Official Tournament Rules

These rules will be used for all officially sponsored Madden tournament events, online and offline, with all items enforced whenever possible.  Differences between online and offline events, where possible, are noted.  Wherever online and offline event eventualities occur, tournament official judgements are final. 

ELIGIBILITY: Tournament registration and play is open to residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are thirteen (13) years of age or older at the time of entry.

FEES: Participants are required to pay applicable nonrefundable registration and/or entry fee prior to competing.

COMPETITION DISCOUNT: Players arriving at events eligible for a player referral discount of $5.00 per new player. 

EQUIPMENT: Please bring your own controller for use during the tournament. If you do not have a controller, one can be rented at the gaming arena for a fee and deposit to be determined at the event.

PRIZES:  Advertised guaranteed prizes will be awarded to top finishers as determined per tournament announcement.  Additional prizes are conditional upon participation.  Prizes may be awarded in the form of cash, gift cards or merchandise.  advertised merchandise may be substituted with merchandise of comparable value.

NO REFUNDS: No refunds will be issued once registration fees are received. Registered participants must be available to start games as they are announced. Failure to be available within two minutes of being called will result in forfeit. Tournament officials will attempt to contact players three (3) times during the two minute grace period before a participant's spot is forfeited. First round playoff spots available by forfeitures will go to the next participant o­n standby ranked in order by W/L percentage, point differential, total points scored, and coin flip . Tournament official judgments are final.

LIABILITY: We are not responsible for property lost, stolen, or broken during the tournament. Participants are asked to label items they own.


PLATFORM: Tournament games will be played on the Microsoft XBOX One and/or Sony PlayStation 4 gaming consoles. Standard XBox One and PlayStation 4 wireless controllers may be used. All other controllers must be approved by gaming officials prior to tournament start. 

ARRIVAL TIME: Participants are expected to arrive o­n time. Registration and check-in begins at 4PM on October 29, 2011. Verification of entry fees and a valid photo identification must be displayed at check-in. After identity and eligibility are verified, there will be a short recess as participants are assigned an opponent.  Play will begin at approximately 5PM.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: Tournament format will be determined based on the number of participants and will be announced the day of the event.  Players will either play in a round robin qualifier, divisional round robin qualifier, single elimination playoff bracket, or double elimination playoff bracket. 

SELECTION: Participants with seeding requests must inform tournament officials at check-in. Tournament officials will seed players based on bracket availability. Tournament officials will attempt to separate players based on request. Tournament official judgments are final.

STATISTICS: Each game will be tracked live o­nline using the Standings module maintained at

BUY BACKS: Eliminated players may be able to buy back into the competition for $10.00.  Buy backs are allowed until the tournament official announces the cutoff on the day of the tournament.  Buy Backs will entitle players to a single game elimination game for a low seed in the playoffs.  Buy back rounds are not eligible for discounts of any type.

NO TAKE OVER TEAMS & FORFEIT GAMES: Player positions and seeding are not transferable. If a participant cannot finish his/her game, they shall forfeit and the remaining participant shall advance.

MEMORY CARDS: No personal memory cards are allowed during tournament play. Tournament officials may use memory devices to upload updated rosters prior to the tournament. No other memory devices will be permitted.

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY: In the event of circumstances beyond the control of that interrupt tournament progress, games will be replayed using situation mode. This includes power outages, problems with the 360/PS3 or Madden disks.

BANNED PLAYS: Players may not take advantage of programming errors that violate elements of real world physics, football fundamentals, or allow NFL Rules to be broken without penalty.

See examples:

  • Running out of bounds voluntarily
  • Stacking players so that they overlap
  • Unnatural movement of the ball or players
  • Excessive pre-snap adjustments that create illogical gaming results

Tactics found to violate NFL rules without penalty via programming error shall be assessed the applicable penalty as deemed in the most recent available edition of The Official Rules of NFL. Tactics deemed illegal o­n the basis of other programming errors will be handled on a case by case basis, with rules updates if needed. The following plays are banned specifically:


If an infraction is perceived players must immediately pause the game and report the infraction to a tournament official. If an official confirms that an infraction has been committed, the offender will receive a verbal warning and have the appropriate penalty assessed. A second violation of any type will result in forfeiture of the game and ejection from the tournament.

CHEATING OR INFRACTION: Participants that feel an infraction has been committed must pause the game and alert a tournament official. Tournament officials will assist in addressing any issues.

REPORTING INFRACTIONS: When a violation is committed, participants must immediately pause the game to report violations to a tournament official. Participants are not permitted to review a play before contacting the official. Tournament officials will o­nly make a ruling o­n any infractions that are reviewed immediately after their occurrence. There will be no penalties assessed for plays not reviewed by a tournament official.

COACHING: Assisting players with game time decisions, strategy, or tactics is prohibited. Anyone offering assistance will be asked to leave the gaming area for the round. Participants may wear headphones for music, but cell-phones and cell phone earpieces will not be permitted during game play. There will be no game stoppages for phone calls.

JOURNALS: Notebooks, magazines, cheat sheets, study guides, or Madden books will be permitted o­n the premises, but are prohibited during game play. Participants may consult printed material during timeouts and halftime o­nly.

RECORDING DEVICES: Video cameras, digital cameras and 35mm cameras are allowed, but recording games is not permitted. reserves the right to record, edit, publish, and sell recorded game footage. All game footage recorded by becomes the property of same.


  • Quarter Length: 3 minute (minimum)
    • Skill: All Madden
    • Injuries: O­n
    • Game Speed: Normal
    • Fatigue: On
    • Accelerated Clock: Off
    • Random Weather: On
  • Custom Game Settings:
    • Player Lock: On
    • Auto Subs: On
  • Penalties
    • Penalties: On
    • Offsides: On
    • Penalty Sliders: Default
  • AI
    • All assists: Off
    • All Meters: Default
    • Human and CPU Sliders: Default
    • Easy Play: Off
  • Video
    • 1st Down Lines: On
    • Player Names: On
    • Auto Replay: Off
  • Audio
    • Announcer: On

*  If game settings are incorrect during a game, they will be corrected and the game will proceed.

VIEW: All games will be played with the default camera view.

RULES UPDATE: Tournament officials reserve the right to append or remove rules without notice.

HOME & AWAY: A coin flip will determine the home team. Home team gets choice of jersey color. The away team must wear contrasting jerseys to prevent in-game confusion that can affect results.

OVERTIME: Games tied at the end of regulation play shall be decided with an overtime period using NFL playoff rules until a winner is determined. If a game remains to be tied after o­ne (1) overtime period, play shall continue until a player scores.

21 PT MERCY RULE: There is a Twenty-One (21) point mercy rule for this tournament. Any participant gaining a lead of twenty-one (21) or more points, shall be declared the winner if the trailing player cannot score o­n the next possession. Onside and squib kicks are not allowed once ahead by 21.

NO-HUDDLE OFFENSE: No-Huddle is not permitted after any play where a player not designated as QB on the roster receives the snap from center. Failure to abide by this rule will cost a timeout for each offense, and possession after all timeouts are exhausted.

TEAMS: Players will be allowed to use any of the current 32 NFL teams. Participants are allowed to play with the same teams (mirror match). All games will be played with the latest online rosters available from Electronic Arts. Players may choose any team before each game.

PLAYBOOKS: All standard playbooks provided with the game software are allowed. Custom plays and/or playbooks are not permitted. Choosing the correct playbook is the responsibility of each player. Games will not be restarted for errors in playbook selection.

AUDIBLES: A participant is allowed to change audibles before the game and during timeouts that the participant has called. Only the player calling a timeout may change audibles. Audible privacy will be given to each participant for three (2) minutes before each game and during timeouts when audible changes are made. If additional time is needed, audible privacy is at the discretion of the opponent.  Opponents may allow one (1) additional minute of audible privacy.  Timeouts lasting longer than three minutes will be assessed a five (5) yard delay of game penalty for every additional minute of play stoppage. 

SUBSTITUTIONS: Depth chart substitutions can o­nly be changed before the game or during a timeout a player has called. Package and formation substitutions available from the play call screen are allowed at all times. These changes are expected to be made during the two (2) minute

DOWN LINEMAN: Defensive Lineman in a 3 or 4-point stance must be visible o­n-screen when the ball is snapped. Standing players may be moved off screen as long as they remain in bounds.

SCREEN TOGGLING: Excessive screen toggling is not permitted prior to the snap, during Field Goals, or punt plays. Infractions will result in loss of a timeout. Participants reporting this infraction must pause the game and alert a tournament official. Snapping the ball forfeits the right to report a violation. Participants are not permitted to pause the game with a field goal or punt in progress. Participants failing to adhere to this rule must call a timeout to allow the kick to progress unabated.

KICKING: Participants are not allowed to manually block Field Goals or Punt attempts. Players may choose to move a player off the line of scrimmage to provide additional blocking for returns.  Any player moved away from the line of scrimmage and must remain under manual control until the ball is snapped. Any other defensive movement during field goals and punts is prohibited. In situations before the half, participants are not permitted to jump offside when their opponent is attempting a Field Goal.

4TH DOWN ATTEMPTS: Participants may opt to go for it o­n 4th down at anytime; however; fake punt plays are legal o­nly o­n 4th down outside the opponent's 35 yard line. Fake punts are not permitted o­n point after attempts. Fake Field Goal attempts are permitted inside the 50-yard line and o­nly o­n 4th down, or the last play of a half.

ONSIDE KICKS: Participants are allowed to o­nside kick at anytime when behind by 8 or more points or when behind in the 4th quarter.  Surprise onside kicks are legal at anytime, once per game. 

Note: Rules are subject to change without notice. 

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