Flag Football Rules



      «  Game Time:  Game will consist of two 20-minute halves. The clock will run continuously in the

            first half until stopping for the 2-minute warning.  Clock will restart at the next play and will not

            stop for anything but timeouts.  Clock will run in same manner for second half.  HOWEVER, inside

            two minutes in the second half, the clock will stop for incomplete passes, out of bound plays, and

            first downs until the referee signals ready for play.


      «  Timeouts:  Each team will be allowed TWO timeouts per half for a total of FOUR per game.


      «  Play Clock:  The referee will keep a 25-second play clock for each play and will notify the offense

            when 10 seconds remain. The penalty for exceeding time allotted is a delay of game penalty

            resulting in 5 yards and a replay of the previous down.

General Gameplay

      «  Co-ed Team Requirements:  A complete team shall consist of 8 players (5 males and 3 females). A

            team may use more than 3 female players at any point during the game, but cannot increase the

            number of male players. In order to begin a game, a team must have a MINIMUM of 2 female

            players. Teams not able to field a full team may play with a minimum of 6 players (4 men and 2



      «  Defense / Blocking:   NO CONTACT IS ALLOWED!  Screen blocking may be used.  This is a

           “basketball type” defense.  Referee will be watching for any use of hands, feet, tripping, etc.


      «  To Begin Play:  Teams must have 5 people set on the line of scrimmage to begin a play.  The referee

            will confirm this every play with a verbal “Line Set”.  Five people must be set on the line of

            scrimmage even if a team is playing with less than 8 players.  A team MAY put a player in motion

            prior to the ball being snapped if that player is moving either parallel to the line of scrimmage OR

            backwards.  This player need not reset before the ball is snapped IF there are still 5 players set on

            the line at the snap.  Only one player may be in motion.

o   Play will begin at the 14-yard line and first downs will be awarded for crossing each 20-yard marker.


      «  Scoring: 

o   Touchdown – 6 Points are awarded for any touchdown; teams may choose to try for 1 or 2 extra points.  Extra points may be returned by the defense for 2 points.

o   Safety – Safeties are worth 2 points.

o   Complete Pass / Touchdown – The receiver must establish possession and have one foot in bounds.

o   Fumbles – NO FUMBLES!  The ball is dead when it hits the ground.  If the ball is in the air, even on attempted laterals, it is LIVE.


«  Open & Closed Downs:  The Gameplay will consist of “OPEN” and “CLOSED” downs.

      An OPEN down is defined as a down in which any player, male or female, is eligible to receive a

      pass. At a minimum, every third play must be a female play.  Each possession begins with 1st down

      and OPEN 2, meaning that the offense has 2 consecutive open plays remaining where any player is

      eligible.  EVERY FEMALE PLAY resets the series to OPEN 2.  (See Below for definition of FEMALE


o   Example – Referee calls 1st down, OPEN 2.  A male QB intended pass to male receiver.

§  Result:  Regardless of yardage gained or completion, next play will be OPEN 1.  If the next play is also intended for a male receiver, resulting down will be CLOSED. 

o   FEMALE PLAYS DEFINED – If a team is facing a CLOSED down these are their options:  (The result of any of these scenarios --- regardless of whether the play was OPEN or CLOSED --- will be “X down, OPEN 2”.)

§  Male QB intends a pass to a female receiver (referee’s discretion) AND the ball crosses the line of scrimmage. If the ball does not cross the line of scrimmage OR the play results in a sack, the down remains CLOSED.

§  A female QB makes a pass attempt that crosses the line of scrimmage. Intended receiver may be male OR female.

§  A female carries the ball across the line of scrimmage. This also applies when a male QB completes a pass to a female behind the line of scrimmage. In that case she MUST cross the line of scrimmage with the ball to OPEN the succeeding play.

o   IMPORTANT!   ANY play that is NOT a female play will be considered a use of an OPEN play. This includes QB sacks, loss of yardage plays, etc.  If a sack occurs on a CLOSED play OR the play does not gain yardage, the succeeding down will remain CLOSED.  A male play on a CLOSED down will result in a 5-yd. penalty and a loss of a down.  The succeeding play will also be CLOSED.





            COURSE OF THE GAME.

    • If you are wearing pockets, you CANNOT play.  NO EXCEPTIONS!
    • Taping pockets will not be acceptable.  This rule is in place because broken and dislocated fingers are common with pockets, so before you ask if you can play just this once with pockets…don’t.  This rule is in place to keep everyone safe. 

Tie Games and Overtime

         «  Tie Games:  Regular season games can end in a tie.  Playoff games that end regulation tired will use  

               The following tie-break format:   


  • Games ending regulation in a tie score will use the “Four Downs and Out” format.  A coin toss will determine who has the first possession in overtime.  Teams will attempt to score from the same end zone.  Each team will then have 4 downs to score from 10 paces/yards from the goal line.  If a team scores, they will have the opportunity to go for one or two on the PAT.  The "open/closed" rules still apply. An interception will result in a team losing its possession [it can be returned for a score].  The game will be decided when one team scores more points in the cycle.

Miscellaneous Rules

         «  Two Minute Warning Rule Variations:  During both halves, a two-minute warning will stop the

               clock and the referee will notify both teams that the gameplay is OPEN-OPEN and that a male

               ball carrier may now carry the ball across the line of scrimmage during running or passing plays.


         «  “No-Run Zone”:  A No-Run Zone exists from the 3 yard line and in.  This means that NO PLAYER

               may carry the ball across the line of scrimmage in this zone.  During normal gameplay, this will

               only  apply to females, as men cannot rush the ball.  During the last two minutes of either half,

               when play is OPEN-OPEN as described above, this will apply to all players.


         «  Mercy Rule:  Any team leading by 35 points at any point in the second half or by 17 points at the

               two minute warning in the second half will be declared the winner.  If a team is winning by 35

               points at halftime, the trailing team will get one possession in the second half to avoid the mercy



         «  Punting:  On any fourth down play, the offense MUST declare a punt or a play.  There are no fake

               punts.  If a punt is chosen, the offensive team will place all players on the line except for the

               kicker.  The ball must be snapped to the kicker.  ALL offensive players must stay set until the ball

               is kicked.  The receiving team may catch the punt in the air or off of a bounce.  IF THE PUNT


               DEAD AT THAT SPOT.   A punt through the endzone will be a touchback.  A dropped punt in

               the endzone will also be a touchback.


         «  Rushing:  The defense may rush any amount of players at any time.  The defense must start on

               their side of the 1-yd neutral zone established by the referee’s cones.  It is the responsibility of the

               rusher to avoid contact with any blockers.  Contact initiated by the rusher will be a penalty.


         «  Blocking in the Backfield:  Blockers may shuffle their feet to stay in front of a rusher.  They MAY

               NOT use their hands or feet to extend their area in an attempt to slow the rush.  This will be

               considered a penalty on the offensive player.


         «  Blocking Downfield:  NO player on offense may move to set blocks downfield.  They MAY move

               into position to set a NON MOVING “PICK” similar to basketball.  They MAY NOT run ahead of

               the ball-carrier to shield defenders from making a play on the flags.


         «  Flag Guarding / Pulling Flags:  A play is dead when the BELT BUCKLE is separated, even if the

               remainder of the belt has not fallen off.  An offensive player MAY NOT guard their flags in any

               way to prevent his/her flags from being pulled.  This includes but is not limited to: swiping at a

               defender’s hand to guard the flag, ducking or bending over in a manner that covers up the belt

               and/or flags, carrying the ball low enough that it covers the belt or flags.




         «  Illegal Advancement by a Male Player:  Occurs when a male player carries the ball across the line

               of scrimmage outside of the last two minutes of either half.  This can apply to the QB carrying the

               ball OR to a male receiver catching a pass behind the line of scrimmage and then advancing it past

               the line. 


  •     Enforcement – 5 yards, loss of down. (A female player may advance the ball across the line  of         scrimmage at any time except within the “No Run Zone” as described earlier.)


         «  Illegal Contact (offensive or defensive):   Keep in mind this is a NON-CONTACT game.  Some

               contact is unavoidable; the referee will determine when contact becomes illegal.  This foul will

               most commonly occur between blockers and rushers.  It can also occur ON or AGAINST a ball

               carrier.  It is the responsibility of the flag puller to avoid unnecessary contact while pulling the

               flag and the responsibility of the ball carrier to avoid running over or through a defender.

  • Enforcement – 10 yards from the spot of the foul (or from the previous spot in some cases), replay of the down.


          «  Flag Guarding:  See Definition Above 


  • Enforcement – 5 yards from spot of foul, loss of down.


          «  Illegal Blocking (downfield): 


  • Enforcement – 10 yards from spot of foul, replay of down.

          «  Holding:  No player may hold another player at any time.  Commonly occurs as a pulled shirt to

                slow a player, “wrapping up” a player, etc.


  • Enforcement – 10 yards

          «  Illegal Equipment:  Generally occurs when a player begins a play without flags on.   


  • Enforcement – 5 yards, replay of down.
  • NOTE:  If a player’s flags fall off on their own during a play and that player is carrying or comes into possession of the ball, the player will be deemed down by one-hand touch between the knees and shoulders.

          «  Offsides / False Start:  Any offensive player that is deemed to “simulate the start of the play” is

                considered to have committed a false start penalty.  This can occur in different ways such as

                jumping before ball is snapped, center moving the ball in a manner that simulates the play

                beginning, starting to snap the ball and not completing the snap in one fluid motion.  The defense

                will be considered offsides if he/she jumps into the neutral zone at any time.

    • Enforcement – Both false starts and offsides are DEAD BALL FOULS and enforced as 5 yards, replay of down.