Seven on seven football is gaining popularity in middle schools, high schools and communities across the country. The high-scoring nature of the game makes it great for passing time with friends and for perfecting your skills.
So, what is 7 on 7 football?
Seven on seven football is a version of football that emphasizes passing and route-running. There are no pads in 7 on 7 football because there’s no tackling. The game is played on a 40-yard field and there are only two first downs. Players are downed when they’re touched below the neck.
You might be wondering to yourself how else 7 on 7 football differs from regular football. Well, we encourage you to keep reading because we have the answers!
7 on 7 Football Rules
The object of 7 on 7 football is the same as regular football – for the offense to score as many points as possible and for the defense to prevent the offense from scoring.
However, several rules make 7 on 7 football quite different from the football we played growing up and watch on T.V.
Perhaps the biggest difference is that tackling isn’t allowed and that plays end with a tag below the neck. There are no formal offensive or defensive lines in 7 on 7 football.
You also can’t run the ball, which means the QB has to throw the ball on every down. This helps foster a fast-paced environment that allows QBs to work on their passing, while receivers can work on their route-running and receiving.
Games are generally played on a 40-yard segment of a regulation 100-yard football field (certain leagues may use additional space, depending on their rules). Due to the smaller playing field, there’s usually more scoring than in your typical game of tackle football.
Unlike regular football, in which games are split into four 15-minute quarters, most 7 on 7 games are split into two 20-minute halves with a short break for halftime.
Teams are generally allowed one timeout per game and one additional timeout during overtime. Since games are shorter and less physical than regular football, players can play multiple games a day.
As mentioned earlier, the object of the game is to score as many points as possible by passing the ball down the field. Rules vary from league-to-league but drives typically start on the 40-yard line.
Teams have the opportunity to earn two first downs by crossing the 25-yard line and the 10-yard line.
The offensive team has three downs/chances to pick up each of these first downs. Once the offense crosses the 10-yard line, they have four downs to score a touchdown worth six points.
Each play begins when the center (C) snaps the ball to the QB. The QB must then pass the ball to an eligible receiver within four seconds. If the ball isn’t thrown within four seconds, the offensive team loses the down and the play is considered a sack.
When a receiver catches the ball, they can run until they’re tagged below the neck by a defensive player. At this point, the play is over and the next play begins where the receiver was previously downed.
If the intended receiver doesn’t catch the ball, the offense loses the down and the next play begins at the previous spot. If the team can’t earn a first down or score a touchdown, the other team begins their drive at the 40-yard line.
A team earns six points each time a receiver scores a touchdown by catching the football in the end zone or crossing the goal line with the ball.
Unlike regular football, teams don’t kick extra points after touchdowns. However, teams can earn extra points by completing a pass into the end zone from either the five-yard line, 10-yard line or 15-yard line, depending on league rules.
Various penalties apply to 7 on 7 football as they do in regular football, including pass interference, defensive holding, personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Each penalty results in a loss of down or an automatic first down, as well as a loss or gain of five yards, depending on which team committed the foul.
At the end of regulation, whichever team has the lead wins the game.
7 on 7 Football Positions
As the name indicates, 7 on 7 football is comprised of two teams of seven players each. This leads to simplified play-calling that places the focus on route-running. Each team is comprised of one QB, the C and five receivers.
The QB plays a crucial role before and during each play. First, the QB directs the offensive play in the huddle. The QB then calls out the intended play, receives the snap and passes the ball within four seconds.
The C, also known as the “snapper”, snaps the ball between their legs to the QB each play. Depending on the league, the C may be able to snap the ball sideways.
Five eligible receivers (or a combination of running backs, receivers, and tight ends) carry out the passing routes directed by the QB. Since the QB can’t run the ball and there’s no rushing in 7 on 7 football, linemen positions such as offensive guards and tackles are not necessary.
Why Play 7 on 7 Football?
Aside from the excitement of high-scoring games, 7 on 7 football has several other benefits, including:
- Perfecting the Passing Game. Because teams cannot tackle or run the ball, QBs have the chance to work on their accuracy and timing when throwing a football.
- Helps You Stay in Shape. Seven on seven football is a great way for players to build up their stamina on account of all the running involved.
- Plenty of Repetitions. Instead of just running drills which can be monotonous, 7 on 7 football allows players to practice different game scenarios. This could be a great way for high school kids, or any level, to get ready for their next game.
- Less Chance of Injuries. By eliminating tackles, players can focus on their running and passing without having to worry about defending themselves. Some leagues require players to wear soft-shell helmets to protect themselves from head injuries, which already don’t occur often because there’s no tackling.
- Great Exposure. Although college coaches and recruiters are prohibited from actually attending 7 on 7 games, increasing coverage of tournaments has become available, giving high school football players more opportunities to showcase their skills.
Playing Defense in 7 on 7 Football
Let’s not forget about the role of the defense in 7 on 7 football. The defense is made up of a mixture of seven players, which includes linebackers and defensive backs.
The goal of the defense is to prevent the offense from gaining first downs and scoring touchdowns. The defense can do this by playing zone or man-to-man defense.
Defenders are primarily responsible for knocking down the QB’s passes and for tagging receivers below the neck. However, the defense can also score points in two ways.
The first way is by intercepting the ball. This awards the defensive team with three points and a chance to take over on offense.
The defense can also earn points through turnover on downs. This occurs when the offense is unable to earn a first down or doesn’t score a touchdown before running out of downs. When this happens, the defense gains the ball and earns two points.
Each time the defense scores any points, the play is reset at the 40-yard line for the corresponding team. Now that you know more about 7 on 7 football, you should give it a try! This version of football is a great way for you to perfect your skills and it’s a ton of fun to play.