Ten Yard Rule better for Backyard Football

In organized football, it’s easy to figure out how far you have to go to pick up ten yards. Everything is marked and it’s pretty easy to do. So what if you want to use ten yards to play backyard football? How can you do that? Is it doable?

Playing with two completions for a first down is easy. You just have to complete two forward passes and you know you have a first down. The problem with this system is that it takes away the running game. If you are going to focus on completing passes, you will not be able to run.

One way to correct this problem is to use ten yards for a first down. Sounds simple enough. Everyone understands this and that’s how it works on television. But how can you get it to work in the backyard?

What you can do is get two pieces of cloth; torn up shirts, a little towel, a hat, or a glove. Put one on the ground at the line of scrimmage and hand the other piece to the defense to mark off ten yards. Let the defense always mark it off. They put it on the ground at approximately ten yards.

This does wonders for the game. Now you can run, pass, quarterback sneak, and all other dimensions of football to your game. It’s pretty easy and will make your games more realistic and more exciting.

So what if the quarterback gets sacked? You simply move the line of scrimmage marker back to where he was sacked. The 10 yard marker stays at its original position. Once you get used to it, it will become second nature.

What do you do as you gain yards? As you gain yards, you move the scrimmage marker forward. Once you pass the ten yard marker, you have a first down. Nothing could be easier.

If you haven’t tired playing like this, give it a shot and see how it works. You and your buddies will be happier and better for it.

Editor in Chief

We've been coaching and playing football since the 1980s. Many of our staff are highly specialized sports trainers, athletes, sports medicine physicians, parents, and coaches. We love playing football and love writing about football.