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Flag Football : Rules
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The Game

Each team will consist of 7 players, a minimum of 5 is needed to avoid a forfeit. Playing time shall be 40 minutes, 2 halves of 20 minutes. Half time shall be 5 minutes. Each team shall be allowed two, 30 second time outs. In the event of a tie, a coin flip will determine choice of ends or getting the ball first. Both teams will have 4 downs to score from the 18 yd. line. If they do score, they will have an opportunity for an extra point attempt (1 or 2 points). If the score is still tied after the first series of downs, the process will be repeated a second time. If still tied, the game will officially be declared a tie except in playoffs!

The Field

The field will be 72 yds. x 35 yds. with an additional 7 yd. end zone on each end. The zone lines shall be located 18 yds. apart. A hash mark will be located 3 yds. from each endline, and a second hash mark located 10 yds. from each endline.


  • Touchdown: 6 points
  • Extra Points: 1 point if successful from the 3 yd. line hash; 2 points if successful from the 10 yd. hash
  • Safety: 2 points (If a player carries the ball across the goal line they are defending and the ball becomes dead while in their team's possession, it is a safety. When a player intercepts a forward pass or catches a punt and their momentum carries them into the end zone, the ball will belong to the receiving team at the spot of the catch or reception.)


Each player must wear a belt of their designated color. Shirts must be tucked in. No metal cleats may be worn, but rubber cleats are permissible. One team must properly wear identifying vests.

General Rules of Play

There must be three down offensive linemen. The two linemen on either side of the center are ineligible to receive a forward pass or run with the ball. Only 1 player may be in motion in the backfield. If you are playing with less than seven players there must be a minimum of two down lineman.

Contact blocking is permitted only on or behind the line of scrimmage. To legally contact block, you must be on your feet before, during, and after contact is made with an opponent. Under no conditions shall a high-low block, cross body block, or rolling block be permitted. The blocker is allowed to contact only that portion of the opponent’s body between the waist and shoulders. An open hand, straight arm block, within the framework of the blocker’s body is the ideal block to avoid unnecessary roughness. You may not grab the jersey of an opponent when attempting to block. The blocker’s hands may not be locked together. The blocker may not swing, throw, or flip the elbow or forearm. There may be no contact of any kind to the head and/or shoulders in an attempt to block.

Screen blocking only is permitted beyond the line of scrimmage. Screen blocking shall take place without contact. The blocker shall have their hands and arms at their side or behind their backs. Any use of arms, elbows, or legs to initiate contact is illegal.

Coin Toss

The referee will flip a coin in the presence of the two captains before the beginning of the game. The captain winning the toss shall choose one of the following options:

  1. Defense
  2. Receive the ball
  3. Which goal they’ll defend
  4. Defer choice to 2nd half.

The loser of the toss shall choose the remaining option. Before the second half, the choice of options will be reversed.

There will be no kickoffs. After a score, the other team will begin possession on their own 10 yd. line.

A team in possession of the ball shall have 4 consecutive downs to advance to the next zone.

Quick punts are illegal. On fourth down, the offensive team must declare their intent to punt. If they do punt, it is a protected scrimmage punt. Both teams must have at least 3 players within 1 yd. of the line of scrimmage and remain motionless until the punt is made. Punts downed in the end zone will come out to the 10 yd. hash mark.

The Flag Belt

All shirts must be tucked in and not permitted to hang over the flag belt. Should a player lose their flag inadvertently during a play, and should that player have possession of a live ball, that player will be considered down when a legal tag (one hand between the shoulders and knees including the hand and arm) is made. Players must have possession of the ball before they can be deflagged. It is illegal for a defensive player to intentionally pull a flag from an offensive player who is not in possession of the ball. In cases when a flag is removed illegally, play should continue with the option of the penalty of the play.

No offensive players may illegally secure their flag to their belt .

Runners shall not flag guard by using their hands, arms, or the ball to deny the opportunity for an opponent to pull or remove the flag belt. Flag guarding includes:

  • Swinging the hand or arm over the belt to prevent an opponent from deflagging.
  • Placing the ball in possession over the flag belt to prevent an opponent from deflagging.
  • Lowering the shoulders in such a manner which flag guards.

Forward Passes and Interceptions

If a player is in the air attempting to catch a ball, the player must contact the ground with at least one foot in-bounds with the ball in their possession prior to going out of bounds, unless contact by an opponent causes the player to first touch out of bounds. If possession of the ball is lost simultaneously with contact of the ground, it is not a catch. If a forward pass is caught simultaneously by members of opposing teams, the ball is dead at the spot and belongs to the team that snapped the ball.

Pass Interference

It is pass interference if an eligible receiver is deflagged or touched prior to touching the ball on a pass thrown beyond the offense’s line of scrimmage.


Once the ball touches the ground, it is considered dead. This applies to fumbles only. Punts that hit the ground may be picked up and run back. If a snap from center hits the ground it can be picked up by the quarterback and play continues. If a bad snap is touched by the defense it is dead immediately on the spot. If a ball is fumbled and the fumble hits the ground, the ball is dead on the spot and belongs to the team last in possession. If the ball is fumbled forward, it will be spotted where the ball carrier was at the time of the fumble, not where the ball touched the ground.

If a fumble is recovered in the air before it hits the ground, it is a live ball and may be advanced by the recovering team.


Following are penalties, all of which are penalized 7 yds. from the line of scrimmage.

  1. Punch, strike, strip, steal, or attempt to steal the ball from a player in possession
  2. Tripping
  3. Contacting an opponent who is on the ground
  4. Throwing a runner to the ground
  5. Hurdling another player
  6. Contacting an opponent after the ball is declared dead
  7. Clipping
  8. Roughing the Passer
  9. Pass interference
  10. Reception by ineligible receiver
  11. Intentional grounding
  12. Guarding the
  13. Any conduct deemed unsportsmanlike by the official may be subject to ejection and suspension
  14. Holding
  15. Any other form of unnecessary roughness
  16. Taking more than 30 sec. to huddle and snap the ball for your next play.
  17. Lifting or moving the ball prior to the snap (you may snap the ball sideways or between your legs)

* Penalties are all 7 yds. from the line of scrimmage or ½ the distance to the goal line if inside 7 yds. The only exception to that is if a penalty (such as pass interference or holding) occurs more than 15 yds. beyond the line of scrimmage, the penalty is doubled (i.e. - 14 yds.)

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