The Rules of Driveball Driveball is a hybrid football code that combines Australian Rules and Gaelic football with the forward pass from American football (aka gridiron). The game is played by two teams of 35 with 14 players taking to the field at any one time. On the field, each team consists of... DEFENSIVE ZONE: 1 Goalie 1 Fullback 2 Halfbacks 2 Rovers MIDFIELD 1 Center 2 Wings ATTACK ZONE: 1 Full Forward 2 Half Forwards 2 Quarter Forwards The Field (below) is roughly the length and width of a typical soccer field and should fit the floor space of stadiums designed for American football, rugby union (or league) and soccer. The quarter lines are marked at what would normally be the 25 yard lines in American football or between the 27 and 28 yard lines on a Canadian field. The quarter lines also serve as the boundary between midfield and the defensive or attack zones. The halfway line is generally marked along the 50 yard line in the US or the 55 in Canada. The center circle, where every game begins, is 22 yards in perimeter. The restart circles are 10 yards in perimeter. The field is divided in to three zones; defensive, midfield and attack. The direction a team must take to advance the ball in to the opposing goal is determined via coin toss. The game starts with a bounce off in the center circle on the halfway line. The object of the game is for your team to score more points than the opposing team. To score, a player can kick, fist-ball like in Aussie rules, or throw the ball past the goalkeeper for a goal worth 6 points. A ball that is thrown, or kicked and flies over the crossbar earns a 3 point over. Between the long goal post and the shorter post earns a behind for just one point. The game is played in 35 minute halves for a combined playing time of 70 minutes, and the team with the most points as time expires wins. Defense can be played by… Tackling Blocking shots Pushing ball carriers out of bounds Intercepting passes Stripping the ball from the ball carrier. Driveball uses the six tackle rule for defense. After six tackles, the offensive drive ends and the ball is turned over to the opposing team. To advance the ball, your players must be able to stay on their feet and keep the ball circulating in order to score. A ball carrier can run six steps before he must pass to a teammate, though he may solo the ball (dribble off a foot or knee) if he wants to retain possession. Unlike in Aussie rules, rugby union or rugby league, you are allowed to pass the ball forward by throwing it over or underhand, but kicking is only allowed when taking a free kick and attempting to score. If a player drops a pass, the ball is still live and either team are free to recover it. Substitutions are made via rotation like in basketball. Subs can be made between whistles and in case of an injury or ejection. Fouls: - Tackling is permitted, but only between the shoulders and knees. Contact to the head, above the shoulder pads, or below the knees is strictly prohibited. - Gamesmanship or “flopping” results in a personal foul. Three personal fouls results in ejection. - A score can be waived off if an attacking team’s player steps in to the goal crease. - Delay of game results in loss of possession. - Games cannot end on a penalty against the defending team. An attacking team can attempt a score, free kick or penalty shot after the final siren. When a team is awarded a free kick, the ball is to be teed up along the arc. Penalty shots/Penalty kicks are made at the penalty arc. A player can try to throw the goalie off balance by a pump fake or a stutter step. Penalty shots can be punted, fist-balled or thrown. Should the goalie block the penalty attempt, his team is awarded a single rouge point. Once a team advances the ball past the quarter line in to the attack zone, they have 35 seconds to attempt a score. Failure to shoot in the allotted 35 seconds results in a shot clock violation. Restarting play. - After a score, the goalie can inbound the ball by throwing to one of the guards, or punting to a teammate in the midfield or attack zone. - Scrums are awarded after an incomplete pass or when the ball bounces out of bounds. Scrums in Driveball are akin to line outs in rugby. Players line up inside smaller circles on the quarter lines, known as scrum circles. The ball is then inbounded by a player on the team that did not touch the ball last. Pre-1948 History of the Game 1874: McGill and Harvard face off in a rugby game that most historians consider to be a major turning point for North American sports. On McGill's squad is James Creighton, who would go on to play a significant role in the evolution of ice hockey. Also on the McGill roster that May afternoon is Alexis DuBois, the man credited as the inventor of the Driveball game, but not necessarily the name. 1875: Creighton stages a demonstration of his hockey rules at a Montreal skating rink. Forward passing would be the invention of the Patrick brothers later on. 1876: Yale halfback Walter Camp begins to plant the seeds for gridiron football, sometimes referred to as "Gridby" (portmanteau of Gridiron+Rugby). 1877: Alexis DuBois (1853-1926), by then an assistant instructor for an affluent Montreal athletic club, stages a demonstration of what he dubbed "Mixed Rules Football." The game was played with 8 on 8 and scoring more in line with soccer. After the demonstration, Triston Arnold, who played soccer at another Montreal college, looked DuBois in the eye and said "Disregard Rugby. I find your new game far more exhilarating!" 1889-1930's: Numerous Mixed Rules Football leagues in Canada and the United States would come and go, often undone by gambler interference or financial woes. Also working against early leagues was the almost unanimous popularity of baseball in the US and hockey in Canada. In America, mixed rules ball was lower than the NFL, which in turn was dwarfed by MLB, college football, boxing and horse racing. The Mixed Rules Football Federation (MRFF), the first serious attempt at professionalism for Driveball, was formed in 1919. For a while, things looked bright for the game, but the 1929 stock market crash took the MRFF (pronounced "Murph") down with it. 1943: 26 year old Killian "Cubby" Dempsey, a young assistant coach for the Great Lakes Academy football team, was drafted and assigned to Australia. While he was there, he took out his film camera to document a game called "Austus," which combined Australian rules with those of gridiron. He was instantly reminded of that quirky game invented in Montreal that didn't quite catch on. 1945: Another tour of duty saw Dempsey serve in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. There, he witnessed Gaelic Football for the very first time. The GAA struggled to keep the game going because of wartime fuel and travel constraints. 1945-46: When the war finally ended, Dempsey returned to Chicago. No sooner did he arrive home that he picked up the Chicago Tribune and saw an ad placed by Arch Ward, who was then the paper's sports editor. Ward sought ideas for new leagues to employ men coming home and readjusting to civilian life. Dempsey presented his footage of Austus and Gaelic to an enthusiastic Ward. Both men would spend the next year and a half analyzing Mixed Rules' flaws and developing a more streamlined game. They renamed it "Driveball," in an effort to provide a name they hoped would be more memorable. They added a goalie, additional defensive players, the quarter and halfway lines and leather helmets. Ward was also instrumental in forming the All America Football Conference, which would later merge with the NFL. 1946-47: In the fall of 1946, and well into the summer of 1947, Dempsey conducted open tryouts for his new game. He also spent much of the time teaching the game to those that had been unable to hold down roster spots in other sports. Dempsey had the full support for this new venture from local soda pop heiress Mabel Reynolds (1916-2000), great niece of Alexis DuBois. On June 14, June 21 and July 12, 1947, the Chicago Tribune, thanks to Arch Ward's efforts, sponsored three test games at Soldier Field, which were met with thunderous enthusiasm. By early 1948, the National Driveball Alliance was born, set for a May thru July schedule. And that is where our story begins!