#1 – SPORTSMANSHIP RULE
The Sportsmanship Rule is the most important rule in The Football Club. Basically, all club members are expected to exercise good sportsmanship at all times and avoid a competitive spirit. All players in the club have a strong record of doing this already and are to be commended for their fine examples. The purpose of the club is simply to make the football season more interesting for everyone involved, to make each of the games played meaningful (instead of only the games where our favorite teams are involved), and also to help all of us to keep in touch with each other during the season. When it comes to scoring Points each week, it is more about challenging ourselves instead of others… trying to improve our own scores and do well. The standings, MVPs, and champions are provided just for fun and entertainment purposes. All club members keep in mind that “modesty and humility will keep us from developing a competitive spirit and trying to outshine others.” Thank you everyone for always doing such a great job in this regard over the years!
#2 – CONTRACT RULE
Club members who sign up at the beginning of the season are basically signing a one-year contract to submit football picks for 18 straight weeks. It is important that you fulfill this commitment, as early retirement or quitting creates difficulty with the Head to Head and Pro Bowl team competitions. Keep in mind that you have a team of two other players counting on your picks, so it is important to be considerate of others, keep your word, and fulfill your one-year contract.
#3 – BASIC FORMAT RULES
At the beginning of the season, all new players are required to choose a codename to play under. For each week of the season, between 37 and 45 Points will be available. The number of Points will be based on the number of games being played as well as whether or not there are any special games (such as on Thursday night). To win an MVP Award you must score the highest amount of Points for the week, not including any bonus Points. Usually, a picks sheet will be broken down into seven point values:
(1)Regular Games – These are the games deemed to be of the least interest to everyone, or of no consequence to the playoff picture. If you pick these games right you get 1 Point per game. At times there is a sub category of Double Jeopardy, Triple Jeopardy, or Quadruple Jeopardy. Selecting one of these options raises the value of the game one point higher per category if you get it right. However, if you get the game wrong and you select this option, you lose -1, -2, or -3 Points.
(2)Point Spread Games – Each game put into this category is generally deemed a mismatch. The point spread is taken from the official Las Vegas Line (when it is available). If there is a minus sign beside a team, that team is giving away that amount of points. If there is a plus sign beside a team, that team is receiving that amount of points. For each game you pick right you get 2 Points.
(2)Thursday Night Autopicker Games – On Thursday nights during the season (and sometimes on Saturday nights), there may be NFL games. Because of the difficulty some club members have had in the past in turning in a mid-week pick, and also for the purposes of saving time, the infamous Autopicker is usually turned on for these games. The Autopicker will automatically pick the team that is the favorite. If you disagree with the Autopicker’s choice and want to switch your pick, all you need to do is send in an e-mail before kickoff informing Club Headquarters of your pick change. Smart club members have made wise use of this switch at the right time, because the Autopicker has been known to get games wrong.
(3)ESPN’s Monday Night NFL – This game takes place Monday night on ESPN. It is worth 3 Points usually (depending on Flex-Scheduling). In 2004, we added a weekly Over/Under for 1 Point, to make the Monday night game even more meaningful.
(4)Double Stakes – There are two games listed under this category. If you get both of them right, you get 4 Points. If you miss one or both, you don’t score any Points.
(5)NFL Games of the Week – These two games listed are deemed the most challenging of the week. The teams playing are usually strong contenders of high interest to everyone. Each game you get right gives you 5 Points. During any week where there is no Sunday night game, there may be three Games of the Week listed.
(6)NBC’s Sunday Night Football – The classic Sunday night tradition is worth 6 Points usually (depending on Flex-Scheduling).
(7)Triple Crown – There are three games listed under this category. If you get all three of them right, you get 7 Points. If you miss one, two, or all three, you don’t score any Points. This is the most challenging category in The Football Club.
#4 – POINT SPREAD TIE-BREAKER RULE
Perhaps the most frustrating and hard to understand rule in The Football Club is the Point Spread Tie Breaker Rule. In figuring this rule out, the club follows the guidelines as stated by USA Today – “The point spread is the number of points by which oddsmakers predict the favored team will win. If you (pick) the favorite, the margin of victory must be greater than the point spread to win the (pick.) If you (pick) the underdog, you win if the favored team fails to exceed the point spread or if the underdog wins or ties the game outright.” Under the rule stated here, which is standard in Las Vegas picking, apparent ties count as win for the team who is considered the underdog with all Point Spread games. However, if the Over/Under ends in a tie, no points are given out. To prevent this from happening, Over/Unders usually include a 1/2 point in the middle of two whole numbers.
#5 – LATE REPORTING RULE
It is requested that all club members turn in their football picks before kickoff of each game. We all have busy lives and more important priorities, but it literally only takes 5 minutes or less to quickly take a look at the picks sheet and either text or e-mail in your picks for the week. At times, an emergency situation may come up, or somebody may forget to turn in their picks for one reason or another. If this happens, we ask you to take a bye week. However, if you have absolutely no knowledge of any scores of completed games or games in progress, you may still submit your picks. If you have a meeting or assembly on Sunday morning, it is probably better in most cases to make sure and turn in your picks on Saturday night, unless you are sure you will have the time to do so on Sunday morning on a consistent basis.
#6 – BYE WEEK RULE
Players who are of town during the season, or otherwise have circumstances beyond their control and are unable to report picks, may take a bye week. Generally, you may only take three bye weeks during the season. You may not take a bye week after the fact (meaning after you turn in picks for the week and realize you had a low scoring week). During the bye week, you will receive the average score for the week (averaging out the score of all club members) minus 2 Points. That means once the average score is figured out we subtract 2 Points from that and that becomes your score for the week. Taking a bye week is usually not recommended because it results in an automatic Head to Head loss in the Head to Head Weekly or Super Bowl Tournament competition. However, your Points may be applied towards your Pro Bowl teams match-up, as long as your team has no more than one player taking a bye week. If more than one player on your team is taking a bye week, your team receives an automatic loss.
#7 – FLEX-SCHEDULING RULE
Traditionally, the 6 Point value game has been for the NBC Sunday Night football game, while the 3 Point value game has been for the ESPN Monday Night game. However, Flex-Scheduling has now been instituted, which means that club management has the right to switch the Point values between the two games, depending on which one is deemed more competitive. Whichever game has closer odds and appears like it will divide more club members will be given the 6 Point value, while the game that is easier to pick will be given the 3 Point value. The Over/Under will be attached to the game with the 3 Point value.
#8 – VIEWING OPPONENT’S PICKS RULE
In the past, many club members enjoyed viewing picks of their opponents either during Head to Head Weekly, Pro Bowl Weekly, or the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl Tournaments. This allowed them to compare their picks and find out who won before it was announced here on the club site. However, this created a problem where some people simply copied their opponents picks for the most part to try to gain an advantage. It was also legal in the past to switch your picks on either Sunday night or Monday night to “go for the win” if you were behind in your match. In order to eliminate the excessive competitiveness this created, viewing of opponents picks is no longer allowed. If two members who are playing against each other wish, they are free to share their picks with each other and make last second changes, if both parties agree. But club headquarters will not be releasing or sharing any information on picks which we receive, to keep things fair to everyone. Keep in mind that you are always allowed to change your Sunday night and Monday night picks before kickoff of each game. This rule simply applies to not making changes based on your opponents picks.
#9 – ADDITIONAL REMINDERS
Please keep all codenames and team names in good taste and non-offensive. We have had issues at a few times in the past where slightly controversial names were chosen, sometimes without realizing it, and club members had to make adjustments to their names. Codenames may be changed during the season for a maximum of two times. All club members are also welcome to invite their friends to participate in the club and choose their own team of three players. Where a team of three players is not selected, you may automatically be placed on a balanced and fair team whenever possible. Football picks may be submitted by e-mail, text message, phone call, or by dropping them off in person to club headquarters. Any of your picks may be switched prior to kickoff of the game you are changing. If we do not receive your football picks prior to kickoff, you may be sent a text message or e-mail reminder, or you may automatically be given a bye week. Newcomers who wish to join the club after the season starts begin with 1 Point less than the Last Place player.
#10 – TRIPLE CROWN AND DOUBLE STAKES 2020 RULE UPDATES
Due to the possibility of games being called off during this season due to COVID-19 and player protests, we are making an adjustment to Triple Crown and Double Stakes games. If for any reason some of the games from these two categories are not played, the remaining games will fully count toward receiving the Points. So for instance, if 1 of the 3 Triple Crown games is not played for whatever reason, the remaining 2 games will count toward the entire 7 Points. In addition, due to the increase in tie games in the league (due to shortened overtime periods), tie games within the Triple Crown and Double Stakes will not mean that everyone lost those Points. Thus, the remaining games being played will count toward the full amount of Points for Triple Crowns and Double Stakes even if some games are called off due to COVID-19, player protests, or if there are tie games.