As the IFL season approaches, get caught up with these key rules and regulations.
Rules and regulations for Indoor Football League
The Tucson Sugar Skulls, Old Pueblo's first-ever professional football team, begins its inaugural season in the Indoor Football League this Sunday against the San Diego Strike Force, the IFL's other expansion team.
The Strike Force fell 67-49 in their season-opener against the Quad City Steamwheelers and will host the Sugar Skulls this weekend.
The IFL is slightly different than any other brand of professional football. How so? We got you covered. Here are key points to watching IFL before the Sugar Skulls' home opener against the Bismark Bucks on March 10.
IFL is self-explanatory. It's played indoors or at arenas where basketball and/or hockey teams play. The Sugar Skulls' field at Tucson Arena is shared with the Tucson Roadrunners, the AHL affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes.
The field is 50 yards long and 85 feet wide, which is the same dimensions as a hockey rink. Field goal posts are also 10 feet wide and can be up to 20 feet tall, but the crossbars must be at least 10 feet off the ground.
There is also no out of bounds in the IFL. The play of field is surrounded by three inches of padding and if the ball carrier touches the padding, that's where the down is marked for the next play.
For capacity, it depends on the size of the arena. Talking Stick Resort Arena, home of the Arizona Rattlers, holds 18,422 seats. Tucson Arena can hold up to 9,275 fans.
Number of players, blitzing
College football, NFL and even the new Alliance of American Football (AAF) have 11 players on each side of the field. Depending on defensive schemes, some teams will have three or four defensive linemen. Not the IFL. Eight players are allowed on each side of the ball. Each team will have a gameday roster of 21 active players with four reserves (25).
The IFL only allows three offensive and defensive linemen with the rest identified as skill players. On offense: Quarterback, three offensive linemen, running back and three wide receivers. On defense: three defensive linemen and skill players depending on the scheme.
Blitzing from linebackers and defensive backs is also not allowed unless the player identifies himself to the offensive as a blitzer, either by alerting game officials or raising their hand. The blitzer also has to be at least five yards away from the line scrimmage in the defensive box and stationary prior to the snap.
Wide receivers can move prior to snap
One of the unique aspects of the IFL is wide receivers can begin running just as long as they remain behind the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped. Timing is key for the quarterback and wide receivers.
However, only two wide receivers can motion and defensive backs must remain stationary until the ball is snapped.
- Touchdown: 6 points
- Field goal: 3 points
- Drop kick field goal: 4 points
- Safety: 2 points
- Safety on two-point conversion: 2 points
- PAT by running/passing: 2 points
- PAT by drop kick: 2 points
- Returned PAT to end zone: 2 points
- PAT by place kick: 1 point
- Rouge (when opposing team is unable to return kickoff): 1 point
Clock, 'In the Bank' penalties
IFL has 60-minute games divided into four quarters so each period is 15 minutes just like any other football game.
The clock constantly runs until after a team scores (except for touchdowns), penalties, injuries, timeouts, change of possession, at the end of each quarter, on a first down in the final 60 seconds of either half, incomplete passes at the end of either half or when a player hits the wall at the end of each half.
Same penalties still apply for the IFL, however "In the Bank" is a penalty that can't be used for kickoffs, but will be enforced on the next play from scrimmage.