Rookie Tackle uses the NFHS rule book as a base and employs the following adjustments for
1. Because of the all players, all positions, all skills philosophy, there are no restrictions on
jersey numbers or player positions.
2. All game action takes place on one half of the field with all possessions starting on the 40-
yard line going toward the end zone in between the numbers.
3. A turnover on downs brings the ball back to the 40-yard line, and the teams switch sides from
offense to defense, defense to offense.
4. Turnovers on interceptions or fumbles are blown dead immediately. No returns are allowed in
order to protect players from running into the 20-yard administration zone between the two
fields. Play restarts on the 40-yard line with the recovering/intercepting team now on offense.
There are no defensive touchdowns.
5. After each play, the ball is spotted in the middle of the field. Hash marks are not used.
6. Because of the limited field size, all 15-yard penalties are enforced as 10-yard penalties.
7. No penalty on the offense can take the ball beyond the 40-yard line to ensure the
8. Penalties on the offense that are called and accepted on or behind the 40-yard line result in a
loss of down.
9. Penalties on the offense called between the 40-yard line and the end zone in which yardage
is lost, even if limited in enforcement by the 40-yard line, are enforced as written in terms of
down lost or replayed.
10. There are no defensive safeties. Tackles behind the 40-yard line are respotted at the 40-yard
11. All plays are blown dead and the ball is returned to the 40-yard line if an offensive ball-carrier
or a fumbled ball crosses over midfield or at the official's discretion if coaches, administrators
or players from the multiple fields and the dead zone area become close enough in proximity
to be a concern for safety.
12. All personal foul penalties include an immediate substitution from the field for a minimum of
one play to allow coaches to address misconduct and promote good sportsmanship. We call
this a cooling off period.
13. The game is played in four 10-minute quarters with a running clock. The clock may stop after a
score to flip the field.
Special teams adjustments:
1. There are no special teams.
e. There are no kickoff or punts. Each possession starts with the ball on the 40-yard line,
regardless of whether there is a score, turnover or turnover on downs.
f. There are no extra points by a kick.
i. All PATs are attempted through a run or pass try. Coaches can choose to go for one
point from the 3-yard line or two points from the 5-yard line.
1. Each play must include three offensive linemen
- a center and two guards, one on either side
of the center. These players are ineligible for
first touch as the receiver of a pass. Player
rotations may result with traditional nonlineman numbers at these positions for the
purpose of fundamental skill development.
2. Guards are required to play from a two-point stance.
3. The center may only have his or her snapping hand down.
4. The distance between a guard and center may not exceed three feet (1 yard) but may be
5. Because of the all players, all positions, all skills philosophy, players should change positions
during the game. Therefore:
a. The three offensive linemen must identify themselves on each play by raising their hands
as they break the huddle and approach the line of scrimmage.
b. Once identified as an offensive lineman, players may not shift to another position.
c. All three offensive linemen are ineligible for first touch on a pass.
6. The quarterback-center exchange may be direct, pistol or shotgun.
7. Quarterback sneaks are prohibited in all situations because the defense is not allowed to
have players aligned over the center or in the center-guard A gap.
8. The offense must have five players on the line of scrimmage. No more, no less. The fourth
and fifth players can be tight ends, split ends or a combination of the two. Only the two end
players on the line of scrimmage are eligible for first touching of a pass.
9. There are no unbalanced lines. The split ends/tight ends must be on opposite sides of the
10. The five offensive players who are not playing guard or center may be deployed in positions at
the coach's discretion as long as two are on the line of scrimmage (see rule 9).
a. Multiple running backs, slot receivers, wing backs, etc., are allowed but also must be
11. No trips formations are allowed.
a. For purpose of Rookie Tackle, Trips is defined as any three players outside the guard-toguard box
(Both legal: Even if outside the G-G box, there are only two players on that side of the field, not Trips)
12. Motion is allowed as long as it does not form a trips formation.
13. All blocks below the waist by any player anywhere on the field are illegal
1. Defenses may only have two defensive linemen unless an offensive formation includes a
tight end. In that case, a third defensive lineman may line up over the tight end. Two tight
ends allows the defense to use four defensive linemen.
2. Defensive linemen must be in a two-point stance.
3. Defensive linemen must be aligned on the guards and/or tight ends in a head up position.
• No shade or gap alignment
4. If the offense aligns with no tight ends, the defense may still align with four players on the
line of scrimmage, but they must be positioned over the receivers they are covering.
• With the exception of the players covering the guards, the defense is not required to
have additional players on the line of scrimmage but has the option to do so.
5. The defense must have one player at least 10 yards from the
Base One Tight End Two Tight Ends
6. All remaining players not on the line of scrimmage or at deep safety must be four
yards off of the line of scrimmage.
• Defenses that choose to not match the eligible receivers on the line of scrimmage
may position those players on the second level as long as they are at least 4 yards
from the ball.
7. No blitzes are allowed. Players within the box at the snap can penetrate upon the
snap. Linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks (both on the line and at depth) can flow
to the ball naturally after a handoff is made, but predetermining penetration to a
specific gap is illegal.
• The box includes offensive players who line up within two yards of the ball and on
the line of scrimmage along with the defensive players lined up directly over
• On pass plays, anyone outside the box on the snap cannot rush the quarterback
and must remain behind the line of scrimmage in pass coverage.
8. Coaches are encouraged to be creative with their formations but not use "the box" to
delay defensive penetration.
9. If the ball is inside the 4-yard line, the five non-linemen, non-deep players may align
on the goal line.