It’s the last chance for NFL potentials to make an impression on NFL coaches and scouts as they take the field in the 68th Senior Bowl game, played in Mobile, Alabama at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

While many fans will be at the contest live and in person in Alabama’s second-largest city, coaches and scouts from the National Football League, the Canadian Football League and the Arena Football League will be looking to see what players can help their club make it to the next level.

With Super Bowl LI a week away in Houston, it’s the last football game featuring college players who hope their names get called in April at the upcoming draft in Philadelphia. It’s their chance to shine. It’s a chance for the city of Mobile to shine as well.

Having said all that, they do things a little differently in the Port City. It’s a football game alright but there are more twists and turns than a Mardi Gras parade down Government Street. Still, it’s a lot of fun to watch. As far as the rules of the game goes, there are a few twists and here are those rules…

BTW.. if you can’t make it to the game in person (or you can’t get a ticket), watch it on NFL Network at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time.

Playing Rules

I. OFFENSE

Personnel

Offensive personnel packages will be limited to three (3):
(2) Running Backs, (1) Tight End, (2) Wide Receivers
(1) Running Back, (2) Tight Ends, (2) Wide Receivers
(1) Running Back, (1) Tight End, (3) Wide Receivers

Other sub-packages, i.e., short yardage or goal line, are not permitted.

a. Must break the huddle and align in final formation. Motion or shifts by eligible receivers is not permitted.

b. Open formations must be balanced. Three eligible receivers aligned on the same side (Trips) is not permitted.

c. Running backs are permitted to break the formation and align in a flex position provided the formation remains balanced.

d. There will be no intentional grounding called. It is permissible for the passer to throw the ball away in an effort to save loss of yardage.

Blocking

All blocks below the waist are prohibited.

II. DEFENSE

Pass rush games are prohibited at all times. Only four rushers allowed, no 5-man pressures or blitzes from secondary permitted.

Coaches and Senior Bowl observers will be responsible for the defensive requirements.

Personnel
4-3 personnel
3-4 personnel

a. Substitution packages, i.e., dime, short-yardage or goal line packages, are not permitted at any time. However, teams are permitted to play three cornerbacks in a four-man secondary.

b. A nickel package may be used when the offense has three wide receivers on the field. In this case, the defense may use a four-man front with five defensive backs.

Fronts

a. In Base, only an Under front will be permitted in both 4-3/3-4 schemes.

1. 4-3 UNDER, traditional lineup with strong-side linebacker over TE and remaining two linebackers in “box” and off-the-line of scrimmage.

2. 3-4 UNDER, strong-side linebacker (Sam) aligns over TE, with two “box” linebackers off-the-line and weak-side linebacker reduced as the 4th rusher (not allowed to drop into pass coverage).

b. Linebackers and defensive ends are not permitted to switch positions.

c. In Sub, only an EVEN front with four-down defensive linemen and the Center left uncovered will be permitted.

Pass Coverage

a. Zone

1. Two-deep or Three-deep zone coverage only.

2. Safety rotation to curl/flat only. In Base, Under/Cover-6 will be a zone call that allows the free safety to rotate to the weak-side of the offensive formation. In Sub, Even/Cover-3 will be a zone call that allows the strong safety to rotate to the strong-side of the offensive formation. No safeties are allowed to insert or switch coverage responsibility with the linebacker assigned to his side (no “buzz” rotation allowed).

3. The deep middle safety must be aligned between the hash-marks when the ball is snapped.

b. Man-to-Man 1. Man coverage with a free safety only. Press technique is permitted.

2. Safety rotation will mirror movement in zone coverages. In Base, Under/Cover-1 Weak will be a man call that allows the free safety to rotate to the open-side of the formation with the strong safety in the middle-of-the-field. In Sub, Even/Cover-1 Strong will be a man call that allows the strong safety to rotate to the closed-side of the formation with the free safety in the middle-of-the-field.

3. The deep middle safety must be aligned between the hash-marks when the ball is snapped.

4. The safety that is not playing the middle one-third must have a specific man-to-man coverage assignment. He is only permitted to “free-up” if his man blocks.

III. SPECIAL TEAMS

a. Kick-off/Kick-off Return
Kickoffs will only occur at the beginning of the first and third quarters and each team will kick off once. All other drives will start on the 25-yard line.

b. Punt/Punt Return

1. No Restrictions on the Punting team.
2. Fake punt attempts are not permitted.
3. Punt return:

i. No more than six (6) players may rush on punts and only three (3) to each side.

ii. Single press outside on the gunner/forcer is allowed. Double press is not allowed. The second defender who is assigned to the gunner/forcer must align at least five (5) yards off the line of scrimmage.

c. P.A.T./Field Goal i. No restrictions on the kicking team.

ii. Defensive team may rush no more than seven (7) players. The rush is limited to one (1) man on the center and three (3) on either side of the ball.

iii. Snaps for P.A.T. • Extra points: 15-yard line

• 2-point conversions: 2-yard line

iv. Fake field goal and extra point attempts are not permitted.

v. Teams must attempt a two-point conversion following any touchdowns scored during the second quarter.

IV. TIMING

a. A two-minute warning will occur at the end of each quarter and NFL 2-minute timing rules will be in effect.

b. Teams will get two timeouts per quarter with no carryovers.

c. Play clock will be 40/25

d. Halftime will be 15 minutes in length

V. POSSESSION

Possession to start each quarter will follow the format below:

• 1st quarter: A (receive kickoff)

• 2nd quarter: B (25 yard line)

• 3rd quarter: B (receive kickoff)

• 4th quarter: A (25 yard line)

Following a team score that is trailing by 20+ points, that team will maintain possession of the ball.

IV. REPLAY

There will be no instant replay reviews.

 

 

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