Flag Football

* All final decisions will be made on the discretion of the On-Site Manager *

The Game, Field, Players, and Equipment

• Players are responsible for turning in ID cards to the timekeeper a minimum of five minutes prior to the start of each game. Only the team captain will speak for the team in all dealings with the officials.

• Four players per team (ALL pass eligible); minimum three players.

• Team area is five yards away from sidelines, within ten yards of the center line.

• Jerseys must be tucked in.  A jersey on the ball carrier which comes out during a play will be penalized if defense’s attempt at flag is hindered.

• Offense must have at least two players on the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap.


Definitions of Playing Terms

• “Ready To Play” is whistled by referee – offense has 15 seconds to put ball in play.

• There will be no kickoffs or punts

• NEUTRAL ZONE:  The area between the two scrimmage lines (point closest to the ball for offense, 2 yards behind the ball for defense).

• FLAG BELT INADVERTENTLY LOST:  Ball carrier is “downed” by one-hand touch between the knees and the shoulders. Please note that touching deemed excessive can be penalized as illegal contact.

• Team A = Offense

• Team B = Defense

Periods, Timing, Substitutions and Sideline Decorum


• Game time is starting time; there will be no grace period.  The managers watch will be the time piece used to decide game time.

• The team winning the coin toss will have the choice of offense, defense, or to defend a goal.

  • All teammates must have the same colored flag belt. The color of the flags must contrast with the team’s primary jersey color.
  • Bench area: All players must be between the 30-yd line (midfield line) and the 10-yd line on their side of the field. All players must also not be within the 2 yard restricted area at the snap. Failure to abide by this will be penalized as a Sideline Interference foul. Please read the penalties for this infraction in the Fouls and Penalties section below.

• Each half starts with possession of the ball on a team’s own 5 yard line.

• Playing time is 15 minutes of running time for the first half.  The second half will have a running clock for the first 13 minutes and stop clock for the last 2 minutes. 

• In the last 2 minutes of the game the clock is stopped for out of bounds, incomplete passes, scores, team timeouts, penalties, officials timeouts, change of possessions and first downs.

             The clock will restart on the ready after the following:

  • First downs with forward progress being stopped inbounds
  • After penalties depending on the result of the play that result of the play
  • Officials timeouts


             The clock will restart on the snap for:

  • Team timeouts
  • Incomplete passes
  • Scores
  • Change of possessions
  • Forward progress being stopped out of bounds
  • In the event that B is ahead and commits a foul and A accepts the penalty, A will be entitled to a down regardless of the clock status.
  • Each team has two 30-second timeout per half. The clock will stop during timeouts and will restart on the snap.


If A commits a foul in the last 10 seconds that causes the clock to stop, then a 10 second runoff will be mandated. A may avoid the 10 second runoff if they call a team timeout.

Mercy Rule

• If the point differential reaches 19 points or more in the last 2 minutes of the second half, the game will be terminated immediately.

Ties and Overtime Procedures

• In case of a tie at the end of regulation play during the regular season, the game will end in a tie. If a game ends in a tie during play-offs, then overtime will be played.

• Overtime: Captains will be called to center field with officials and a coin toss will be given. Winner of coin toss will decide if they want offense, defense, or to defend a goal . Team A will get 4 downs from B’s 10-yd line to score a touchdown. If they score, Team B will have 4 downs to score,. If Team B scores, then Team B will begin on offense to start the 2nd OT.. . The ball is declared dead as soon as Team B gains possession of an intercepted or fumbled ball.

Each team will receive one timeout for the entire OT period.

• During the playoffs, overtime will be played as above.

• To be eligible for the playoffs, a player must have played in at least one regular season game for the team(s) he or she intends to represent. The player’s name MUST appear on the scorecard for the game(s) played.

Ball in Play, Dead Ball, and Out-of-Bounds

• The ball is dead in the following situations:

  • Ball carrier’s person (excluding hand or foot ) touches ground.
  • Ball out of bounds. 
  • Touchdown, touchback, safety, successful try-for-point.
  • Forward pass strikes ground, or is simultaneously caught.
  • Ball touches ground (dead where hits ground).
  • Passer deflagged prior to ball leaving hand.
  • Ball is dead at spot where it hits the ground  If a ball is fumbled into the end zone, it results in a touchback.
  • Must have 1 foot or body part in the field of play before touching the ground out of bounds to be ruled a complete catch.

Series of Downs and Number of Downs

• ZONE-TO-GAIN: Team A has four plays to gain the next zone-to-gain which is the 30 yard line, aka the midfield stripe.

• In the event that the Team B gains possession by way of loss of downs or turnover, Team B will start their possession at the succeeding spot.

Neutral Zone

• There will be a 2 yard neutral zone that all players must be behind their line of scrimmage prior to the snap. If either team lines up or crosses into the neutral zone prior to the snap their team will be called for encroachment.

• The neutral zone may extend into B’s end zone.

Snapping, Handing, and Passing the Ball

• Center may snap ball either between legs or from the side; however, ball must be touching ground.

• Three and four point stances are permitted.

• Only one offensive player may be in motion before the snap, but not towards the opponent’s goal line at the snap. 

Scoring Plays and Touchback

• Value of scores:            Touchdown        6 pts.                     PAT:       From 10                2pts.

Safety                   2 pts.                                     From 3                  1 pt.

  • Only A may score on a PAT. The ball becomes dead when B secures possession.
  • In the event of a touchback, B will start the next series at their own 5 yard line.

Fouls and Penalties

Foul = Act committed

Penalty = Enforcement of foul


• ILLEGAL FORWARD PASS: 5 yard loss from the spot of the foul and loss of down.

• SCREEN BLOCKING:  Offensive “blocking” shall take place without contact.  Hands and arms at the side or behind the back.  Any initiated contact or forward contact is illegal – this rule is similar to the block/ charge rule in basketball (penalty:  10 yards).

• USE OF HANDS AND ARMS BY DEFENSE:  The arms and hands may not be used as a wedge to drive past opponents.

• BALL CARRIER:  May not intentionally or unintentionally use hands or arms to guard flags (penalty:  10 yards).  May not stiff arm (penalty:  5 yards).  May not charge into another player (penalty:  5 yards).

• DEFENDER:  May not hold, grasp, or obstruct forward movement of ball carrier in the act of removing the flags.

• FLAG BELT REMOVAL:  Flag belt detached inadvertently does not stop play (one hand tag between shoulders and knees).  Pulling the flag belt of a player without the ball is illegal (penalty:  10 yards).

• Diving to deflag a player is legal as long as contact is not created.

• Diving to score a touchdown or to gain more yardage is legal as long as  the player does not create contact at the beginning of the dive.

• A player is still responsible for their body and avoiding contact while diving to deflag the ballcarrier or to gain more yardage.

• A pass rusher may raise their arms in an attempt to deflect a pass. However, the onus is on the pass rusher to avoid contact with the QB. If the pass rusher creates contact with the QB or the ball in the QB’s possession, then a roughing the passer penalty will be called.

SIDELINE INTERFERENCE (w/o player contact with official):

                First offense: Warning

                Second offense: 5 yard penalty (assessed as a dead ball penalty)

                Third offense: 10 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty charged to team captain (assessed as a dead ball penalty)

                Fourth offense: 10 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty charged to team captain resulting in the captain being ejected (and yes, it is a dead ball penalty)

SIDELINE INTERFERENCE: (w/player contact with official):

                First offense: 10 yd unsportsmanlike conduct penalty assessed to captain

                Second offense: 10 yd unsportsmanlike conduct penalty assessed to captain resulting in captain being ejected

                All fouls by A in their end zone that has the basic spot on or behind the goal line result in a safety.


A team must have a minimum of three players or a maximum of four players on the field at the start of the game.  A team with less than three players will automatically forfeit the game.  The maximum number of players is 8.