Official Rule Book. rev 9/19/2014
Game Prep & XP Spending
Chew Clock & No Huddle Feature
Roster Minimums, Free Agency & Position Changes
Various Locations - “Xbox 360 to Xbox One”
Cheating update - “Reporting infractions”
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. National Madden League Mission Statement and League Overview
II. Ownership Rules
IIIi. Gameplay Rules
IV. Trade Rules
V. Draft Rules
VI. Power Bowl and Awards
VII. All-Star Bowl
VIII. NML Leadership
IX. Hall of Fame
X. League Resources
The National Madden League was founded as a league amongst friends who enjoy the sport of football and the video game, EA Sports Madden Football. Our aim is to run a competitive but friendly league focused on the enjoyment of league owners as well as outside observers. The NML is unique in that it puts fair play and camaraderie ahead of winning and is also a league that requires year round attention. Owners have the opportunity to run a football team as they so choose in hopes of winning the coveted Sammy Baugh Power Bowl Trophy.
League name is the National Madden League (NML), played using XBOX ONE.
The two conference names are the Federal Football Conference and the United Football Conference.
There is one acting Commissioner
There is one acting Deputy Commissioner
There are two acting Conference Presidents
The Championship game is called the Power Bowl and goes numerically like the Super Bowl. (i.e. Power Bowl I, Power Bowl II, Power Bowl III, etc.)
The championship trophy is called the Sammy Baugh Trophy.
The league depends on reliable, dependable owners. Sportsmanship and courtesy is also expected.
Any person may own a team. After reviewing the person’s application for ownership, every owner shall vote on any new owners. The Commissioner will be the tie breaking vote should there be a tie. In certain instances the NML Leadership may appoint a new owner without a league vote. This special circumstance is most likely just prior to draft, such as draft day when a quick vote is difficult.
Only one team per owner.
An owner may only switch ownership to another team if that team is “for sale”. If this occurs the owner shall take over not only the team name but the team roster. There is no moving of rosters from one team to another.
When a team is vacated, existing owners will get priority to sell their current team and takeover the existing. This will be completed by a vote between the Leadership team and the outgoing owner, if the owner leaves on good terms. A majority vote is needed.
Owners do not have to use the default playbook for their franchise. Defensive playbooks are also at the discretion of the owner.
Owners are encouraged to set up their own user profile. User profiles consist of your own audibles and your own controller settings. Your user profile can be loaded up at the team select screen prior to a game.
Fractional ownership is not allowed in the NML.
Owners will need to purchase the newest version of Madden NFL by EA Sports for the XBOX One prior to the start of the season.
Owners must also have a monthly subscription to XBOX Live in order to play their games online.
Owners are expected to adhere to all league rules. Failure to do so is subject from removal from the league.
Each team owner is responsible for anything they want posted on their team’s web pages. Weekly write ups are HIGHLY encouraged.
III. Gameplay Rules
CCM / League Setup
Season’s will be played in the Online Franchise Mode / CFM.
Fatigue and Injuries shall be on.
Accelerated clock shall be off.
All-Star mode shall be used.
All other options are at the discretion of NML Leadership
Weekly Game Schedule
The official NML Schedule runs from Sunday night at 12:00 EST until Sunday night 12:00 EST. Please have all games completed in this time frame. The league will be advanced sometime early on Monday mornings. Times may fluctuate as we have a buffer time in order to produce game stats, game articles and other content based on the event of the week.
There may be some modification of the Weekly Game Schedule made by the NML Leadership for Official Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays where travel to be with ones family is typical.
In the case of a disconnection, there is always the option to replay the game. In certain cases, it will be at the discretion of the leading owner as explained below:
If a game is disconnected at any point and 1 team is leading by 28 or more points, the leading team can choose to restart the game vs. the other owner or vs. the CPU. Any lead 27 points or less is a full restart.
If a game is disconnected in the 3rd Quarter and 1 team is leading by 21 or more points, the leading team can choose to restart the game vs. the other owner or vs. the CPU. Any lead 20 points or under is a full restart.
All 4th quarter disconnects will be now be handled under the "Run It Back" Rule. Owners will restart the game and "run it back" to the same score, time left, possession and Field Position at the time of the disconnect. To avoid disagreements, both owners should take a picture of the error message, score, time left, possession and field position(all when possible). If there is a discrepancy, immediately contact your division president for resolution. The game will then be played out until the end. Please refrain from over inflating any player's stats in this case. When possible, please allow the same players to do the scoring in the setup.
* To prevent logoffs and disconnects players will be able to tell from the beginning of a game if this will be a factor, if there is lag, try rebooting your XBOX One. DO IT EARLY ENOUGH INTO A GAME BEFORE ANY TEMPO OR SCORE HAS BEEN SET!!!!
All teams are required to meet the minimums at each position as dictated by Madden. Madden 15 currently requires the following.
It is the job of each owner to ensure that they have met these position requirements PRIOR to the League creation period before each season.
Position changes are not allowed in the NML. Any changes that are detected will result in that the player, or list of players will be added to the NML Commissioners Exempt list, and the players will be dropped from the owners team for the rest of the season. The owner may replace that player with anyone in Free Agency if they choose but the dropped player / players will count towards that teams 53 player maximum unless cut in the forums. Any further infractions by that owner will result in the removal from the NML.
No game cheats, unfair play, or unethical conduct will be tolerated as this league is built around friendly competition. The penalty for cheating is automatic and permanent dismissal from the NML.
Cheats vs. Tactics
Cheats and tactics can often be confused because of the multiple levels of players in the NML. Some “tactics” can be perceived as a “Game Cheat” or “Unfair Play” but they simply are not. They may seem impossible to stop or beat but in reality, there is a counter that can defeat that specific “tactic”.
A cheat is something that simply can’t be countered by anyone. It often is based on some type of game or AI manipulation that unfortunately is made unstoppable on accident by EA. An example from the past would be Nano Blitzes. If you are knowingly using a “cheat” and are caught, you will be dismissed from the NML.
There will be a forum created for Official “Game Cheats” that will be populated by the NML Leadership, these plays or tactics will be banned. If you know of a current “Cheat” or “Unfair Play” Item, please submit that information for review. If you consider it to be a serious infraction, take a photo, video or other evidence and contact any of the League Leadership immediately.
If any “cheats” or “glitches” are utilized during a season matchup, please either record the infraction via video or picture, pause the game, and immediately contact your Conference President for further instruction. If the Conference President is unavailable, please escalate through the Deputy Commissioner then finally to the NML Commissioner directly.
League officials have provided a real-time online and always available spreadsheet which is the Master Roster sheet for the league. Any team can check their rosters to find out exactly how many players they have at any time. The spreadsheet will be updated as frequently as possible.
If any team, at any time goes above 53 players the League official who is assigned to keeping the spreadsheet updated will auto-cut the lowest overall rated player on the offending team. An email will be sent to the owner notifying them of who was cut with the subject of Auto-Cut, no other explanation is needed. Multiple infringements may be addressed by fining the offending team with a draft pick, starting at their last available pick.
The Auto-cut guidelines:
Lowest Rated will be cut first, using the current EA Ratings in use by the league.
If Tie Alphabetical by Lastname then Firstname.
No regard to Position, nor years pro will be considered.
Game Prep & XP Spending
The NML prefers to play with stock player ratings. For the past few seasons there was the advent of the XP system to give the ability of players to spend XP to upgrade player ratings. This season there is a new feature called Game Prep. This feature allows for XP Gain as well as a new system for Confidence boosting. Both XP and Confidence is gained through regular gameplay as well as through the Game Prep system. Confidence boosts, after a player reaches certain Confidence thresholds will temporarily boost, or lower different ratings for that player. The sway we have seen is approx 2-4 points in whichever category. XP Spending has been barred for use in the NML. Confidence gains are however automatic and not able to be blocked by the League Settings. So, for this, the NML’s position is that normal Confidence gaining via regular weekly matchups is by default allowed but entering the Game Prep section and using the skill trainers to gain confidence for your players is not allowed. There is a history section that shows all Confidence gains and how those gains were received
If any owner spends XP or attempts to gain Confidence points via the Game Prep, that player, or list of players will be added to the NML Commissioners Exempt list, and the players will be dropped from the owners team for the rest of the season. The owner may replace that player with anyone in Free Agency if they choose but the dropped player / players will count towards that teams 53 player maximum unless cut in the forums. Any further infractions by that owner will result in the removal from the NML.
New in Madden 15 are two additional features. Chew Clock and No Huddle. While both of these new features have their place and function, it has been determined through testing, that the NML will not allow these features to be used during the 2014-2015 season. The Chew Clock feature will run the clock down in the background between plays. While this can be useful in blow-out games we have found that since the location of this Chew Clock option is not overly clear, it could be used without the defensive player even noticing. Running off the clock is a perfectly legal tactic in the NML but must be done manually, by either sitting in the play call screen or on the field prior to snap. In the same vein, the No Huddle Feature will be allowed manually by pressing the "Y" button on your controller immediately following your play (as done in previous years). This feature has an ill fated side effect that can allow for otherwise illegal personnel packages to take the field.
If either of these new features are utilized during a season matchup, please either record the infraction via video or picture, pause the game, and immediately contact your Conference President for further instruction. If the Conference President is unavailable, please escalate through the Deputy Commissioner then finally to the NML Commissioner directly.
All trades are allowed, unless a majority vote of the NML Leadership strikes it down. If this happens, then a league wide vote is conducted by all owners.
You may trade player for player or players for draft pick(s).
Draft Picks may only be traded for the current season and the following season.
The trade deadline for each season is the half way mark. This will be after Week 8.
Only players currently on a NML team and noted in the Master Roster will be available for trade until the Free Agency period is opened.
A trade is not considered Official until it is posted on the NML Forums
The draft will take place at a time and place determined by the NML Commissioner and typically voted on by all owners.
While the NML Leadership is charged with keeping track of the Master Roster it is each team responsibility to keep their roster information correct from one season to the next. At various times the League will request that each owner certify their rosters are correct. If you encounter any issues make them known immediately.
While the Commissioner will make every effort possible to keep a Master Sheet for Draft Picks and keep track of them, errors do arise. At various times the League will request that each owner certify their draft picks are correct. If you encounter any issues make them known immediately.
The draft will always be available both in person and via the internet.
The draft order is determined by first generating the order for the first round. That order is based generally on each team's regular season record, with the exception of the two Power Bowl contestants, who are placed at the end of the draft order. Tiebreakers and specifics are as follows:
Any expansion team automatically gets the first pick; if there are two expansion teams, a coin toss determines who picks first; the other team will pick second in the expansion draft.
The winners of the Power Bowl are given the last selection, and the losers the penultimate selection.
Teams that made the playoffs are then ordered by which round of the playoffs they are eliminated.
Teams that did not make the playoffs are ordered by their regular-season record.
Remaining ties are broken by strength of schedule. For draft order, a lower strength of schedule results in an earlier pick. If strength of schedule does not resolve a tie, division and/or conference tiebreakers may be used. If the tie still cannot be broken, a coin toss at the NML Combine is used to determine draft order. (Note: Strength of schedule is the combined records of a team's 16 opponents, including games played against the team in question, and counting divisional opponents twice. Because of this, each team's opponents' combined wins and losses—counting a tie as a half-win, half-loss—will add up to 256, so a team whose opponents had more combined wins has a better strength of schedule.)
Barring any expansion teams entering the league, the first overall draft pick goes to the team with the worst record in the previous season.
Once the order for the first round is determined, generally speaking and barring other arrangements, the selection order remains the same for subsequent rounds. However, teams with the same record within the same status group "cycle" picks in each subsequent round. For example, if Arizona, Minnesota, Houston, and Philadelphia all finished 8–8, and picked in that order in the first round. In the second round, the order became Minnesota, Houston, Philadelphia, and Arizona. That cycling continues through all seven rounds.
Each team has its representatives attend the draft. During the draft, one team is always "on the clock." If a team does not make a decision within its allotted time, the team still can submit its selection at any time after its time is up, but the next team can pick before it, thus possibly stealing a player the later team may have been eyeing.
Teams may negotiate with one another both before and during the draft for the right to pick an additional player in a given round. For example, a team may include draft picks in future drafts in order to acquire a player during a trading period. Teams may also make negotiations during the draft relinquishing the right to pick in a given round for the right to have an additional pick in a later round. Thus teams may have no picks or multiple picks in a given round.
The commissioner has the ability to forfeit picks the team is allotted in a draft. For example, when Seattle traded a pick twice for the 2011 draft they had to give up their next highest pick to the Saints in which they traded the pick to (the second time). Reason’s shy of banishment from the league would be cause for a team to be forced to lose picks. To date this has not occurred.
If there are expansion teams, then it is up to the NML Leadership to determine how they enter.
The draft shall be 7 rounds long.
Any player not currently on a NML team as noted in the Master Spreadsheet is available to be drafted as long as the player is either In the current year’s Draft, or has been Drafted in the Past in either the NFL or any other professional football league. ie. You can use any draft pick to draft a Free Agent should you like to.
Draft Pick Limit
The NFL does not limit the amount of draft picks that are acquired by a particular team, thus the NML will not limit the amount of draft picks that any team is allowed to acquire. We will however ask that teams that have a multitude of draft picks be ready and prepared for the draft and not extend the amount of time taken for each pick.
NML Draft Round Time Limits
The following is the amount of time each pick per round can take.
Round 1 10 Minutes per Pick
Round 2 7 Minutes per Pick
Rounds 3-7 5 Minutes per Pick
* Please keep in mind when drafting to be respectful of other owners time.
“If a team does not make a decision within its allotted time, the team still can submit its selection at any time after its time is up, but the next team can pick before it, thus possibly stealing a player the later team may have been eyeing.
IX. NML Leadership
There will be one acting League Commissioner. The commissioner does not have to be a team owner. It can be an outside and therefore totally unbiased person.
A new commissioner will be needed when the acting commissioner voluntarily steps down, or is voted out. There is no limit to how long a commissioner can hold the position.
To vote out a League Commissioner by a vote of no confidence, the two conference presidents have to agree to do so, and send the vote to the owners. A vote of 67% or more of all owners is needed to remove the acting commissioner.
Anyone can apply to become the new commissioner, even an outside, independent person. Whoever gets the majority of the vote by all owners is the new acting commissioner.
The commissioner is responsible for overseeing the continuity and well being of the league.
Current Commissioner is Ron Edele (2012-Present) who replaced Brandon Fisher (2003-2012)
NML Deputy Commissioner
There will be one acting Deputy Commissioner who is appointed by the acting NML Commissioner.
The acting Deputy Commissioner can only be named, removed or replaced by the Commissioner
The acting Deputy Commissioner will be a liaison between the various Owners and Conference Presidents
The acting Deputy Commissioner will be a part of and vote in all NML Leadership matters.
The acting Deputy Commissioner will act as “Acting Commissioner” for any reason when the Commissioner is unable to fulfil his or her duties.
The current NML Deputy Commissioner is Stephen Long of the Indianapolis Colts
NML Conference Presidents
There will be 2 Conference Presidents, 1 for the FFC and 1 for the UFC
Conference Presidents will be appointed by the acting NML Commissioner
Conference Presidents will be part of and vote in all NML Leadership matters.
Conference Presidents will act as a liaison between owners within their Conferences and the NML Commissioner
The Conference Presidents are primary points of contact for any issues that occur with scheduling, roster issues, draft pick tracking and other issues.
* Please do not escalate to Deputy Commissioner or League Commissioner unless proper attention is not being given by the Conference Presidents.
The current UFC President is Joe Decker of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The current FFC President is Bill Hoyt of the Dallas Cowboys
* There are many tasks in maintaining the NML. The Commissioner has the liberty to appoint owners and non-owners to assist in any of these tasks such as Hall of Fame, Roster Tracking, Draft Pick Tracking.
VII. Power Bowl and Awards
The Power Bowl logo will be determined by a vote of all owners. All are encouraged to submit their own logo designs to be voted on. The logo should be reflective of the city in which it is to be played.
The winner of the Power Bowl will claim the prestigious Sammy Baugh Trophy. The trophy will be presented to the Power Bowl winner at the annual draft. The champion will keep the trophy up until the start of the next regular season. It will then be returned to the commissioner. The Sammy Baugh Trophy will be engraved from season to season to reflect the winners.
The MVP award will be awarded to the player who has accomplished the most throughout the season. The MVP will be voted upon by all owners.
Player of the Week Award is recognition on the website of the player that accomplished the most that week of play. There shall be an Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week.
The Coach of the Year award is to be given to the coach who has accomplished the most throughout the regular season. This award is to be voted on by all owners after the end of the regular season, but before the start of the playoffs. This award will be voted on by all owners.
Rookie of the Year award is given to the first year player who had the most impact for their team throughout the season. This award will be voted on by all owners.
The All-Star Bowl will be played during the NML Draft weekend following the most recent season.
The Teams will be the UFC vs FFC All-Stars.
The rosters for the All-Star Bowl will be produced and allowed for votes prior to the NML Draft Weekend.
The All-Star Bowl will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. This game will be played the day before the draft.
A player must be out of the league for two consecutive years to be eligible for a Hall of Fame induction.
When a player becomes eligible, he must be nominated by one of the owners or commissioner.
The leading vote getter will be automatically voted into the Hall. All others will need “enough” votes as decided worthy by the commissioner.
NML stats are to be used to gauge Hall of Fame eligibility, not real world NFL stats.
Non-players can also be elected to the Hall of Fame. Owners or even non-owners are eligible to Hall of Fame induction if they have been in the league a total of 5 years or more. He/she must be nominated by one of the owners or commissioner
Official NML Website: www.nationalmaddenleague.com
NML Chat Room: Link at bottom of League Website
NML Forums: Link at bottom of League Website
NML Master Roster:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Aq-FCWZUHgkAdFlmQVAzc0pTMS1MTEhEZ0djWXpSREE
NML Master Picks: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AsxfcfAlQxWQdFdUcHpGMWV2b3lIYmQ4MWo1ZzI2UlE&output=html
NML Owners List: Available upon registering then logging into the website. Protected for security concerns of public info.
NML Article Engine: Used for submitting articles. Found on the website after registering and logging in.
For assistance, to most of these resources, feel free to contact Stephen Long, Owner of the Indianapolis Colts