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CFL Rules



January 14, 2018


The Christian Fellowship League (CFL) was formed in 1980 to create fellowship among Christians in all areas of sports.  Since 1980 the CFL has continually progressed in growth, spiritual fellowship, church closeness, and in its effort to create sports programs that build fellowship among brothers in the body of Christ.


A.    The by-laws, rules and regulations, and formats of the CFL must be followed at all times to provide consistent and accurate programs.

B.     The teams that participate in the CFL must at all times keep the fellowship of the body of Christ in focus for the understanding and development of the CFL.


GENERAL CONTACT – Contact is made by playing out of control.  Injuries can be prevented by playing under control.



Any player heard using foul language by the referees or CFL Board.  See penalty rule.  If a team Coach/Captain voluntarily pulls himself or a teammate that is using foul language before the referee imposing the penalty, this player can be replaced for the 6 plays.



Any player that is consistently using language or gestures who sole purpose is to taunt or belittle the opposing team, or whose loud and/or obnoxious behavior is deemed inappropriate will be charged with excessive taunting. The first offense will be considered a warning. If the behavior continues unabated, the referee will impose a penalty per the penalty rule below.


FIGHTING (Physical Contact)

1st offense – result in suspension from the league for a minimum of 10 games.

2nd offense – result in suspension from the league entirely



 Playoff games count towards 10 game suspension.  Party of the second offense must come before the CFL Board for reinstatement.


Under the Influence

Anyone clearly under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance at the field will be suspended from the league for 10 games.  Playoff games count toward the 10 game suspension.  The party of a 2nd offense must come before the CFL Board for possible reinstatement.



As a courtesy to other players and fans, smoking is prohibited.



A player must play a minimum of 5 games of a regular season or that player will not be eligible for playoffs.  If an injured player attends any games and signs in, it will be counted as a played game. Players are required to sign-in as proof of their attendance. This and only this can be used as proof of attendance.



A player who gets out of hand (at the discretion of the referees or CFL Board) with taunting, arguing, or any other actions that are unsportsmanlike will sit out for the next 6 plays of the game.  If the same player’s actions continue on the sidelines, or when that player re-enters the game, the player will be ejected from the game and must leave the fields.  Any player ejected from 2 games will be suspended from the league for 10 games.  Playoff games count toward the 10 game suspension.  The player must come before the CFL Board for reinstatement.  If a player has been taken out 3-6 play ejections throughout the season it will result in an automatic 1 game suspension.  The CFL Board reviews all individual players conduct throughout the year for eligibility requirements for the next season.



If a player is sent out for 6 plays by the referee or CFL Board, that player CANNOT be replaced until the 6 plays have expired.  However, if a player is ejected from the game, that player CAN be replaced.



As a safety precaution, anyone who has suffered a bleeding injury during a game WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE playing until the injury has been taken care of.  First-aid kit will be available.




All players not in the field of play must stay behind the 10 yard line (10 yards from the end zone).  This is to ensure referees have clear view of the end zone and sideline players do not interfere with the game.





1A       The offense consists of 6 players:  center and 5 other players.  A minimum of 2 players (center and a receiver) must be on the line of scrimmage. All players can be on the line, and all are eligible to receive and/or throw passes.


1B       INTERCEPTIONS can be returned. When the defense intercepts the ball and the flag is pulled, the defense’s offense takes over at the spot the flag was pulled.  If the defense intercepts the ball and runs the ball for a touchdown they receive 1 point and the defense retains possession. If a player intercepts the ball in the end zone and attempts to run it out, but is downed before leaving the end zone, it is a touchback.  If player runs out of the end zone with the interception, he must stay out.  If her returns to the end zone after initially leaving the end zone and is downed, it will be a safety.


1C       FUMBLES – If a fumble occurs behind the line of scrimmage then the ball is considered dead at that spot and the play ends.  Once the ball crosses the line of scrimmage then the CFL fumble rule goes into effect regardless if the ball re-crosses the line of scrimmage or not.  If a fumble occurs (laterals, handoffs, backward pass, or unintentional drops) and the ball lands in the field of play then the team that caused the fumble loses possession and the ball is given to the opposing team at the spot of the fumble. 


1C       POSSESSIONS – 70 plays per game (60 plays for tournaments), 35 plays in each half (30 plays for tournaments). Penalties will be counted as plays if the play is in progress. Example: If the ball has NOT been snapped, and a penalty occurs it does NOT count as a play.


1D       TIME OUTS – Each team gets 2, thirty (30) second time outs per half.


1E       START OF GAME – The team that wins the coin toss has choice of: 

(1)               Whether to receive the ball or not or (2) which goal to defend.

(2)               If choice 1 is selected, the other team then has option 2 or vice versa.

            Depending on the choices made at the coin toss, the second half begins with the opposite situation in effect.


1F        HALF TIME – 5 minutes


IG       END OF GAME – The game is over when the allotted number of plays is exhausted.  The team with the most points is declared the winner.  If the teams are tied at the end of the game then overtime will be declared. The game cannot end on a defensive penalty.  The referee also has the discretion to call the game if there is a risk of an injury, or any unsportsmanlike conduct.


IH        OVERTIME – There are no blitzes or timeouts during overtime.  Overtime will begin without a coin toss.  The team that won the toss at the beginning of regulation will start with the ball.  The ball is placed on the defense 10 yard line.  The offensive gets one play to score.  The opposing team then gets the ball and they have one play to score.  The team that successfully scores then stops the other team from scoring wins.  If the game remains tied after three overtime possessions for each team the game is declared a tie.  If an interception occurs and is returned for a touchdown, the game ends and the intercepting team wins.


II         FORFEITS – A team must have at least 4 players to play a game.  If not, a 5 minute delay will be granted.  The official clock will start; the games must stay on schedule.  If after 5 minutes there are still not enough players the game will be declared a forfeit.  The coach must serve a one game suspension at the next available game.  If the team has two or more forfeits throughout the season, or if the team forfeits during a playoff game, the coach may lose his eligibility to coach in future seasons.  Additionally, the coach will be assessed a $40 penalty fine in order to cover the referees’ salaries for each game forfeited.  The coach will be expected to meet this stipulation or entry into future league games will be denied.


IJ         INTERRUPTIONS – Officials for the game may agree to interrupt the game because of inclement weather.  When/if the game is resumed, if either team has left (even if leading) the game shall be declared a forfeit by the team at fault.  Half a game completed is an official game.


IK       TEAM FEES – Team Fees will be stated at the time of registration. A $100.00 minimum deposit is due by the registration deadline.  Additionally, teams must pay in full by the third game.  NO REFUNDS.  Teams are guaranteed 8 games.  The CFL will post a 10 game schedule and try to meet the ten games.  However, the CFL cannot control the weather and games can and will be cancelled in order finish the regular season. One day tournaments will be rescheduled or cancelled. (full refunds will be given for any cancellations)


1L        FLAG PULLING – One flag must be pulled to stop a play, and the ball is spotted where the ball is located at the time the flag was pulled.  If a player loses a flag during the play, the player is downed when the defensive player touches the runner.  Runners are not allowed to block the defensive player’s hands from pulling the flags (flag guarding) or the offensive player is downed at that point.  At the beginning of each play, flags must be on each side of the hips. If the flag belt is not tightened and the flags are not on each side, when the player catches the ball the player is downed when the defensive player touches the runner.

            Note:  Offensive runners should carry the ball above the waist unless running in the open field.

            Note:  As a courtesy, please hand flags back to the other player


1M      PLAY STOPS - In general, a play is considered over when a team scores, at least one flag is pulled, at least one knee touches the ground or any part of the ball makes contact with the ground.


1N       TOUCHDOWN – Ball must cross the goal line.  No diving into the end zone.  A touchdown counts as 1 point.  There are no extra point tries.


1O       SAFETY – In the event that the defense pulls the opposing player’s flag in their own end zone then a Safety is declared.  At that point, the ball is placed on the opposing team’s 5 yard line and the team that scored the Safety gets one play to score a point.  If they score a TD, they will be awarded one point.  After the safety play is complete, the team that scored the Safety will get the ball on their 5-yard line.  An interception during a safety attempt is considered a dead ball and cannot be returned.


1P        HUDDLES – The defense has 10 SECONDS TO SET THE BALL.  If the defense doesn’t set the ball within ten seconds then they will receive a warning for the first offense.  The defense will have to play one player short for one play for a second offense.  Once it is spotted, the offense has 25 seconds to get the ball snapped or it is a loss of that down.  Teams must break the huddle with six players.  THE QUARTERBACK WILL BE WARNED WHEN THERE IS 10 SECONDS REMAINING TO GET THE SNAP OFF.  


1Q       PUNTING – Can be done on any down.  The ball must be kicked not thrown.  Punting is a free kick with no fake and can be returned.  The offense must tell the official they will be punting.  The offense must line all players on the line of scrimmage, (not to advance until the ball is punted).  There is only ONE receiver at the punt (6 on 1).  The receiver can catch the ball on a bounce or pick it up to run; however, if the ball is muffed by the receiver and hits the ground it is downed at that spot.  If the ball rolls into or is downed in the end zone, the ball is placed at the 5 yard line.  If the ball lands in the field of play, then rolls out of bounds, it is downed at that point.  If the ball rolls out of the back or side of the end zone then the ball is placed on the 5 yard line.  If the ball is punted directly out of bounds without landing in the field of play, it will be placed at midfield, unless it did not pass midfield which then it is placed where it went out.  If the receiver of the punt scores a TD then the receiving team keeps the ball (make it, take it).


1R       ONSIDE PLAY RULE - After you score a touchdown, instead of giving the ball back to the opposing team, you can declare an onside play.  In order to declare an onside play:

1.                  It must be second half

2.                  You must be behind by 1 or more points

            Once you declare an onside rule, the ball is placed on your own 5 yard line.  You have one play to make it to midfield (first down marker).  If you make it, then you keep the ball and the game resumes as normal.  If you don’t make it, then the ball is placed at your further point of completion and the ball is turned over to the opposing team.  So, if you throw an incomplete pass, then the opposing teams get the ball on the 5 yard line.  You can declare the onside rule as many times as you wish as long as you are trailing by 1 or more points.  An onside play cannot end on a defensive penalty.  In the event of a defensive penalty during an onside play, the penalty is assessed and the offensive is allowed another attempt to complete the onside play.



1S        FLAGS – Flags will be supplied by the league.  No other flags will be allowed. 


1T       UNIFORMS – All jerseys must be the same color and all must have at least 8-inch numbers on the back.  Jerseys must be tucked in at all times.  NO HALF JERSEYS.  Jerseys can be disallowed at any time by any CFL Board member.

            SHORTS AND PANTS – Shorts or pants cannot have pockets. If you have pockets they must be sewn shut or bound in such a way as to keep players from accidently dislocating their fingers while attempting to pull flags. Taping pockets will not be allowed.


1U       TEAM NAMES – For League play, teams names that are used by legitimate professional or collegiate teams are allowed as long as the name is appropriate and not controversial. Team names that are not of this type must be approved by the CFL board. For Tournaments, made up names are allowed as long as the name is appropriate and not controversial. The CFL board reserves the right disallow any team name.


1V       Ball size – Only NFL and collegiate ball sizes that are leather or synthetic leather are allowed. No junior or pee wee ball sizes are allowed. (Sizes 11 to 13 lbs)


IW       SUBSTITUTIONS – Unlimited substitutions are allowed.


1X       FINAL ROSTER 1 – Team rosters are limited to 12 players.  Each player MUST sign-in at the beginning of their regular season game and sign in a minimum of 5 times to qualify for the playoffs.  If injury causes a lack of players (5 or less) that team can add a player(s) not already on another team roster, not to exceed 6 players.  If an injured player returns, the new player can continue playing in the regular season, but must play in at least 3 games to be eligible for the playoffs.  Once a player has signed the roster for a team, that player cannot change teams for the remainder of the season. If an illegal player is discovery before the game starts, that player will be required to sit. If an illegal player is discovered during or after the game is over, that game is considered a forfeit against the offending team.


1Y       FINAL ROSTER 2 – No player is allowed to play on any other team in any game at any time.  If a player plays on another team that player must serves a 2 game suspension (including playoffs) before they are allowed to return to their original team.  (Team recruiting that player will forfeit that game).


1Z        POST SEASON PLAY - There will always be some form of playoffs in every league or tournament. Playoffs will be determined by the number of teams registered to play at the start of the season and can be adjusted at the board discretion; however, the playoffs structure will be posted by the 3rd week. For the tournaments, the playoffs will always be the top four finishers based on the tournaments playoff eligibility criteria which will be determined before the tournament begins. 




2A       The QB is designated as the first player to receive the ball from the center cannot cross the line of scrimmage unless the defense blitzes. 


2B       The QB has 2.5 seconds before the rusher(s) can come across the line of scrimmage.


2C       QB cannot run the ball across the line of scrimmage unless he is blitzed.  If done so, the ball is downed at that point (a loss of that down). No two forward passes over the line of scrimmage. Note:  Forward passes can be thrown more than once behind the line of scrimmage, but once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage, you cannot throw the ball forward again.


2D       The QB has 7 seconds from the snap of the ball to get the ball into play (pass, hand-off, or pitch) or he is down at that point.  The ball to be placed at the original line of scrimmage


2E       If the QB gives the ball to another player behind the line of scrimmage, that player can run or pass the ball, but has unlimited time to complete the play. The QB must make a full exchange to another player in order for the option to be legitimate.


2F        INTENTIONAL GROUNDING – QB must have receiver in the general vicinity, and the ball must pass the line of scrimmage.  If not, the penalty is loss of down, the ball is placed at the spot of infraction and the defense will be awarded a sack.  If it happens in the end zone, it will be declared a safety.



3A       The center is an eligible receiver.


3B       The center must snap the ball from the side, not from between the legs.  His legs must be split at least 1 yard apart to create the line of scrimmage for the other players.  Penalty- illegal formation (loss of that down).



4A       The receivers can line up on the line of scrimmage in any fashion as long as at least one receiver has one foot between the center’s self-made line of scrimmage. 


4B       One receiver can go in motion, but cannot head up field until the ball has been snapped (a loss of the down). 


4C       A receiver can run a pass pattern, but if the defensive back is stationary, the receiver must go around or change the pass pattern without making contact.  If the defensive back is moving then he must allow the receiver to run the pass pattern without making contact.


4D       A receiver can set up a non-moving pick 3 yards in the area of the defenders.


4E       A receiver cannot create a moving pick that hinders the defensive back the right to get position on the ball, nor can he create a check pick, which is when the receiver uses his arms and/or hands to slow or prevent the defender from getting the ball.


4F        A receiver must come down with at least one foot inbounds to be considered a completed reception.  A reception is not considered complete if the receiver is unintentionally forced out of bounds.


4G       Receiver must line up at least 3 yards from the out of bounds line.


4H       A receiver cannot go out of bounds without being forced out and then return to the field of play to complete a catch.           


4I         Running and pitching, such as an option play and/or in an option pass pitch, the player must stop. 

Note:  The option must be done with the receiver of the option beside or behind the player creating the option.  A forward lateral will stop play at the spot of the infraction.  Ball is placed at that spot.  The option runner must stop running at the moment or it is considered a block and the player is downed at the point.


4J        RUNNING THE BALL – When running the ball, the runner must avoid making contact with the other players, He cannot hurdle or dive with the ball.  He can leave his feet only in a manner not harmful to others.  Jumping side to side and backwards is okay, but only jumping forward is not allowed to avoid injury.



5A       The defense consists of 6 players that can line up in any formation, such as man-to-man, zone, or man-zone, and rush as many players as they desire.


5B       The defensive player must give the right-of-way to the offensive player to run the pass pattern, unless the defensive player(s) are stationary.


5C       Defensive players being picked must play under control to keep from injury and to be able to go around the pick and complete the defensive play; unless the offensive player is running a moving pick, the official will stop the play at that point.  All picks must be stationary before the runner crosses the line of scrimmage.


5D         Defensive players must not make contact by coming across the arm, hitting the body, or coming across the back.  These defensive positions can be made as long as the contact is not included.  If the defensive player has gotten the position, then this rule applies to the offensive player.



2A       The rusher(s) does not have to rush the QB:  Instead, he can drop into a prevent defense as a defensive back

            or double team an offensive player.


2B       The defense can rush as many players as needed.  But no defensive player can cross the line of scrimmage before the ball is put into play.  Otherwise, it is considered to be defensive offside. 


2C       The rusher(s) must pull the QB’s flag to down him.  If the QB is in the process of releasing the ball (arm is moving forward) before the flag is pulled, then the QB is not considered down. The rusher(s) cannot cross the line of scrimmage until the 2.5 second whistle has been blown, unless the QB hands off, pitches, or shuttle passes the ball.  If the rusher crosses before the 2.5 second whistle then the defense will be charged one blitz.  The 2.5 second whistle will blow on every play. 

Note:  the 2.5 seconds start when the ball is snapped.


2D       The rusher(s) cannot line up right in front of the center.  He must give a 1 yard radius around the center before the snap of the ball. 

Note:  No contact is allowed. 


2E       Roughing the passer is defined as:  Making contact in such a way that may result in injury (arm, head, face, leg whip, etc.)  If flagrant, this will result in ejection from the game and/or suspension from the league. 


2F        Blitzing:  Defense can blitz as many players as needed.  There are 5 blitzes per game.  A blitz is defined as leaving before the 2.5 seconds. If the rusher(s) comes across the line of scrimmage before 2.5 seconds it will be counted as one of the team blitzes.  Be aware that if the defense blitzes, the QB is eligible to run or pass.

Note:  If the defensive has used up their allotted number of blitzes and you blitz, the QB is still eligible to run or pass.  The play will be allowed to continue and the offensive will have the choice to take the result of the play or repeat the down. If there are 10 plays left in the half or the game then the offense will have one play added back on the play counter unless the offense declines the penalty. Continuing to blitz when the defense is out of blitzes will result in an unsportsmanlike penalty.



3A       The defensive backs cannot bump off the line or go through the receiver to make a play.


3B       The defensive back must let the offensive players run the pass patterns, unless the defensive back is stationary, then the offensive players must run the pass patterns around the defensive players. 

Note:  No contact is allowed.


3C       The defensive backs cannot strip the ball from the offensive players. 

Note:  The hands and arms are not considered part of the ball. 





                                    1) NON FLAGRANT CONTACT – Some contact is made and cannot be avoided, no penalty is assessed.


                                    2) FLAGRANT CONTACT WITHOUT INTENT – Offensive penalty:  Is a loss of down plus and extra down.  Example:  1st becomes 3rd, 2nd becomes 4th, 3rd becomes 1st for the other team; unless a 1st down is gained.  Then, defense has choice of either accepting the play as it stands, but the down becomes 3rd instead of 1st, or replaying the down from the original line of scrimmage.  Defensive penalty:  Automatic 1st down or result of play.


                                    3) FLAGRANT CONTACT WITH INTENT – Contact is purposely done.  That player is ejected from the game and will be brought before the CFL Board for ejection from the league.  Penalty assessment is the same as Article D2


ARTICLE B1            DEAD BALL PENALTIES (play stops, loss of that down)


                                    Flag Guarding

Jumping or diving

                                    Illegal forward pass by the QB

                                    Moving Picks/Blocking

                                    Shoulder/Head dips (Non-Flagrant)

                                    Forward Lateral

                                    QB Delay (7 Seconds)


ARTICLE C1           OFFENSIVE (Loss of that down)


                        Offensive offsides

                        Illegal formation (two men not on the line of scrimmage)

                        Illegal motion/False Start

                        Delay of game

Illegal reception (player stepped out and stepped back in and was the first person to touch the ball)

                        Illegal huddle


ARTICLE C2           DEFENSIVE (Offensive gains a down)


Defensive offside

Note: Offense can gain 1st and five if infraction happens on the offenses' 1st down

                                    Delay of game


ARTICLE C3           DEFENSIVE (Repeat the down)


                                    Illegal rush (defense out of blitzes)

Illegal Flag pull (Intentionally pulling the flag of a player who is not the ball carrier)


ARTICLE D1           OFFENSIVE (Loss of that down plus one extra down, 1st goes to 3rd, 2nd goes to 4th, 3rd or 4th is an automatic turnover)


                                    Offensive holding

                                    Offensive Pass Interference

                                    Illegal Contact

                                    Illegal forward pass by Non-QB

                                    Intentional grounding

                                    Illegal Pick play

                                    Shoulder/Head dips (Flagrant)



ARTICLE D2           DEFENSIVE (Automatic first down, ball placed at the line of scrimmage)


                                    Defensive holding/Illegal contact before ball is released

Roughing the Passer (If the QB is hit (face, head, arm etc.) non-flagrantly or flagrantly, it is considered roughing the passer.)



ARTICLE D3           DEFENSIVE (Automatic first down, ball placed at the spot of infraction)


                                    Defensive Pass interference

                                    Tackling (non-flagrant or flagrant)

Defensive holding on ball carrier

Note: Offense can gain 1st and five if infraction happens if the ball carrier picks up a first down on the same play.




ARTICLE E1            SPIKING – No spiking is allowed.  Penalty:  Add or lose a down for the penalized team.  EXCEPTION:  If spiking after a touchdown the offensive team starts their possession at mid-field.  Also, on the last play of the game, the offensive team gets one play from mid-field; the game cannot end on a spiking penalty.


ARTICLE F1            Foul Language - Any Player using foul language on the field of play will have to sit for six plays. That player cannot be replaced. The team will have to play short for the duration of the penalty. If the foul language was heard but its undetermined who said it, the team captain or Coach must sit one player of his choosing for six plays. A team Coach/Captain voluntarily pulls himself or a teammate that is using foul language before the referee imposing the penalty, this player can be replaced for the 6 plays.







LENGTH:                   60 YARDS


END ZONES:            10 YARDS


TOTAL:                      80 YARDS


WIDTH:                      40 YARDS


First down markers, one on each side, are placed at the middle of the field.  Goal line markers, one on each side, are placed at the front of each end zone.




1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)

Do you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.