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After Further Review

Modified Clock

How does the "Modified Clock" work?


"Modified Clock" means that the clock will stop briefly as normal (incomplete pass, out of bounds) but will return to a running clock once the ball is reset for play.  

This is in effect for the whole game except the last two minutes of each half, where the clock will act as normal for that level of play and not use the modified clock rules.

Kicking PATs

How many points does a team get for kicking a PAT?  Is it the same at all levels?  Does it change if it's not a part of Level Specific Rules?


Pop Warner Rule 25 details the scoring values for ALL LEVELS.  Kicking a PAT is ALWAYS worth 2 points.  Running/Passing a PAT is ALWAYS worth 1 point.  So...scour the soccer fields, have a few kicking contests, but whatever you do, get yourself a kicker for those PATs!!


At levels without kickoffs, what happens after a safety?


After a safety at these levels, the ball will be placed at the 35-yard line of the team that will be going on offense.  This is outlined in Pop Warner Rule 20.

Lower Level MPR

Are there different and specific MPR requirements from 6U-9U?


6U-9U require two extra plays when compared to the MPR requirements for 10U-13U.  This is determined by the eligible player roster size on the day of the game as detailed in Pop Warner Rule 10.

10-Second Run-Off

If a penalty is committed by the offense in the last two minutes of a half that stops a running clock, is there a 10-second run-off?


While this is a thing at the professional level, this is not specifically addressed by Pop Warner so NFHS rules would apply here...and the reality is that there is no 10-second run-off in the NFHS rules.


Isn't clippling allowed in the free blocking zone?


No!  Pop Warner Rule 15 states that clipping is illegal anywhere on the field INCLUDING the free-blocking zone (as is chop blocking, butt blocking, face tackling and spearing).

Roughing the Snapper

Wait...what on earth is roughing the snapper?


According to NFHS Rule 9-4-6, a defensive player shall not charge directly into the snapper when the offensive team is in a scrimmage-kick formtion.  Penalty is 15 yards and automatic first down from previous spot.

Roughing the Holder can't rough this guy either?


According to NFHS Rule 9-4-5, running into or roughing the holder (and kicker) is also a thing.  There are exceptions (ball tipped and contact unavoidable, defender blocked into holder/kicker) but in general, contact with these players is prohibited during the process of the kick.  Penalty is 15 yards and automatic first down from previous spot for roughing, 5 yards from previous spot for running into the holder or kicker.

Horse Collar Tackle

So, what exactly is a horse collar tackle?


According to NFHS Rule 9-4-3-k, a horse collar tackle is defined as grabbing the inside back or side collar of the shoulder pads or jersey of the runner and subsequently pulling that opponent to the ground, even if possession is lost.  Penalty is a 15-yard, live-ball foul.

Unnecessary Roughness

My player made a legal block or hit, why was this called?


According to NFHS Rule 9-4-3-g, unnecessary roughness can be called any time a player makes contact with any other player (including a defenseless opponent) which is deemed unnecessary OR excessive and incites roughness.  A common example of this is violently blocking a defending player 30-40 yards behind a TD run or interception return. Penalty is a 15-yard personal foul.

Illegal Helmet Contact

What makes this kind of contact a penalty?


The most important thing to remember, is that the helmet is not a weapon!  NFHS Rule 9-4-3 is definitely getting a workout here, but many of these definitions are also listed in NFHS Rule 2-20-1.

Rule 9-4-3-i states that illegal helmet contact includes:  (Head)Butt Blocking, Face Tackling (using defenders facemask to initiate contact), Spearing (using crown of helmet to initiate contact).

Additionally, the following can be considered a flagrant foul.  Helmet contact against an opponent lying on the ground, helmet contact against an opponent being held up by other players and helmet-to-helmet contact against any defenseless player. 

All instances invoke a 15-yard, personal foul penalty.


Hey ref...I saw holding!
Holding I tells ya!!
That's holding!
Isn't that holding?
C'mon ref...hoooollldddding!!!!


Every team has a "Holding Coach".  You know, the coach that sees every penalty on the field, every play.  They're called the Holding Coach because upon further review,  there is very likely some form of holding going on during every play at every level of football.  So...once we get the Holding Coach to find something else to do, lets see what NFHS Rule 9-2-1-c says about a definition of holding.  It says that:

"An offensive player shall not use his hands, arms or legs to hook, lock, clamp, grasp, encircle or hold in an effort to restrain an opponent."

So...holding likely happens a lot.  It's a fine balance of realizing when it is actually affecting the outcome of a play and asking the refs to call a penalty on every play.  Let's give everyone, including the refs a break and stop screaming "Holding!" on every play.

Practice Restrictions

We can practice or play games anytime we want, right?


No!  Pop Warner has created specific practice guidelines for all programs in order to maximize the safety of all of our participants, including the following:

- All camps must be completed by July 15 (PW Article 16)
- No practice may begin before August 1st (PW Article 15-S2)
- All practices must have at least 1 Red Cross CPR Certified or P.R.E.P.A.R.E. certified person in attendance (PW Article 15-S3 and Article 5-S5)
- Practice weeks are defined Mon-Sun (PW Article 15-S4 and 15-S5)
- Practice before Labor Day can be up to 10 hours/week and no more than 2.5 hours/day (PW Article 15-S4)
- Practice after Labor Day can be up to 6 hours/week and no more than 2 hours/day (PW Article 15-S5)

In addition, before competing in any game or inter-squad scrimmage, EACH PLAYER (not the team) must complete the following in order:

- 10 hours of conditioning (helmet only) to acclimate to physical activity 
- 10 hours of full pads to acclimate to contact

Players who have not completed these requirements are ineligible for inter-squad scrimmages and games (PW Article 15-S7)

Pre-Game Face-Offs

What are the rules regarding face-offs?


There are a number of rules and procedures that apply to face-offs.  Below are the main points of clarification.

- Face offs will be overseen by the Weigh Master for the home/host team unless a Commissioner or higher neutral party league official is present (i.e. playoff games)
- Head coaches for each team are the ONLY staff allowed at the weigh-in
- The first face off of the day at a game site will occur 30 minutes before the start of the first game
- Subsequent face offs will occur one hour before the scheduled start of the game
- Players are ineligible until they face off.  To further explain, all players are ineligible to start and are faced off IN to participating in a game, not eligible to start and ruled OUT)
- Late arrivals will be given a chance to face off up until scheduled game time
- Arrivals after the scheduled game time can only be faced off at half-time and play in the 2nd half (must meet full MPR requirements)
- ID Cards and players should be presented in jersey number along with the MPR
- Absent or ineligible players should be immediately lined off the MPR with all corresponding reasons noted for players not participating

Over Time

What are the local overtime rules?  Is Regular Season different than Post-Season?


At levels where a score is kept (currently 7U and up) during the regular season, ONE (1) overtime period will be played.

Overtime rules use NFHS overtime rules (each team, 1 possession starting at the opponent's 10-yard line).

This is done to reduce the number of ties, keep sites on schedule not dealing with multiple OTs, keep the refs happy, and ensure that certain sites do not play more OTs due to local circumstances (last game of the day, big rivalry, whatever).  Only one OT during Regular Season.

In the post-season, games will play as many OT periods as are needed until one team outscores their opponent in that OT period and is declared the winner.

Location of Chains

What sideline do the chains go on?


Per NFHS 3-5-b, the chains should go on the opposite sideline of the press box.  When no press box exists, they go on the sideline as determined by location management and the officials.