2013-2014 Flag Football Rules

General Game Rules


–          Games are 2 – 20 minute STRAIGHT time halves. When clock runs out warn each team that there are 3 plays remaining.

–          Each possession starts on the 2 yard line.

–          Teams have 3 plays to get to half and then 3 plays to score. If teams fail to reach half or end zone in 3 plays, ball turns over and other team gets it at their own 2 yd line.

–          If ball is intercepted, ball stays where tackled and the 3 plays are applied depending on field position.

–          Rush is 7 yards. Set bean bag at the line of scrimmage and walk off 7 yards and drop other bag. NOTE: The rush is ONLY applied to the Quarterback. All other team members are live anywhere on the field.

–          Once bag is dropped give teams 20 seconds to run play

–          Referees should stand on sideline between the two bags to watch both rusher and receivers for offside.

–          All Receivers MUST be stopped on line of scrimmage at the snap

–          No Fumbles, ball is placed where the receiver dropped ball. if the QB exchange from centre is dropped then only the QB can pick up the ball and continue play. if anyone else touchs the ball it will be blown dead at that spot.

–          No JUMPING to avoid a tackle– spinning is allowed but jumping is not. If a player jumps the ball is dead when they left the ground.


• Cleats are allowed, but must be rubber. Inspections must be made prior to the game. Shorts with no pockets are recommended. Matching jerseys in color are required.


Field Dimensions and Markings

• Length: 60 (or 80) yards.

• Width: 25 (or 30) yards.

• End Zones: Maximum 10 yards deep, minimum 7 yards deep.

• No-running zones: Must be marked 5 yards from each end zone.


• A coin toss determines first possession. Loser of the coin toss has choice of end zone

to defend.

• The team that loses the coin toss gets possession at the beginning of the second half

starting at its own 2-yard line.

• There are no kickoffs. The offensive team takes possession of the ball at its 2-yard

line and has three plays to cross midfield. Once a team crosses midfield, it has three

plays to score a touchdown. If the offense fails to score, the ball changes possession

and the new offensive team takes over on its 2-yard line. An automatic first down by

penalty will overrule the other requirements regarding three plays to make either a first

down or score.

• If the offensive team fails to cross midfield, possession of the ball changes and the

opposition starts its drive from its 2-yard line.

• All possession changes, except interceptions, start on the offense’s 2-yard line.

• Teams change sides at half time.


Number of Players

• Teams consist of 6 Players minimum (5 on the field at a time).

• Teams may play with a minimum of four (4) Players (due to injuries).

• If less than 4 Players are available, the game is cancelled.


• Game length is 40 minutes running time (two halves, 20 minutes each).

• If the score is tied at the end of regulation time, teams move directly into overtime. A

coin toss determines first possession of overtime. The team that wins the coin toss

starts with the ball at mid field. Each team gets one chance with the ball. if still tied the game ends as a tie There will be no timeouts granted during the overtime period.

• Each time the ball is spotted the offense has 20 seconds to snap the ball.

• Each team has 1 x 60-second timeouts per half. These cannot be carried over to the

second half or overtime.

• Officials can stop the clock at their discretion.

• The teams will be warned when there are two minutes left to play in the second half.

• There will be a halftime period of 2 minutes between the first and second half.



• Touchdown: 6 points

• Extra point: 1 point (played from 5-yard line)

• Extra point: 2 points (played from 12-yard line)

Any convert intercepted and ran back for a score is worth 2 points.

• Safety: 2 points – player’s flag is pulled in the end zone or player steps out of the endzone while in possession of the ball, ball changes possession and the Defensive team is awarded 2 points.

Note: In the case of a bad snap that travels out of the end zone the Defensive team is awarded 2 points but the offensive team will keep possession and take a loss of down. This only applies on 1st or 2nd down if the ball is spotted at the 2 yard line.



• To start the play, the ball must be snapped between the legs of the Center.

• The Center is the Player who gives the ball to the Quarterback via a snap. The Center

cannot take a direct handoff back from the Quarterback (no Center sneak play).

• The Quarterback is the Player who receives the ball directly from the Center.

• The Quarterback cannot run with the ball past the line of scrimmage.

• An offence may use multiple handoffs behind the line of scrimmage. Only backward or

lateral handoffs are allowed during a down.

• Tosses or sweeps behind the line of scrimmage are allowed and are considered

running plays. Downfield tosses are not permitted. Once a player has possession of

the ball beyond the line of scrimmage, any loss of possession will be blown dead by

the official.

• “No-running zones” are located 5 yards from each end zone. When the ball is on or

inside the 5-yard line going towards the opponent’s end zone, the offense cannot run.

The offense cannot use a running play to cross the line of scrimmage.

• The Player who takes the handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of


• All Defensive Players are eligible to rush once the ball has been handed off or tossed,

or there is a play-action fake or fake handoff.

• Spinning is allowed, but Players cannot leave their feet to avoid a Defensive Player (no


• The ball is spotted where the ball carrier’s feet are when the flag is pulled, not where

the ball is.

• It is up to the ball carrier to avoid contact with the defender. Good defensive

positioning should be rewarded by the officials. no shoulder dropping or initiating contact to avoid a flag pull, player will be deemed down where contact is initiated.




• All Players are eligible to receive passes (including the Quarterback if the ball has

been handed off behind the line of scrimmage).

• As in the NFL, only one Player may be in motion, but not in motion towards the

opponent’s end zone at the snap.

• A Player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception. (They cannot

return on to the playing field from an out of bounds position.)



• Only Players starting 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage can rush the Quarterback.

• Interceptions change the possession of the ball.

• The defense can return interceptions.

• On interceptions that occur and remain in the end zone, the ball will become dead and

will result in the ball belonging to the intercepting team at its 2-yard line. Should an

interception occur in the end zone and the ball carrier leave the end zone, the ball will

belong to the intercepting team at the spot the ball becomes dead. However, should

the ball carrier return to the end zone and be flagged, or the ball be ruled dead the

result would be a safety for the other team.

• Shovel passes are allowed but must be received beyond the line of scrimmage.

Laterals: are only allowed behind the line of scrimmage. Note: on the last play of the half and the game open field laterals will be permitted as long as they are back ward laterals.


Dead Balls

• Substitutions may be made on any dead ball.

• Play is ruled “dead” when:

• Official blows the whistle.

• Ball carrier’s flag is pulled or becomes illegal.

• Ball carrier steps out of bounds.

• Touchdown or safety is scored.

• When any part of the ball carrier’s body, other than a hand or foot,

touches the ground.

• If the ball carriers flag falls off, the play will be whistled dead and the ball will be

spotted at the spot where the flag fell off.

• if a players catch’s a pass without a flag the ball will be spotted where the catch was made.

Note: There are no fumbles. The ball will be spotted where the ball carrier’s feet were

when the fumble was made. I.e. a bad snap will be blown dead and the ball will be spotted

at the Center’s feet. There is no stripping of the ball.


Rushing the Quarterback

• All Players who rush the Quarterback must be a minimum of 7 yards from the line of

scrimmage when the ball is snapped. Any number of Players can rush the

Quarterback. Players not rushing the Quarterback may defend on the line of

scrimmage. Once the ball is handed off or tossed, or there is a play-action fake or fake

handoff, the 7-yard rule no longer is in effect and all Defenders may go behind the line

of scrimmage. A special marker, or the Referee, will designate 7 yards from the line of


the rules grant the rusher a direct and unobstructed path to the quarterback after the ball is snapped. No one is permitted to block or obstruct the rusher in any way, it is the offensive players obligation to get out of the rushers way on any motion plays. 

To maintain a clear and direct path, the rusher must line up one yard outside the feet of the opposing centre and not directly in front of that player. if any player gets between the rusher and the QB an Obstruction pentalty will be enforced.


The defender/rusher will be called for a Personal Foul if they make ANY kind of contact with the Quarterback’s throwing arm or hand or above the Quarterback’s shoulders while the Quarterback is attempting to make a pass, this includes the Quarterback’s natural follow-through motion.



• If the referee witnesses any acts of flagrant contact, tackling, elbowing, cheap shots,

blocking, or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the Player will be

ejected. FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED, 2 occurrences and the player will be ejected from the league.

• Trash talking is illegal. (Trash talk is talk that may be offensive to officials, opposing

Players, teams, or spectators.) Officials have the right to determine offensive

language. If trash talking occurs, the referee will give one warning. If it continues, the

Player or Players will be ejected from the game.



• All penalties are 5 yards (except for Pass Interference/Personal Foul – 15 yards.) The down will be

repeated, and will be assessed from the line of scrimmage, unless otherwise noted.

• All penalties can be declined.

• Penalties will not exceed half the distance to the opposing team’s goal line from the

line of scrimmage.

• Referees determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play.

• All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.

• Only the team captain may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and

interpretations. Players cannot question judgment calls.

• Games cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless the offense declines it.

Defensive Penalties

• Offside – 5 yards and automatic first down.

• Pass Interference/Personal Foul – 15 yards and automatic first down.

• Illegal contact (holding, blocking, etc.) – 5 yards and automatic first down.

• Illegal flag pull (before Receiver has ball) – 5 yards and automatic first down.

• Illegal rushing (starting rush from inside 7-yard marker) – 5 yards and automatic first


• Substitution fouls (Player enters field after ball is blown ready for play, i.e. to deceive

opponents or 6 Players on the field)- 5 yards and automatic first down.

• Disconcerting signals (signals to distract opponent or simulate offensive signals prior

to snap)- 5 yards and automatic first down.

• Interference with opponent or ball at the snap- 5 yards and automatic first down.

Offensive Penalties

• Delay of Game- 5 yards and loss of down

• Substitution Fouls- 5 yards and loss of down

• Illegal motion (more than one person moving, etc.) – 5 yards and loss of down.

• False Start- 5 yards and loss of down

• Illegal Snap- 5 yards and loss of down

• Offensive Holding- 5 yards and loss of down

• Illegal shift or failure to pause for one second- 5 yards and loss of down

• Player out of bounds (if Player goes out of bounds, Player cannot return to the field

and catch ball)- 5 yards and loss of down

• Illegal forward pass (pass received behind line of scrimmage) – 5 yards and loss of


• Offensive pass interference (illegal pick play, pushing off/away Defender) – 5 yards

and loss of down.

• Flag guarding – 5 yards from the point of foul and loss of down.



Official’s duties


Everyone is required to referee games during the season. the schedule will show which team is responsible for reffing what games, it is required that you provide at least 1 official per field 2 would be better but one is the minimum.


The official’s duties consist of

  • Making sure that the cones set up are in the correct locations before the game begins.
  • Keeping track of time
  • Setting bean bags after each play
  • Watching for and issuing penalties
  • Keeping the game flowing
  • Recording and reporting the scores.