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Red Zone Rulebook


WRITTEN & MANAGED BY Commissioners Kelly, Astin, & Adel
Updated: 06/11/2024
This league takes pride in being the most sim football experience that hardcore gamers can find on Xbox Series X consoles. In order to sustain this experience, and to preserve the integrity of our league, please read and adhere to the following rules.

General League Rules

In order to be a part of the Red Zone league, you must go above and beyond to be a part of the community. The community extends to participating in Red Zone Twitter and building immersion in the Red Zone universe with articles, podcasts, etc.
Active participation in the Discord chat is mandatory to maintain your league spot.
Treat league members with the utmost respect. You are not required to like everyone, but you must have respect for others.
BOTH TEAMS are responsible for streaming games via Twitch. EVERY GAME. This includes archiving and allowing clips.
In case one party faces technical issues preventing them from streaming, they should communicate this in the 📺live-streams channel before or during the game.
Abusing game defects, bugs, broken logic, poor AI, or “cheesy” game mechanics to gain an advantage is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated.
We do not play CPU games in Red Zone (see simming rules below). Games that are unplayed are either sim to wins or straight sims.
If you are submitting a complaint or a concern about any other user in the league, you MUST submit your concern with PROOF. Excessive complaints without proof will result in punishment at commissioner’s discretion.
Violation of any rules listed may result in punishment, as deemed necessary by the commissioner team, including up to suspensions and/or dev changes.

Game Scheduling Rules


Work efficiently with your weekly opponent to schedule your game within the 48 hour window allotted. There are very rare stipulations that can extend past the 48 hours, and it will rarely be approved for more than a few hours late. Both parties must make a sincere effort to arrange the match.
Failure to contact your opponent within 24 hours may limit your eligibility for an extension, and can play into commissioner discretion in sim-to-win decisions.
Failure to post your scheduled game time and if all other games are played, the commissioner may simulate the game.

Sim to Wins (s2w)

The following rule describes the stipulations for ‘Sim to Wins”
If a user schedules a time with another user, and that user does not arrive within 30 minutes of the agreed upon time without prior warning to the user that they can no longer play at this time, a sim to win is granted.
When two teams cannot find a time to play, yet they are available in equal or nearly equal amount of time on separate days a straight sim is granted
When one user is available significantly longer than the other, and they cannot agree on a reasonable playing window, the user with more availability can receive a sim to win or choose a straight sim.
If a game disconnects in the 4th quarter, and one team was up by 17+ points, that team is awarded a sim to win.
If a game disconnects at any point outside of the following stipulation above, the game will be replayed. If the game continues to disconnect throughout replays and an agreement cannot be reached, the commissioners will make the final decision.
(All above stipulations are subject to commissioner discretion)


Users may not go on Auto-Pilot without prior commissioner approval.
Vacations and life events are acceptable reasons to go on Auto-pilot for a minimal amount of time. Being eliminated from playoffs, burned out on Madden, or “busy” are not.

Gameplay Rules

The definition of a sim league applies to the gameplay, meaning that the on-field gameplay is to replicate the real NFL as closely as possible.
If you break a sim-gameplay rule (such as using a catch button and/or accidentally switch to a player and make a catch) punt the ball to your opponent to make it right.

Pre-Snap Mechanics

Pre-Snap Adjustments
Pre-Snap Movement on defense (manually) may only be done with the player being controlled for that play.
Moving multiple players is prohibited.
Moving a player and switching to another player before the snap is prohibited.
Moving a player back on special teams to protect your returner is prohibited.
Play Adjustments
You must have at least 3 pass rushers on each play. Rushing 0-2 players is forbidden.
You may only “hot route” one defensive player, per play.
Hot Routes – only quarterbacks with an awareness rating equal to or higher than 80 is allowed to hot route.
Does not include any bonus AWR rating you might get from your OC, morale, or game bonuses.
Only one hot route per play is allowed.
Changing a route to block is allowed for all QBs and does not count as a hot route.
Adjusting a route to the sticks is allowed for all QBs and does not count as a hot route.
Flipping run plays does not count as a hot route.
Blocking Icing
Calling a field goal 1:00 or less of the 1st or 2nd half, only to come out in a non-special teams play after your opponent has called a TO to ice your kick, is illegal. Once you have committed to the field goal play call, you may not call another play after the timeout. Fake field goals are allowed.
Players Out of Position
The following players may NOT play at or be placed on the depth chart at any other positions, unless they meet the position change criteria. (This does not include using the right stick in game to cycle through the various formation subs):
HB at FB
WR at TE
OG at C
OT at C
C at any other position
Quick Snapping
Quick snapping is illegal. Please allow a fair amount of time before the ball is snapped (ideally at least 5-6 seconds from breaking the huddle, when possible).
Chew Clock
The ‘Chew Clock’ mechanic cannot be turned on until the 4th quarter, unless both users agree in a blowout.

Post-Snap Mechanics

This is a no-switch league:
Offense: You cannot switch players once the ball is snapped; you are not allowed to switch to a receiver to catch the ball nor to utilize ANY button catching.
Defense: You must control the player you were controlling when the ball was snapped for the entirety of the play.
Special Teams: You are permitted to switch to a gunner after kicking off or punting; this must be done before the returner touches the ball.
Ball Carrier Movement (left stick) is allowed with the following stipulations:
Allowed: You can use the left stick to maneuver around blockers, finding angles, and hitting the hole, within moderation.
Not Allowed: Using the left stick (not using ball carrier moves) to swerve around or avoid defenders is prohibited. You must use ball carrier moves when in open space.
“Moon Walking”, or dropping your quarterback 5+ yards beyond the design of the play, is not allowed.
Playmaker, or using the right stick to adjust eligible receivers’ routes during the play, is prohibited.
Defensive line play is prohibited. This includes LBs on the LOS who are not dropping into coverage.

Playbooks / Playcalling


Custom Playbooks are banned.
Playbooks are tied to their assigned in game coordinators.
To change playbooks:
Your current coordinator must be fired
You hire a new coordinator who’s assigned playbook you will then use
You must post a notification in the coaching changes channel of who was fired and who was hired (coaches names, playbook, and OC/DC)
You may trade coordinators for draft assets (No players or other coaches) DURING THE OFFSEASON ONLY. (From re-signings phase to draft phase)
You can only be involved in ONE coordinator trade per offseason. This means you can only trade for or trade away one time each offseason.
You may change each coordinator once per season, from Re-Sign Stage to Super Bowl Week.
You must open and show your playbooks in the lobby EVERY game.

Play Calling

Play calling being mixed up is a necessity.
You may not call a single passing play or route schemes/concept 4 or more times in any one game, regardless of formation.
QB SNEAK under center is banned from all play in the Red Zone.
‘Screen Plays’: Designated screen plays (NOT RPO) must be thrown to the designated target. A HB/WR screen must be thrown either to the PRIMARY HB/WR, or a throwaway.
Fake punts are prohibited.
4th Down You cannot attempt a 4th down conversion at or inside of your own 45 yard line before the 4th quarter. There are no restrictions in the 4th quarter and overtime.
No huddle offense is not discouraged, however excessive no huddle offense outside of two minute drills or late game comeback attempts is not allowed.

Running / Passing Splits

Individual Running Back Carries
No one player may have more than 70% of a team's carries in a season.
Run / Pass Splits
No team may have more than a 65/35% split on their Passing to Rushing play calls at the end of the year.
Failing to meet either above splits thresholds
1 Occurrence = A 6 game suspension for a player chosen by commissioners.
2+ Occurrences = A minimum 12 game suspension for a player chosen by commissioners.
If a player obtains a dev upgrade while participating in bad splits, that dev upgrade will be reversed.

Stat Padding/Running up the Score

No team may intentionally pad their players stats or run the score up when the game has been decided.
However, both teams have a right to play football and it does not mean you have to run it 3 times in a row.
In games that have been decided, backup players should be playing, and the goal should be to run out the clock.

3 Pick Sit Rule

If you throw 3 interceptions with a quarterback you must bench that quarterback for the remainder of the game.
This rule does not apply in the postseason, or to any untimed down INTs.

Regressions / Progressions

Youth Regression Preservation

Regression is BLOCKED for the following players:
Players who are in their first two seasons CANNOT regress development traits. Any regression handed out by Madden will be reversed by a commissioner.
Players who progress and regress in the same year. If someone gains a yearly dev increase, they will keep it.

‘Mount Regression’

Quarterbacks who throw 24 or more interceptions in a single season will have their dev trait REGRESSED by 1 from their current dev trait, if the game does not automatically do it.
Any user caught benching their starting QB to deliberately avoid the 24 interception rule will be subject to one of the following penalties, along with the dev regression:
If their team makes the playoffs, that QB will be suspended for the duration of the playoffs.
If their team does NOT make the playoffs, that QB will be suspended for the first three (3) games of the following season.

Player Editing Rules

Player Editing

Editing of players’ names, height, weight, right/left handed is not allowed.
Editing of Quarterback’s Throwing Animation is illegal.

Position Changes

Guidelines for ALL POSITION CHANGES / “Sub” position / KR-PR requirements:
As long as the player meets ALL the listed requirements listed underneath, then it is approved.
Position Changes for SS/XF
ANY position change of a player with Superstar or X-Factor dev must be cleared and processed by a commissioner.

Team Building Rules

Roster Requirements

Every team must have the following roster requirements at all times during the season (practice squad players do NOT count towards these totals)
9 Offensive Linemen, INCLUDING minimum of 2 Centers
2 Quarterbacks
1 Punter and 1 Kicker
53 rostered players
No team is allowed to operate with negative cap space.
Practice Squad players signed to the main roster must maintain a roster spot for the season.

Mentor Tags

You may NOT abuse the “mentor” tag system by stacking your entire roster with an excessive number of low OVR “mentor” vets.

Waiver Wire

During the cycle, when a player that is 75+ OVR, they will be subject to waiver claims, and will need to be announced in the #waiver-wire chat.
Claim order is based on previous seasons record, worst to best.
Once you have won a successful claim, you will be moved to the end of the line.
Players will need to be available for claims for a minimum of 10 hours, and they will ALWAYS process at 4pm Eastern, the same or following day.
Players rated 75+ cannot be released after Week 12.


Contract Structuring

Every player that is re-signed OR signed in Free Agency must be given a signing bonus equivalent to 30+% of the total salary given, and it must be between 2 - 4 years (except in situations listed below). Example = If you give a $1,000,000 base salary, you must award the player at least a $300,000 bonus
If you fail to meet this bonus requirement, you will be forced to release the player and eat the cap penalty. You can also elect to have the commissioners utilize the “Undo” button for FAs, at the expense of a current 2nd round pick (commishes can use discretion on the penalty if there is no 2nd).

Age Adjusted Structuring

Only 32 years and older OR 70 OVR & Under can be signed for 10+% bonus money, AND/OR can be signed to 1 or more year deals

Franchise Player

Once per cycle, a team may re-sign one of their players to a 5 or 6 year deal. This can be any player on your roster.
Once you sign your franchise player, it must be posted in the Franchise Player Chat in Discord IMMEDIATELY.
Franchise Contracts include mandatory “No-Trade” clauses and players on Franchise contracts MAY NOT BE TRADED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE while on their Franchise deal.

3 + 1 Rules

Every season we will release a sheet entitled the ‘3+1’ which dictates what each team can re-sign prior to the offseason:
The list contains all 75+ OVR players in the final year of their deal
3 means that you can sign up to THREE players on your list
1 means that you can tag ONE player on your list
Players can only be franchise tagged once. They are not allowed to be tagged in back to back years by the same team.
The remainder of your players will go into free agency on the open market, which you can bid on.

Contract Negotiation

ONCE per cycle, you may "restructure" ONE contract on a current real player on an existing real contract given by the NFL franchise
To execute the negotiation:
Cut the player (taking any cap penalty in the process)
Immediately re-signing them out of FA to a 1-year deal
Player is then added on your 3+1 (if they were not already).
You MUST post this transaction in the # contract-negotiation chat.
Pay attention to your cap penalty and stay cap compliant.


Trade Rules

The following rules and regulations apply to all forms of trading players and picks:
Each user is allowed two trades per season.
Trades are reset from Offseason to Super Bowl.
Trades for players 70 overall or below are unlimited.
MAXIMUM 3 players per single trade (Combined)
Rookies may NOT BE TRADED at any time.
Pick for pick trades can be completed at any point and are unlimited

New Guy Trade Rules

Two 70+ trades allowed per season
MAXIMUM 3 players per single trade (combined)
No rookies traded
No TRADING AWAY 1st round picks (current or future)
Maximum of 2 picks from new guy’s team are allowed to be traded away, per transaction
No players rated 87 or above are allowed to be traded away from the new guy’s team
The “New Guy Trade Rules” will reset after the Super Bowl each season. If a new coach joins the league after the trade deadline, he or she will have to follow the “New Guy Trade Rules” the following season.

Trade Submissions

In order for a trade to be made official, you MUST submit it to league offices using the Google Form located in the pinned section in the 💱trade-office channel in Discord.
Pressing "SUBMIT" on the form means it's official and you cannot back out, except for extreme circumstances.

Code of Conduct


Any forms of the following conduct will be met with suspension, or immediate removal from the league
Cheating in game
Bribery or any sort
Collusion against other users
Harassment to a malicious level
Quitting games in game to avoid a loss
Continued disrespect of the rulebook and the commissioners


There are ways to build for the future in a sim and effective fashion.
Calling plays in a non-sim context or purposefully calling plays that would allow your opponent to score is not allowed. IE. Run committing/Field Goal Block/Punt Block in incorrect situations etc.
You should be playing to win the game. The league standing, draft order and integrity is bigger than you.
Anyone caught blatantly breaking this rule will be subject to SEVERE punishment

Death Penalty

If an owner is subject to the harshest penalty, they may be subjected to:
Loss of multiple draft picks
Suspension of minimum 8 games
Loss of trading and free agency privileges
Guaranteed to be forced out of the playoffs in that season or the following depending on when you quit. (We will Sim Loss all games until you’re mathematically eliminated)
If somehow it happens twice with the same person, I will enforce a permanent ban to that user, and place their name on every possible ‘Bad User’ list I can find.

By reading this rulebook, you have agreed to the above terms and regulations as a Red Zone member. Thank you.

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