsmanlike foul by the same player or non player results in a disqualification. Referee's discretion: Three "flagrant" unsportsmanlike fouls in the same game will result in a forfeit.

Postponements and Weather Status:

If there is any question concerning the weather prior to the start of game, please call the commissioner at 301-490-7264 and press 1. The section contains information about game status. Games not played because of bad weather may be rescheduled or dropped from the schedule, based on mutual agreement of the representatives of the opposing teams. The commissioner will resolve all questions relating to bad weather and rescheduling. His decision is final and unappealable. The best way to find out game status and weather is to go online at Emergency phone on game day 301-343-9036.

Disputes and Appeals:

 Any unresolved disputes must be submitted in writing to the commissioner on or before Tuesday following the disputed game. Any questions involving judgment calls by officials will not be reviewed. Only questions involving interpretation and application of these rules will be reviewed by the commissioner. There shall be no appeal from decisions by the commissioner.


To determine the standings, the following point system will apply:

  • a. The teams will be ranked according to the best overall won/lost percentage record.
  • b. In the event two teams have the same record at the end of the season, the winner of the game between the teams will be ranked higher. If more than two teams have the same won/lost percentage, then the team with the best win/lost percentage against the other teams will be ranked higher.
  • c. If the teams tied in their game(s) or have the same record in (b), above, the team with the best record in its division will be ranked higher. If a tie still exists, the team with the highest average point differential (excluding forfeits) will be ranked higher. If a tie still remains, a coin toss, supervised by the commissioner, will determine the respective rankings.


The only individuals eligible to participate in the league are those person identified on the team roster, which shall be submitted to the commissioner one week before the second game. Any changes to the roster must be submitted in writing and approved by the commissioner. The roster may consist of:

  • a. Any full-time employee of the firm or organization and any attorney that formerly played for the firm or organization while employed there.
  • b. No more than 3 additional attorneys, or law students that have worked at the firm or organization, upon prior approval by a committee appointed for such purposes.

Purpose of League

This league was originally formed to provide an enjoyable and friendly opportunity to play football with our fellow lawyers and their law firms. Every effort should be made to avoid any disputes, controversy, and hard feelings. If it stops being friendly, it stops being fun.

Tie Breaker in the Playoffs only:

If a playoff game ends in a tie, then a tie breaker shall be played as follows: The team captains will toss a coin with the winner of the toss having his choice of possession or defending a particular goal. Each team will receive one possession, including extra points. The team that leads after the 2 possessions is the winner. If there is still a tie, the first team to score wins.


  • a. Any team that forfeits two or more games in any one season (including playoffs) shall be prohibited from participating in the league in the subsequent season. Such prohibition shall not preclude any team from participating in the league in a season following the one season prohibition.
  • b. Any team that (I) forfeits, (ii) cancels with notice, or (iii) reschedules a total of three or more games in any one season (including playoffs) shall be prohibited from participating in the league in the subsequent season. Such prohibition shall not preclude any team from participating in the league in a season following the one season prohibition.
  • c. The failure of a team to be present with at least six players at the time and place scheduled for a league game shall be deemed a forfeit of such game by such team. In the event that a team captain notifies the commissioner's office and the captain of the opposing team that his team will be unable to play a scheduled game, the failure of that team to play the scheduled game shall not be deemed to be a forfeit but shall be classified as a cancellation with notice. Notification of such a cancellation must be received by both the commissioner's office and the captain of the opposing team by noon on the Friday prior to the scheduled game.


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