Flag Football Rules

Coin Toss

1. Coin toss shall begin each game. Winner can choose offense, defense, defer to second half, or designate with goal their team will defend.

2. The loser of the toss will have their choice at the beginning of the 2nd half, unless the winner defers.

 

Timing

1. Game consists of (2) 24 minute halves with running clock until the last 2 minutes of each half. 

2. Two minute warning - clock will stop on first dead ball at or under 2:00 in both halves.

3. Under 2 minutes, college clock rules will apply. Clock stops for incomplete passes, out-of-bounds, time outs, scores, change of possessions, penalties and first downs (clock starts on the ready for play whistle).

4. Game Clock - 25 seconds

5. Each team is entitled to (2) timeouts per half - 30 second long timeouts

 

Overtime

Pool Play

1. Each team receives an overtime extra point attempt

2. No kicking allowed in overtime

3. Coin Flip – winner can choose either Offense, Defense or Type of Extra Point (1, 2 or 3).

4. If score is tied at end of first O.T., repeat in second O.T., reversing choices

5. If score is tied at the end of the second O.T., teams must go for a 2 or 3 point extra point. O.T. will continue until a winner is declared

6. Interceptions on returned O.T. extra points are worth the value of the attempted O.T. extra point

Tournament

1. Same procedure as start of game – coin toss, followed by regular game conditions with each team having one series of downs to score.

2. If the score is still tied at the end of each team’s possession, whichever team scores next is the winner

3. One timeout per team, per overtime period

 

 

Field

1. The field is 100 yards by 40 yards which includes (2) 10-yard endzones

2. First downs are lined at the 20, 40, 20 yard lines.

 

Equipment

1. No metal spikes allowed, shoes must cover entire foot

2. No pockets allowed. Players will not be allowed to play with pockets in shorts/pants

3. Each player must wear a one-piece "Flag-A-Tag" belt, which has 3 flags attached. Flags must be clipped, and cannot be knotted in any way.

4. Jerseys must be tucked in

5. Teams must provide their own flags and football. Regulation or youth sized footballs allowed

 

 

Players

1. Each team can have a maximum of 8 players on the field at one time. 5 males maximum. 

2. Minimum to start the game is 6 players (4 males, 2 females)

3. Maximum number of females allowed on the field is 7

 

Possessions

1. No Kick-offs - Offensive team starts at the 14 yard line

2. Teams have 4 downs to advance to the next line to gain.

3. Teams must declare punts, and cannot fake punt. 

Line of Scrimmage

1. Offensive team must have 4 players set on the line of scrimmage prior to a snap

2. No more than 1 player can be moving laterally during the snap

3. All formations are acceptable, as long as 4 players are set on the line of scrimmage

4. Defense must be at least 1-yard off the LOS (cannot line up in the neutral zone)

 

Scoring

1. Male TD = 6 points, Female TD = 9 points

2. In order to be a female TD, female must complete a pass across the line of scrimmage, and/or be the one to carry the ball over the endzone line and/or catch the ball in the endzone.

3. Extra Points can be snapped from 3 yards (1 point), 10 yards (2 points), or 20 yards (3 points). Teams can play or kick for the extra point try. 

4. Field Goal attempts are allowed for 3 points. If field goal is missed, ball is turned over to opposing team at previous LOS. 

5. Defense cannot cross the LOS during FG or XP kick attempt. Defense can jump to attempt to block the attempt, but cannot land in neutral zone.

6. If females kick the extra point or FG, it is worth 1 additional point.

 

Snaps

1. Ball must be snapped between the legs or from the side to start the play. The snap must be received at least 1 yard behind the center.

 

Screen Blocking

1. Screen blocking is legally obstructing an opponent without contacting them with any part of the screen blocker's body. The screen blocker shall have their hands and arms at their side or behind their back. Any use of the arms, elbows or legs to initiate contact is illegal. 

 

Special Co-ed Rules

1. A male may not advance the ball past the Line of Scrimmage in the first 22 minutes of each half

Penalty: Illegal Advancement, 5 yards and loss of down

2. A female must be an operative player at least once every 3rd play.

Penalty: 5 yards, loss of down and play is still considered CLOSED

An operative player is: intended receiver, primary runner who gains yards past LOS, or a QB who passes the ball past the LOS to a receiver. Passes to a female player downfield are the sole judgement of the officials in determining if pass was intended for a female player.

An operative player is NOT: a player who hands off and/or snaps the ball, receives the ball and fails to cross the LOS, or throws a pass that does not cross the LOS. 

3. Open/Closed Play

A. Officials will declare before each play if it is "Play 1", Play 2", or CLOSED.

B. "Play 1" means this play & the next play is eligible to go to and involve any player, male or female

C. "Play 2" means this play is eligible to go to and involve any player, male or female. It also indicates that should a female not be an operative player, the NEXT play will be CLOSED.

D. "Closed" means the play is required to have a female involved in the play

E. On a CLOSED play, if the QB gets sacked, it is still CLOSED

F. On a CLOSED play, a male may receive a pass from a male and pitch to a female prior to possessing the ball (landing). However, if the female does not catch the pitch, it is an incomplete pass to a male and is a 5 yard penalty from the LOS with a loss of down.

Open/Closed Further Clarification:

A legitimate female play must be attempted, for positive yards, once every three plays. The main clarification here is that the play must be a legit attempt and must be for positive yards. Thus, in a closed play situation, if a female QB is sacked, the next play remains closed. Any pass (male or female) that is thrown behind the line of scrimmage and does not result in positive gain, does not open the play. To clarify, if a female QB throws an incomplete pass short of the line of scrimmage, it does not open the play. Similarly, if a male throws a pass to a female behind the line of scrimmage and she does not make a positive gain, it does not open the play. Female runs for 0 or negative yards does not open the play. 

 

Under 2 Minute Rules

1. During the final 2 minutes of each half, there are no more closed plays.

2. Males may advance the ball over the LOS

3. Female scoring rules remain intact. 

 

Live Ball

1. The ball is live at the snap and remains live until the Official whistles the ball dead.

2. One Foot In-Bounds for Legal Catch - A player who gains possession in the air is considered in-bounds as long as one foot comes down in the field-of play

3. Imitating Offensive Signals - The defense may not imitate the offesnive team's signals by trying to confuse the offensive players with the QB is calling out signals to start the play. This will result in an Unsportsmanlike Conduct Penalty

 

Dead Ball

1. The ball is ruled dead when:

A. A snap to a QB hits the ground

B. A fumble hits the ground

C. A ball carrier's knee or elbow hits the ground

D. A ball carrier steps out-of-bounds

E. A ball carrier's flags are legally removed

NOTE: If a ball carrier's flags fall off inadvertently, play shall revert to a one hand touch between the shoulders and knees

F. A touchdown, point after touchdown or safety

 

Inadvertent Whistle

In the case of an inadvertent whistle, the offense has three options:

1. The ball is in player possession - the team in possession may elect to put the ball in play where declared dead or replay the down.

2. The ball is loose from a fumble, backward pass or illegal forward pass - the team in possession may elect to put the ball in play where possession was lost or replay the down.

3. During a legal forward pass the ball is returned to the previous spot and the down is replayed

 

Running

1. The ball will be spotted where the ball was at the time of a flag pull

2. QB Runs:

A. Male - Can only run over the LOS in the last 2 minutes of each half

B. Female - Can run any time

3. No Run Zones are located at the 3 yard lines, before each end zone. No player, male or female, is allowed to advance the ball by running over the LOS in the No Run Zones at any point of the game

A. Clarification – if the Line of Scrimmage is located at the 3 yard line or closer to the goal line, no offensive player may advance the ball over the line of scrimmage

4. Laterals and pitches are allowed anywhere on the field

5. All defensive players are eligible to rush at the snap

6. Runners may not leave their feet to advance the ball (diving)

7. Spinning is allowed

8. Runners may leave their feet if there is a clear indication that he/she has done so to avoid collision

9. Downfield blocking - Screen blocking for the ball carrier is allowed downfield but must be a set block

10. Flag Obstruction - All jerseys must be tucked in before play begins. The flags must be on the player's hips and free from obstruction. Deliberately obstructed flags will be considered flag guarding

 

Passing

1. Backward passes and laterals are allowed

2. Only one forward pass per down

3. If a passer crosses the LOS and comes back behind the LOS and throws a pass, it is an illegal forward pass

4. Interceptions may be returned

5. If a penalty occurs on an interception return by the return team, the penalty will be assessed from the spot of the foul

6. If a penalty occurs on an interception return by the defensive team, the penalty will be assessed from the end of the run.

7. Intentional Grounding - A passer may not intentionally throw the ball into the ground to avoid a loss of yardage

EXCEPTION: In the last 2 minutes of each half, a passer may throw the ball into the ground to stop the clock and conserve time. The play is legal, provided the passer is not trying to avoid a loss of yardage. 

 

Receiving

1. All players are eligible to receive passes

2. No contact allowed on the receivers on offense

3. Only one player is allowed in motion at a time. No motion is permitted towards the LOS

4. A player must have at least 1 foot in-bounds to make a legal catch

5. Simultaneous catch is awarded to the offense

6. Interceptions are returnable on extra points, and the points awarded will be the same as the extra point attempt

 

Kicking Game

Overview

1. No Kick-offs - Ball will be placed on 14 yard line after a touchdown or FG

2. Safety - Ball will be placed on the 20 yard line

Punting

1. Any player may punt or return a punt

2. In order to change the decision of a punt, team must call a time out.

3. At least 4 players must be on the LOS, and cannot move until the ball is punted

4. Defense may attempt to block the punt, but cannot advance past the LOS

5. If the punter drops the snap, the ball is dead at the spot

6. Punter must receive the pass at least 5 yards away from the center

7. Punter must punt the ball immediately

8. If the punting team or punt return team touches a punt and it hits the ground, the ball is dead at the spot

9. Punt in the endzone results in the ball being spotted at the 20 yard line

10. Fair catch of a declared punt: The receiving team may request a free kick for 3 points (FG) at the spot of the received punt if fair caught. 

11. Any punt returner may signal for a fair catch. No member of the punting team may interfere with the punt returner after making a Fair Catch signal.

Extra Points

1. Extra Point (male) 

= 1 point (3 yard line - catch, pass or kick) 

= 2 points (10 yard line - catch, pass or kick) 

= 3 points (20 yard line - catch, pass or kick)

2. Extra Point (female) 

= 2 points (3 yard line - catch, pass or kick) 

= 3 points (10 yard line - catch, pass, run or kick) 

= 4 points (20 yard line - catch, pass, run or kick)

3. You may only change your extra point choice by calling a time out

4. After an extra point, the next play shall be from the 14 yard line

5. At least 4 offensive players must be on the LOS

6. Defensive players cannot go past the LOS during an extra point kicking attempt

Field Goal

1. Field goals are worth 3 points (males) or 4 points (females) and can be attempted on any down

2. After a successful FG, the ball is spotted at the 14 yard line

3. Defensive team cannot advance past the LOS during a FG attempt

4. At least 4 offensive players must be on the LOS

5. When a FG is missed:

A. Field goals that are missed inside the 20 yard line shall be brought out to the 20 yard line

B. Field goals that are missed outside the 20 yard line shall be placed at the original scrimmage line

C. The receiving team may return a missed field goal attempt from the end zone of the field-of-play

D. If the receiving team fumbles or muffs an attempted return of a missed field goal, the ball is dead at the spot where it hits the ground

6. When a FG is blocked

A. If an attempted FG is blocked and hits the ground, the ball is dead

B. FG that are blocked inside the 20 shall be brought out to the 20 yard line

C. FG that are blocked outside the 20 shall be placed at the original LOS

D. Either team may advance a blocked FG that is legally caught as long as the ball has not yet touched the ground

7. Field Goal attempts on 1st, 2nd, 3rd Down - If blocked by the receiving team and is caught by the kicking team, it shall be counted as a scrimmage play, and the kicking team shall receive the next succeeding down.

 

Time Preservation

This can only take place in the 2nd half. After scoring, the losing team can elect to give the winning team the ball at the losing team's 20 yard line in order to keep the winning team from using up the clock. Once this is done, the losing team must give winning team the ball at the 20 yard line until the end of the game. The losing team will continue to start their offensive series at the 14 yard line as in a regular game. This hurry-up tactic becomes an irrevocable right of the winning team. 

 

Rushing the Passer

1. Restraining Line (Rush) - Defensive players who rush the passer may be up on the restraining line, located 1 yard off the LOS, when the ball is snapped. Any number of players can rush the QB at the snap

2. Players rushing the QB may attempt to block a pass, however, NO contact can be made with the QB in any way. Blocking the pass or attempting to black the pass and then making contact with the passer will result in a Roughing the Passer Penalty.

 

Flag Pulling

1. De-Flagging - De-flagging is the legal removal of a flag from an opponent in possession of the ball. Pushing, striking, holding, slapping or tripping when attempting to pull a flag is not permitted. Defensive players may leave their feet to pull a flag. Offensive players are not permitted to protect or guard their flags. 

A. A legal flag pull take place when the ball carrier is in full possession of the ball.

B. Defenders can dive to pull flags but cannot tackle, hold or run through the ball carrier when pulling flags

C. It is illegal to attempt to strip the ball from the ball carriers hands

D. If a player's flags inadvertently fall off during the play, the de-flagging reverts to a one hand touch of the runner between the shoulders and knees. 

E. If a flag is removed illegally, play should continue with the option of the penalty or the play

F. A defensive player may not intentionally pull the flags off a player who is not in possession of the ball

G. Tampering with the flag in any way to gain an advantage including tying the flag, cutting the flag, using foreign materials or other such acts are illegal

H. Flag guarding is an attempt by the ball carrier to obstruct the defender's access to the flag by stiff arming, dropping the head, hand, arm or shoulder, or intentionally covering the flags with the jersey. 

 

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

1. If the Referee witnesses any acts of intentional tackling, elbowing, cheap shots or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game. The decision is made at the Referee's discretion. No appeals will be considered. 

2. Offensive or confrontational language is illegal. Officials have the right to determine offensive language. If this occurs, the Referee will give one warning. If it continues, the player or players will be ejected from the game. 

3. Players may not physically or verbally abuse any opponent, coach or Official.

4. Ball carriers must make an effort to avoid defenders with an established position

 

Penalties

Overview

1. The Referee will call all penalties

2. All penalties will be assessed from the LOS except as noted (spot fouls)

3. Only the team captain or head coach may ask the Referee questions about rule clarification and interpretation. 

4. Games may not end on a defensive penalty unless the offense declines it

5. Penalties are assessed live ball then dead ball. Live ball penalties must be assessed before a play is considered complete.

6. Penalties will be assessed half the distance to the goal when the penalty yardage is more than half the distance to the goal

 

Spot Fouls - Offense

Illegal Forward Pass

Spot Foul, -5 yards, Loss of Down

Illegal Block Downfield

Spot Foul, -5 yards, Loss of Down

Flag Guarding

Spot Foul, -10 yards, Loss of Down

Diving to Advance the Ball

Spot Foul, -10 yards, Loss of Down

Holding

Spot Foul, -5 yards, Replay the Down

Illegal Contact/Not Avoiding Defensive Player

Spot Foul, -10 yards, Replay the Down

Unnecessary Roughness

Spot Foul, -10 yards, Automatic First Down

 

Spot Fouls – Defense

Defensive Pass Interference

Spot Foul, Automatic First Down

Unnecessary Roughness

Spot Foul, +10 yards, Automatic First Down

Illegal Contact/Bodying Up the Ball Carrier to Remove Flag

Spot Foul, +10 yards, Replay the Down

Stripping the Ball

Spot Foul, +10 yards from the End of Run, Replay the Down

 

Defensive Penalties

Illegal Contact

+5 yards from LOS, Automatic First Down

Illegal Flag Pull

+5 yards from LOS, Automatic First Down

Holding – Eligible Receiver

+5 yards from LOS, Automatic First Down

Off-Sides/Encroachment/Neutral Zone Infraction

+5 yards from LOS, Replay the Down; Consecutive - +10 yards from LOS, Replay the Down

Roughing the Center, Kicker, Holder or Passer

+10 yards from LOS, Automatic First Down

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

+10 yards from LOS, Automatic First Down

Simulating the Snap Count

+10 yards from LOS, Replay the Down

Holding – Ball Carrier

+10 yards from End of Run, Replay the Down

Illegal Participation

+10 yards from LOS, Replay the Down

Illegal Substitution

+5 yards from LOS, Replay the Down

 

Offensive Penalties

Delay of Game

-5 yards from LOS, Replay the Down; Excessive: -10 yards from LOS, Replay the Down

Illegal Motion/Procedure – False Start/Shift

-5 yards from LOS, Replay the Down

Illegal Substitution

-5 yards from LOS, Replay the Down

Illegal Formation

-5 yards from LOS, Replay the Down

Illegal Participation (starting with no flags on)

-5 yards from LOS, Loss of Down

Illegal Forward Pass (Male catches and runs over LOS)

-5 yards from LOS, Loss of Down

Illegal Forward Pass (3 consecutive male-to-male pass plays)

-5 yards from LOS, Loss of Down (Play still considered CLOSED)

Illegal Advancement in No Run Zone (Running inside the 3 yard line)

-5 yards from LOS, Loss of Down

Offensive Pass Interference

-10 yards from LOS, Loss of Down

Illegal Participation

-10 yards from LOS, Replay the Down

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

-10 yards from LOS, Automatic First Down

 

General Penalties

Fighting 10 yards from LOS, Ejection

Profanity 10 yards from LOS, possible Ejection

Unpalatable Act 10 yards from LOS, Official’s discretion

Conduct Unbecoming 10 yards from LOS



Send Your Feedback