This is still a work in progress and it likely always will be, as new ideas and changes in our understanding of how the game works are always occurring. New or changed sections for this season are highlighted in yellow.


League Concept

Participants will be playing the part of a “GM”, putting together and maintaining a team over several seasons. Teams will be maintained through free agency and the draft with the possibility of trades in the future. Hopefully it will be possible to mimic the natural rise and fall of franchises as the various teams change with time.


For discussion purposes player positions are designated as follows:

QB (quarterback), FB (fullback), HB (halfback), RB (generic running back), SE (split end), FL (flanker), TE1 (starting tight end), TE2 (tight end 2), TE3 (tight end 3), TE (generic tight end), WR3 (wide receiver 3), WR (generic wide receiver), LT (left offensive tackle), LG (left guard), C (center), RG (right guard), RT (right offensive tackle), OL (generic offensive line), K (kicker), P (punter), KR (kick returner), PR (punt returner), LE (left defensive end), LDT (left defensive tackle), L or R/NT (left or right nose tackle), RDT (right defensive tackle), RE (right defensive end), DL (generic defensive line), LOLB (left outside linebacker), LILB (left inside linebacker), L or RMLB (left or right middle linebacker), RILB (right inside linebacker), ROLB (right outside linebacker), LB (generic linebacker), LCB (left cornerback), RCB (right cornerback), SS (strong safety), FS (free safety), Five (nickel back), Dime (dime back), DB (generic defensive back).

At linebacker a team may have a LILB and a RMLB or a RILB and a LMLB. On the defensive line a team may have a LDT and a R/NT or a RDT and a L/NT.


Although I think I have covered most situations, any situations which arise that are not covered by these rules will be dealt with by new or changed rules as necessary.


Following is a list in alphabetical order of how different areas of the league will be handled.


Bailey Rule

Since we are not bound by the physical requirements of humans actually playing football games the final playoff spots between teams with equal records are not determined by tie-breakers but by playoff games between the teams involved. No team with an equivalent won-loss record will be eliminated from the playoffs without a chance to play for the spot. There is one exception to this, the Berkeley Exemption. The Berkeley Exemption states that the Bailey Rule does not apply to division titles. Division titles are determined by normal tie-breakers. The team that loses in the tie-breaker steps for the division title must make the playoffs based on its record in comparison with other wild card teams. See the Tie-Breakers.html spreadsheet for more details.


Bonus Years

A team is awarded “bonus years” for each round of the playoffs they reach. A maximum of ten1 bonus years can be earned in any given season.


Rules For Awarding Bonus Years

Years

1 - Bailey Rule Qualify – For teams that qualify for the playoffs by the Bailey Rule but do not win a playoff game

2 - Bailey Rule Win - For teams that qualify for the playoffs by the Bailey Rule and win a playoff game

4 - First Round – For teams that reach the final four playoff teams in a conference

6 - Conference Championship – For teams that reach the final two playoff teams in a conference

8 - NAXFL Championship – For teams that reach the NAXFL Championship Game

10 - Champion – For the NAXFL Championship

1 – Division champions are awarded one additional bonus year in addition to those awarded for the playoffs


1 Plus one bonus year for division champions

Note: The bonus years, except for the point for the division champions, have been recalculated back to season one (2006-2007).


Teams are only awarded one level of Bonus Years, not points for each level they reach. For instance, the NAXFL Champion only receives the ten bonus years for winning the championship, not an additional eight for the conference championship and so on.

Each bonus year accumulated can only be used once by a team in one of the following two ways:

1. If a team goes over the Years Cap (see 'Years Cap') they must decide to cut players to get below it or use bonus years to raise it (or a combination of the two). The bonus year(s) used is only good for that season and the Years Cap is reset at 196 after the season ends. Teams may extend their cap a maximum of eight years using bonus years in any given season.

2. Bonus years may be used to make up differences in trade points in any trades (See 'Trades').

Once a team uses a bonus year for any purpose it is gone. Teams that trade for bonus years may use them as if they had acquired them normally.


Coaching Options

Once the team is set up there will be limited coaching options. The computer coach will control both teams during the games. The team “GM’s” will be able to change coaching options before a game (conservative, balanced or aggressive for the offense and/or defense). The GM will select replacements for injured starters and can make changes to the starting lineup prior to a game. If the GM has done his job setting up the team will perform well, if not, he can continue experimenting with the lineup in hopes of getting a better performance.


College Teams

There are now twelve “college” teams playing a total of 10 games each. After each season their players will be available to the league teams for a seven round player draft (see ‘Draft’). After each season ten players from each team will be randomly selected as having “graduated” and will become free agents if not drafted. In addition, each team will be able to select three additional player to “graduate”. Further, to keep college teams from accumulating players that are essentially undraftable due to poor skills, players that are below average in all skills will become free agents after two seasons and players that are tied or below average on a majority of skills will become free agents after three seasons. Any players remaining on a college roster after the draft or “graduation” will have one skill increased one point for the next season. Players lost by college teams to the draft or to “graduation” will be replaced by unused players from other original XOR teams and/or "created" players.


Developmental Rule

In order to allow for some development of lesser players, the lowest rated player at each position will have a skill* increased by 1 point after the season ends, as long as there are a minimum number of players at that position. Thus a GM may choose to draft an extra player at a position (a second kicker, a third string QB, etc.) in order to hold them for a season and have them take over the next season. These improvements will be done by the league, although a GM may make particular requests. The lowest rated player at the position will be the player improved. In cases where particular offenses or defenses use non-standard numbers of players, a determination# will be made as to how many and at what position(s) players will be improved.

* In some cases the speed will be improved by 0.1 seconds rather than a skill improved.

The positions which can be allocated an extra skill point are shown below:
POS - DEPTH CHART
QB - 3

RB - 5
TE - 4
WR - 6
OL - 8
DL - 7
LB - 7
DB - 9
K - 2
P - 2

# If there are over twelve RB+TE+WR up to three players will be improved. If there are over twenty DL+LB+DB up to three players will be improved.


Draft

After each season there will be a seven round draft of “college” players (see ‘College Teams’). Although there will be a number of players per college team designated as “graduating” teams may draft any of the 49 players on any college team’s roster. These players will be used to improve weak areas on your team and replace players that “cost” more against the years cap (see ‘Player Career Length and Roster Limits’).

The draft order will be in inverse order of record for non-playoff teams followed by the order teams were ousted from the playoffs with the last team picking being the Championship Game winner. Any ties in the selection order will be broken using standard tiebreakers (see ‘Tie-Breakers’).

After the seven round College Draft there will be a four round pre-preseason free agent draft. After the preseason games there will be a four round post-preseason free agent draft.
The final post-preseason free agent draft may be extended for a team if that team is unable to reach their Years Cap. However, there are severe penalties. One, a player on the roster with the maximum number of years, or with at least enough years to reach the cap, must be cut before making each pick. Two, it will cost one bonus year for each extra draft round needed.

The players cut will be available in a supplemental draft, starting in regular draft order. When a team picks that player, they must cut a player, who then becomes available to the remaining teams in the draft, and so on until the end of the round is reached.

Needless to say, only gross mismanagement by a GM will bring a team to this point so it should never happen.


Free Agents

It is necessary for GM’s to manage rosters with consideration of the total years cap (see ‘Player Career Length and Roster Limits’). In order to do this careful manipulation of rosters by cutting veterans and adding new college draft picks and free agents will be necessary.

After each season there will be a seven round draft of “college” players (see ‘College Teams’). Prior to the draft there will be ten college players from each team selected at random as “graduating”. In addition, to keep college teams from accumulating players that are essentially undraftable due to poor skills, players that are below average in all skills will become free agents after two seasons and players that are tied or below average on a majority of skills will become free agents after three seasons. In addition, each college team may choose three other players to “graduate” each season. Any of these graduated players who are not drafted in the college draft will become free agents.

Any players cut from a NAXFL roster and any college players who have “graduated” but have not been drafted by a NAXFL team become free agents. A player who becomes a free agent and does not make another NAXFL roster in the next two seasons will be “retired” and removed permanently from the list of available players. Taxi squad players are considered to remain as free agents if they do not become part of a team's regular roster, although they will have their retirement delayed one season (once only) if they accumulate stats during their season on a taxi squad.

After the college draft and before the preseason games there will be a free agent draft that will have available any free agents from previous seasons as well as any undrafted “graduated” players from college teams.

The preseason free agent draft will consist of a four round draft of any free agents available.

A second free agent draft will be held at the conclusion of the preseason after the years cap and the 49 player roster limit has been reinstated (See ‘Rosters and Preseason Games’). The draft order for this draft will follow the college draft order.

A player "graduating" college and/or becoming a free agent will accumulate years whether or not they are on a NAXFL team roster.


Injury Rule

I will send the preliminary injury report for the next game out as soon as possible after each game. These are not final, they may change when closer scrutiny is applied while I do the full stats for each game, but they should be close enough for a GM to begin planning for the next game.

See Injury2014.html document.


Managing a Team

It is expected that participants make their best effort to win games and make the playoffs. If it is determined at any time that a GM is not making any effort to improve his team the team may be taken over and run by the league. It is usually not enough to simply choose a lineup and play the whole season with that setup. Other teams will be making adjustments and what works early in the season often starts to fail as the season progresses. The championship game is usually played between teams that get their setup perfected just in time to qualify for the playoffs.

There is nothing a GM can do once a game starts but there are things that can be done before a game.

The most obvious is changing the coaching choice. A team can be conservative, balanced or aggressive on either offense or defense. It may take several tries to pick the mix that best suits the talent you have on the roster. You need to find the ones that work with the players you have and not get stuck on the coaching choice you want to use.

The second thing a GM can do is change the starting lineups. This can be something major, like taking a player out of the lineup and trying another player as a starter, although you generally want to keep your best players in the lineup. Sometimes a player on the bench causes injury issues with a starter and you need to hide him in a starting spot that gets used less frequently. Usually, the most successful teams find a more subtle change results in their team suddenly improving. A different kick returner, a couple LB's switching places from the outside to the inside, a CB switching to a safety spot, switching the HB and FB around, etc. A simple move may be all it takes to put your team over the top.

I will attempt to get the videos of the previous game up on YouTube within a few days of the game in order to allow GM's more time to study the game. In any case, the videos will be up at least 36 hours before the next game, assuming that the actual recording of the videos occurred without any issues.

Even on a team playing perfectly well, a GM will have to make adjustments to the lineup for injuries. If there is an injured player, at least 36 hours prior to a game, a team's GM will receive an e-mail with the injury list, the details on replacement of deactivated injured players by taxi squad players and the suggested changes to the lineup to replace the injured player. GM's are not required to accept those suggestions, but if they do not respond by game time with their own changes the suggested replacements will be used.


New Entries into the League

At this time the league has its full complement of twenty teams. Any new participants will be taking over an existing team.


Player Career Length and Roster Limits

This rule is intended to create a natural progression of change in rosters leading towards a balance of veteran and younger players on each team with a maximum of variability. It is based on the average NFL career length being 4 years. Actually the average is slightly less but we’ll go with 4.

Understanding this section is critical to long term success in the league!

Teams have 49 roster spots times 4 years equals a cap of 196 total career years for a roster. What this means is the total number of years added together of all the players on the roster cannot exceed 196 unless a team has “bonus” years (See 'Bonus Years' and 'Years Cap'). There is also a six player taxi squad (see Taxi Squads), but their years do not count towards the regular season years cap.

Any college players start at one year once they are league eligible either by being drafted or by becoming a free agent (see ‘Free Agents’) except as noted below.

Rosters must be at forty-nine players for the regular season plus a six player taxi squad.

There is no longer a maximum career length. You can keep a player as long as you can afford to fit him under your Years Cap. A player's years will accumulate one year per season from the first season they were in the league or available to the league as a free agent whether or not they were on a league roster. There will be two exceptions to this:

After each season is complete each team will have their six taxi squad players added to their season roster of forty-nine players for a total of fifty-five players on each roster. Up to seventeen players may be cut to bring the roster down to the Years Cap, assuming the team has not traded away any draft picks. If they have traded acquired or traded away draft picks, the formula is forty nine minus the number of college and pre-preseason free agent draft picks they have available. The drafts during the preseason are used to bring rosters back up to forty-nine players, but the Years Cap of 196 years must be reached by the start of the regular season.

Player Position Changes

Realistically, players who reach the “pro” level have and need skills so specialized they are rarely capable of successfully changing positions. Therefore any such changes are limited to those specified in the “Player Position Changes” document.


Position Minimums

While there is a great deal of flexibility allowed with the setting of rosters there are certain minimums required to keep the game from crashing.

QB – All teams must have a minimum of two QB's on the roster at all times.

K – A team must have at least one K on the roster.

P – A team must have at least one P on the roster.

RB – A team must have a minimum of two RB's on the roster.

WR – A team must have a minimum of four WR's on the roster, with at least one WR on the bench.

TE – There is no minimum for TE's.

RB +WR+TE – A team must have a combination of at least thirteen RB + WR +TE on the roster.

C – All teams must have a minimum of two C's on the roster at all times. At least one C must be available on the bench for injury replacement.

OL – A C can play any OL spot in addition to C, but an OL cannot play C. Teams must have at combination of at least eight OL+C, with at least two C among them (one C on the bench), on the roster.

DL – A team must have a minimum of four DL's on the roster, with at least one DL on the bench.

LB – A team must have a minimum of four LB's on the roster, with at least one LB on the bench.

DB – A team must have a minimum of nine DB's on the roster, with at least two DB's on the bench.

Defense - In addition to the above minimum limits on defensive players, the following combinations of positions are required.

DL + LB – A team must have a combination of at least ten DL + LB on the roster, with at least one LB and ond DL on the bench.

LB + DB – A team must have a combination of at least fourteen LB + DB on the roster, with at least one LB and two DB's on the bench.


Rosters and Preseason Games

Teams must start the regular season with rosters at 49 players plus a six player taxi squad (see Taxi Squads).

After the post season ends rosters will be updated by having each roster and free agent players' years increased by one. If this brings a roster over the years cap (see ‘Player Career Length and Roster Limits’) that team must cut players until they are at or under the years cap, with a minimum number of players equivalent to forty nine minus the number of college and pre-preseason free agent draft picks they have available left on the roster. Any players cut are entered into the free agent pool available to any team in the free agent drafts. The period for this will be determined by the course of our season's progress.

There will be six preseason games before each regular season. These games may be meaningful as team dynamics change with new roster additions and it is wise to experiment to discover the best setup before the regular season starts.

Rosters will be maintained at 49 players for the regular and post seasons. Rosters may be expanded during the college and free agent drafts before the preseason games until the preseason games end. At that point rosters must be cut back to 49 players.

The years cap is temporarily suspended for the period between the start of the college draft until the final preseason cuts. Teams must start the season with rosters at or under the years cap. The Years Cap can be disregarded for any moves made during the regular and post seasons (taxi squad substitutions or trades).

It is suggested that rosters be cut to 49 players for the preseason games unless you are genuinely trying to choose between two players for a roster spot. The preseason games are for determining your team's optimum setup. There are no injuries (except for in game injuries controlled by the computer) and there is no need to rest computer players. Using players that have no chance of making your final roster only hinders your efforts to determine the best setup for your roster.

After the preseason ends there will be another free agent draft of four rounds as teams may decide to cut players on their roster in exchange for those cut by others. This may especially be the case if older teams are forced to release quality players in order to fit under the years cap. Since rosters are set at 49 at this point a player must be cut for each free agent chosen in the draft. The cut player immediately becomes a free agent eligible to be drafted. A team may pass at any point during the free agent drafts.
Once the final rosters are set the six player taxi squads will be assigned.


Running of Games

This is the simple part.

The games will be played with computer coaches using the log mode (games manually scheduled and run using nfl /l with the coaching persona set at the start of the games (before the kickoff) to advanced for both teams). The computer will play all pre and regular season games in extra fast mode. Playoff games will be played at regular speed. There will be no manual changes or input made to the games in progress (occasionally “f” may be used to freeze the games if necessary or “r” may be used to look at stats) and once the program starts all coaching moves, play calls and substitutions will be made by and at the discretion of the computer coaches. I will attempt to record all games for YouTube but I cannot guarantee that this will be successful. Completed games will not be replayed if recording fails.


The slate of games for a given week may be split and run in two or more sets depending on time or other issues. The program writes the results to the STATS.LOG file at the conclusion of each game. If there are any program, PC, power or other issues that cause the program to be halted before all games are completed only those games that have finished and have been completely written to the STATS.LOG file will be counted. All others will be replayed in their entirety.


Taxi Squads

A taxi squad consists of six players, a QB, an OL or a C, a RB, a receiver (WR or TE), a DL or LB and a DB. After all final rosters have been set the taxi squad will be assigned to each team in the following manner.
All remaining free agents will be ranked by rating. Using the same order as the college draft, a team will be assigned whichever QB, OL, C, RB, WR, TE, DL, LB or DB comes up first in the ranking. The following round they are assigned the highest ranked other than the categories they received in the previous rounds. This continues for six rounds until all taxi squads are filled. There is then a round where GM's may exchange a player on their taxi squad for another free agent in the same category, for instance a QB for another QB or a TE for a WR, etc.
Taxi squad players are used only in the following manner.
When a team has an injured player (See
Injury Rule) only the taxi squad player in that category will replace the injured player on the active roster and only until the injured player is ready to return to the active roster. They cannot get a permanent place on the active roster unless a player suffers a season ending injury. If a QB is hurt the taxi squad QB is activated. If a C or any other OL is hurt the taxi squad OL is activated. Note, if a C is hurt and there is not a backup C, the taxi squad OL is activated as a C, regardless of whether they are a C or not. If a RB is hurt the taxi squad RB is activated. If a WR or TE is hurt the taxi squad WR or TE (regardless of which particular position they are) is activated. If a DL or LB is hurt the taxi squad DL or LB (regardless of which particular position they are) is activated. If a DB is hurt the taxi squad DB is activated.
Taxi squad players do not count against the Years Cap during the regular season. However, after the regular season ends they become part of the full roster and may be kept or cut in the process of getting a team under the Years Cap.


Tie-Breakers

See Tie-Breakers.html spreadsheet.


Trades

Trades will be allowed with the following conditions:

They will be have to be equal in trade points and all position minimums must be observed.

Bonus years (See 'Bonus Years') may be traded with players to make up differences in trade points in any given deal.

There will be four trading periods this season.

One, a brief pre-draft trading period for the ten days before the College Draft while teams are making cuts to get under the Years Cap.

Two, starting with the start of the College Draft and ending when the final post-preseason free agent draft pick is made or passed on.

College draft picks will have trade points assigned not by player, but by position drafted. At the start of the college draft all available players will be ranked in descending order by trade points. The top 140 will have their trade points assigned to their position in the ranking, regardless of whether or not that player is actually drafted at that position. The same method will be used for the free agent drafts, with the difference that only the top 80 will be used.
Three, after Week (Game) Four in the regular season there will be a three week (until Game Eight starts) trading period. During this trading period teams must remain under or at the Years Cap (bonus years, if available, may be used to raise the cap to the maximum of 206).

Four, after Week (Game) Eight in the regular season there will be a three week (until Game Eleven starts) trading period. At this point, although any trades still have to be equal in trade points, a team may trade for a player that puts them over the Years Cap for the rest of the season with no penalty. This will allow weak teams that need to rebuild to trade a veteran player they no longer need to another team where he might help them take that extra step to the playoffs. However, teams will still be required to maintain the proper minimum number of players at all positions (see Position Minimums).


Trades of Draft Picks and Taxi Squad Players

Draft picks may be traded with the following restrictions:

1. Teams may trade no more than one college draft pick without receiving picks in return, In short, a team is required to have at least six college draft picks, although they may trade up and down in the draft.

2. No trade may be made for first round college draft picks that do not include an equal number of draft picks in return. Additional players and/or bonus years may be included to even up the trade points.

3. In the event that a team stockpiles enough Bonus Years to be able to purchase a player, draft picks may not be purchased.

4. Any midseason trades in which a team trades a player for a draft pick will necessitate promoting a player from their taxi squad to replace them. If the player traded has an automatic taxi squad replacement for injuries, that player is promoted, otherwise, the GM may choose a player to promote.

5. Any midseason trades in which a team trades a draft pick for a player will have an extra player on their roster and must assign a player to their taxi squad.


Years Cap

The Years Cap is set at 196 total years (See 'Player Career Length and Roster Limits'). At the end of the regular season every player on the roster and taxi squad has their years increased by at least one year. This will put most teams over the Years Cap. At this point teams must cut up to seventeen players (from the 49 roster players plus 6 taxi squad players) until they are under the cap.

The Years Cap may be extended a maximum of ten years by the use of bonus years (See 'Bonus Years').


SEASON SCHEDULE


01. The Years Cap for each team is reset to 196 years.

02. Years of individual players on rosters and all free agents are each increased by one (except for cases where additional years are added due to frequent injuries).
03. The Pre-Draft Trading Period. This is the first five days of the twelve day Years Cap cutting period.
04. Teams must cut players or use Bonus Years to get at or under the Years Cap if necessary.

05. College Draft – Seven Rounds – Rosters may be expanded and Years Cap is suspended. Trades are allowed.

04. Preseason Free Agent Draft – Four Rounds – Rosters may be expanded and Years Cap is suspended. Trades are allowed.

05. Non-mandatory player cuts. Recommended to cut players that have no chance of making final roster.. Trades are allowed.

06. Preseason games (six in total)

07. Mandatory player cuts to roster limit of 49. Trades are allowed.

08. Post-Preseason Free Agent Draft – Four Rounds - Each player chosen means one player must be cut to keep rosters at 49 players. Trades are allowed.

09. Years Cap reinstated – Teams must cut players or use Bonus Years to get at or under the Years Cap.

10. Penalty and Supplemental Drafts (if necessary) – Teams not able to reach the Years Cap are required to enter the penalty phase of the draft, which automatically institutes the supplemental draft as well (see Draft). Trades are allowed.

11. Final team rosters prepared. All teams must have 49 players and be at or under the Years Cap (including any bonus years used). No further trades are allowed.

12. Taxi Squad Assignations – Teams are assigned by player ratings and draft order the players for their taxi squads.

13. Regular Season

14. Playoffs & All Star Games