Intentionally Punting Out-Of-Bounds

Have you ever played an APBA Football game and thought to yourself, “I really don’t want to punt the ball to the opposing team?”  I know that I have.

In fact, I recently played a game involving the 2016 Lions and 2016 Vikings.  Believe it or not, both teams have punt returners that have Play Result Numbers that could result in a punt return for a touchdown.  As my game progressed, each time one of the two teams went back to punt, I wondered if “this” would be the time when a player would return it all-the-way.  Finally, it happened.  The Vikings’ Marcus SHERELS returned the punt 84 yards for a touchdown, and that score put Minnesota ahead in the game at the time.  Later, with only 30 seconds remaining in the game and with the Lions now leading, Detroit needed to punt the ball back to Minnesota.  Obviously, that’s just two plays at the most.  So, wouldn’t this be a great time to implement some kind of new rule that could have the Lions still be able to punt the ball to Minnesota, but could keep it away from SHERELS?  Since a rule covering this didn’t exist, I created a situation whereby a team could punt the ball out-of-bounds, but with a reduced distance.  By the way, this is similar to the Squib Kick innovation created by Mark Zarb. It’s really simple, and here’s how it works:

The punting team announces that it will be attempting to punt the ball out-of-bounds.  You roll the dice, obtain the result, and then subtract 15 yards from the total.  (Note: This is similar to the Maximum Rush Rule whereby 5 yards are subtracted by the punting team.)

Now, you can leave the rule that there if you want to do so.  Subtract 15 yards and you are done, OR….you can take it a step further.  If you have used any of my innovations from before, then you know that I like to add a little drama to each outcome.  So, after subtracting the 15 yards, we need to make some adjustments to the punt yardage.  After all, it’s too easy to just calculate 15 yards less than the amount.  What if the guy kicked it further, or what if he punted it even less than that?  Well, this part of the option adds (or subtracts) some more yardage.  Roll the two dice and add the two together.  If the red die is odd, then the sum of the two dice is added as yardage to the already altered punt yardage.  For example, the original punt yardage was 40 yards, and the reduced punt yardage lowered the punt to just 25 yards, and because the red die is odd, the total of those two dice is added to the 25.  Let’s say it was a total of 7, so the final yardage of the punt would be 32 yards.  That’s not too bad to keep the ball away from someone like SHERELS.

And, the flip side does the reverse.  If the red die was an even number, then the sum of those two dice are subtracted from the total.  This balances things out.  Using our example from before, the 40 yard punt is reduced to 25 yards, and then further reduced because of the total of the dice of 7 being subtracted from the punt.  That means that the punt only traveled 18 yards.  But, again, you managed to keep it away from SHERELS, so he couldn’t return it for a touchdown.

If you think about it, it really does make sense.  After all, you are trying to give yourself the best chance to win-the-game.

The innovation is quick, simple, and it makes sense.

By the way, the Detroit Lions punt returner is Andre ROBERTS and he, and SHERELS each have two Play Result Numbers on their cards that would be touchdowns, if rolled.

Innovation Friday – “Spike Play”

Doug Reese has created a tremendous innovation that will enhance realism and provide the APBA coach with a great clock-management tool during the final two minutes of a half or game. A great innovation should be three things, (1) simple to implement and understand. (2) not slow down playability of the game. (3) enhance realism or correct a deficiency.  Doug’s innovation fits the bill.



Two-Minute Timing Innovation

If you are reading the article then I assume that you are familiar with the APBA Football Game.  If you have played the game for a while, then you are aware that each quarter is broken down into 30 full plays per quarter.  Occasionally, a half play (15 seconds) is recorded, usually as a result of play such as an incomplete pass, a penalty, an out of bounds play, or a time out.   When playing the game, it appears that the timing system used by APBA yields the proper amount of plays in the game, so that is not an issue.  And, while some plays actually take a little longer than 30 seconds from snap to snap, others are actually shorter than 15 seconds from snap to snap, so it all seems to work out.  Overall, the timing system works very nicely regarding the total number of plays.

So, why am I offering a suggested innovation if the timing system works so well?  Well, because I would like to make it slightly more realistic in the last two minutes of the game.  I’ll explain why I think that this is necessary as I go along.

With APBA, the final two minutes of a half can only have a maximum total of 8 plays, at the most.  We already know that.  And, calling our time outs is a very important decision to make as the time winds down.  Because of the timing system, you can’t really call time outs as they would in real life because you will often end up having unused time outs if you wait too long.  So, you have to really anticipate when they should be called.  This article isn’t about when to call your time outs, per se.

Here is the meat of the article.  I would occasionally run into a situation like this:  Your team is driving, needing at least a field goal, late in the game.  You have one time out left and there are 45 seconds remaining on the clock.  Your team has just completed a 12-yard pass to the defensive team’s 34-yard line, and it would be a long (but makeable) 52-yard field goal from here.  Since this completed pass requires full play you, as coach, must make a decision to either let the clock run down to 15 seconds, or call a time out.  If you call the time out, then there will be 30 seconds remaining in the game, and if you run a play, and you can’t get the clock stopped, then you lose without being able to even try the field goal.  Your other choice is to let the clock run down and try the kick from here, leaving no time for the opposition.  If you choose this option, then you eat an unused time out, and you are attempting a very long field goal.  That seems very unrealistic to me.  If only there was a way to stop the clock, and save the time out for the field goal attempt.  With my innovation, there is…..

I use, and suggest, that you implement the “spike play.”  To go back to our example, there were 45 seconds before the pass.  The play, at a minimum would take at least 15 seconds off of the clock.  We are now down to 30 seconds left and the clock is running.  I suggest that we call the spike play which immediately follows the pass, and turns that aforementioned 30-second pass play into a 15-second play, thereby stopping the clock with the intended incomplete (spike) pass.  What I am envisioning is the QB hustling his guys up to the line after the 12-yard pass, and then lining up and spiking the ball.  By doing so, there are now 30 seconds left, and the team keeps its time out, and can run their second down play (the first down play was the spiked pass) and still have the time out to stop the clock in the event of an in-bounds full timed play.  The innovation can be used during the last two minutes, and under any situation.  It will help you tremendously to get your time out usage correct.

Now, just as APBA makes a practice of having an ebb-and flow, a ying-and-yang, so must this option.  There has to be a possible negative side to this.  Since not too many bad things can happen by lining up and spiking the ball, there can’t be too much very serious going on as far as penalties are concerned.  The only penalty that I can envision is a False Start penalty which would kill the clock.  In order to simulate this, I roll one die and if whatever number result (you pick) occurs, then a False Start penalty is assessed.  Per NFL rules a mandatory 10-second runoff of time is assessed, so the play that began with 45 seconds, dropped to 30 seconds because of the completed pass, is converted down to just 15 seconds left with the penalty being assessed.  It’s a risk, but not a very big one.  Being able to stop the clock is more than worth it by trying to spike the ball to save time.

I have one last innovation for you that goes along with this.  What happens if, because of your “poor coaching decisions” (just kidding), you have an unused time out at the end of the game?  Well, in real life, you might be able to call a last second time out.  Perhaps there are a few seconds, and perhaps there aren’t.  You don’t know.  So, to add drama, if this situation develops, I allow the home team a 3 out of 6 (you pick the successful numbers) die roll chance of being able to successfully call a last second time out.  For the visitors I allow a 2 out of 6 (again, you pick the successful numbers) chance of calling the time out.  This is the old home field clock operator advantage kicking in.  If the time out is successful, then you have one extra play.  If not, then sorry, the game is over. You can’t actually plan on the strategy working, because it is up to the luck of the die roll, but it could give a team a last-second chance of “pulling victory out from the jaws of defeat.”

These are rules that I have been using for a while.  Feel free to adopt them, modify them, in any way that you like.  If you do modify them, please let me know because your way might be better than mine, and I may want to adopt your rule.  <g>


Innovation Friday – “Read Option”

I was watching last Monday night’s game between the Packers and Lions and smiled to myself each and every time Brett Hundley ran the “read-option”. Why the “read-option” is no longer in vogue like it was a few seasons back, it is still routinely used throughout the league and is incorporated into each teams playbook. It should also be another “tool in the toolbox” for every APBA Football coach. This weeks “Innovation Friday” reintroduces Phil Molloy’s tremendous “Read Option” innovation.

Innovation – “Special Teams”

Special Team Return Charts

Since I will be introducing a new innovation by Mr. Dan Flynn on Friday, I wanted to take the time to post Mr. Mark Zarb’s “Special Teams” innovation. Mark has rated each team’s ability to cover both kick-off and punt returns. These ratings can either be A, B+, B, B- or C. Let’s say Team A is rated “B” on kickoff coverage and “B-“on punt coverage. A separate chart breaking down kickoff and punt returns into each of the aforementioned indices is included above (a sample of part of the kickoff return chart is below). In the Team A example, whenever they are covering a kick-off you would look up the result off of the returner’s card under column “B” on punt returns you would look up the result off of the returner’s card under column “B-“.

Special Team Example






Innovation Friday – “Timing Method”

I want to revisit a tremendous innovation created by Mr. Mark Zarb. Without question, the most important statistic in a football game is “Total Plays”. Why, because if these are off, guess what? All of your other statistics will be “off”, it has the ultimate trickle-down effect.

What is the purpose of an innovation? To improve or rectify an existing shortfall and enhance accuracy. Using the “out of box” rules for timing is a very “cookie-cutter” approach. I say this because it doesn’t account for all the different eras of football or the individual styles of each team. Let’s just look at the statistics from the 2016 NFL season, The New Orleans Saints ran the most plays from scrimmage with 69.06 compared to the Detroit Lions who had the least with 61.31. If interested in comparing NFL seasons from 2009 to present,

Let me provide you with a quick history lesson. Mark and I have corroborated for years on a variety of APBA Football-related issues. Mark is the creator and I’m the tester for all of his incredible card sets and innovations. Never was an innovation or idea “created in a vacuum”. Each of his ideas have been thoroughly tested to determine the “cause and effect” the innovation has on the game engine.

Mark’s “Timing Method” was based off of several of “our” replays that range from the 1960s to 2011. Mark compiled our notes and created the below methodology but it did not stop there. Since then, we have tested it another 60-plus games using two different methods. Mark used the combined “total-play averages” of each team and I used the combined total plays of each team in accordance with the actual box score. What we found, is we consistently came within a plus or minus 2 or 3 plays per game. What I love best about his system is it’s easy to understand and implement. Secondly, it offers the flexibility to counter any situation ranging from the “dead ball era” of the 1970s to Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles.

Mark, I want to take a moment to thank you not only for all that you have done for me personally but for all that you have done for the APBA Football community. Without question, all of your innovations over the years as enhanced the Football gaming experience ten-fold.

Oguard62 Adjustment


Introducing “Innovation Friday”

One of the great things about this hobby is the ability to “add features” that not only enhance realism but adds to the gaming experience. The goal for “Innovation Friday” is to introduce new innovations and revisit old ones from the archives. If you have an innovation that you would like to share with the community, please, email me during the week at I will introduce the innovation and encourage healthy dialogue between patrons of this site to address the “pros and cons” in a respectful manner.