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Flag Football Men's Rules    

Monday, June 19, 2017 9:50 PM

Men’s Flag Football Rules

The game shall be played between 2 teams of 6 players each. 5 players are required to start the game and avoid a forfeit. This league is full contact blocking flag football where everyone is eligible.

Team Rosters

Teams may carry up to 14 players on their roster. Rosters are set after the 6th game of the season. It is the captain’s responsibility to make sure the roster has all the players listed. Breaking the roster rules can result in a game forfeit.

Coin Toss

At the coin toss in the center of the field, the visiting Team Captain will be given the privilege of calling the coin toss while the coin is in the air. The winner of the toss will be given his choice of defense, offense, designating the end of the field (side they will defend) at which the ball will be put in play.

The Equipment

1.       Each team must provide an NFL/College regulation sized football. The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. Each team is responsible for its own ball (keeping it dry during adverse weather conditions). There is no rule regarding the inflation, that is solely up to the team.

2.       T-Shirts will be provided in different colors for each team. All shirts must be tucked in. No article of clothing may cover any portion of a player's flag or belt (Flag Guarding). 

3.       The lower uniform may be shorts, warm-ups, pants or any other type of athletic wear. Pants/Shorts with belt loops, or pants/shorts with front, side or back pockets will not be allowed. If the player has pockets, loses the right to potential holding fouls.

4.       No metal cleats are allowed.

5.       Players may not wear jewelry of any kind. Players caught with jewelry are removed from the game until the jewelry is removed.

6.       No headgear with bill may be worn. Must be turned backwards.

7.       Flag Belts: All players on the field of play must wear approved "Triple Threat Flags" at the waist. The flags must be securely sewn to the belt and the entire belt must be able to be freely pulled off. 


1.       Touchdowns - 6 Points

2.       Extra Points

a.       The scoring team must declare prior to marking the ball ready for play whether they will go for 1 from the 5 or go for 2 from the 10-yard line. This is allowed by anyone on the field. Once the declaration is heard by the referee, it may not be changed. Scoring team may reconsider choice by calling a time-out or taking a Delay of Game Penalty (if no time-outs remain). If the team changes after a delay of game they will attempt the PAT from 5 yards back from the normal spot.

3.       Safety

a.       2 Points will be awarded along with possession, the offensive team will punt the ball to the defensive team for possession change. All players must remain still until the ball is physically kicked. This could result in penalties by other team.


Overtime does not occur during the season. At the end of the game, if the score is tied, it will remain a tie.

During the playoffs when the score is tied at the end of the second half, the Referee will instruct both teams to return to their respective sidelines.

1.       The same coin toss rules apply.

2.       Each team will be permitted one time out (30 seconds) during each extra period.

3.       The final score will be determined by totaling all points scored by each team during the regulation game and overtime period(s). All game rules will apply except:

4.       The ball shall be placed at the defenders 20-yard line to begin each overtime period.

5.       The line-to-gain will always be the goal line. No try-for-point will be made if the winner of the game has been determined.

6.       If B scores a safety or touchdown during A’s possession, the game is ended. If B gains possession and does not score, then A’s down and series ends immediately

7.       First down will only be awarded during a series if there is a penalty against the defensive team. Penalty must constitute an automatic first down.

8.       If A scores a touchdown, it is entitled to the opportunity to try-for-point, except when it is unnecessary to break a tie.

9.       After one (1) overtime period has been completed, both teams must attempt a two (2) point conversion after each touchdown during any subsequent overtime period.

Standings and Tie Breakers

Standings will be determined by the number of points. In the event of a tie, the following tie-breaking rules will be used.

1.       Points: Wins are worth 3, ties worth 1 point, losses 0 points.

2.       Head-to-head: If the teams met during the regular season, the team with the better record versus the other wins. If the teams did not meet, head-to-head shall be considered a tie.

3.       Win Percentage: The percentage of games that were won.

4.       Points Against: The team with the lowest number of points scored against them wins.

5.       Points For: The team with the highest number of points scored against opponents wins.

Mercy Rule

Should a team be trailing by 17 or more points at the 2-minute warning in the second half, the referees shall end the game immediately. There will be no exception to this Mercy rule.

Should a team be trailing by 35 or more points at any time in the second half, the losing team may elect to stop playing.

Additional Rules

A flag check is not required after a score but if suspected may be asked by the team. Note: If there is an obvious tying or knotting of the flag belts the score will be erased and a 15-yard penalty will be given. Player that committed is warned and/or ejected.

Inadvertent whistles. In the case of an inadvertent whistle the play will be replayed from the original line of scrimmage unless the whistle came after a reception or a turnover. If the reception occurred prior to an inadvertent whistle then the reception will stand and the ball will be placed where the ball carrier was when the inadvertent whistle occurred. If a turnover occurred prior to an inadvertent whistle then the turnover will stand and the ball will be placed where the ball carrier was when the inadvertent whistle occurred.

Any player whose flags fall off without a defensive player making an attempt to pull them off, will not be considered “down” and play will continue until touched with only 1 hand by the defense.

A towel may be worn to dry the ball. Note: The towel will count as a flag and a player wearing the towel will be considered down when the towel has been pulled.

Game Time

The game will begin with the offensive team taking the first snap from the 10-yard line. All subsequent drives after scores will begin from the 10-yard line. There are no kickoffs.

The length of the game is 40 minutes, divided into two halves of 20 minutes each. The game length will consist of (2) 20-minute halves with a continuous clock, except for the last 2 minutes of the second half. Except for timeouts.

Clock Regulation

1.       Clock will start when the referee is in place and thus allow the game to begin.

2.       After a team time-out, the clock will start at the snap of the ball.

3.       The on field Captain or quarterback may request the amount of time left in the game from the officials at any time. Officials will be expected to give the correct time.

4.       The clock will stop for team time-outs and/or official time-outs.

5.       Clock will automatically stop at the two-minute warning of the second half.

6.       The clock will stop

A.      Immediately after a touchdown

B.      Immediately after a point after attempt.

Inside of 2-Minutes

1.       During the final 2 minutes of the second half, traditional clock stoppage is used only when the ball carrier steps out of bounds, a change in ball possession, incomplete passes, a score is achieved, a point after and when there is a penalty.

2.       Clock will start on the snap.

3.       The clock will stop for team time-outs and official time-outs.

Half Time

There shall be an intermission of three (3) minutes after the first half. During halftime, all play is suspended, and the teams may leave the field.

Time Outs

Each team will have 2 time-outs per half. Time-outs will be 30 seconds. Any player that participated in the last play and is on the field of play may call time-outs.

The officials may call additional time-outs at their discretion to attend to an injured player.

If a team exceeds its time-out limit in either half they will receive a 5-yard penalty. Teams calling a timeout within the last 2 minutes that do not have a timeout and are losing will also receive a 30 second time penalty.


On 4th down, a team may elect to punt and must tell the referee at which time the referee will tell the defense so they can line up for a punt. The punting team must punt the ball from behind the line of scrimmage and have all other players on the line. The receiving team must have at least 4 players at the line of scrimmage and opposite the kicking team. There are no fake punts allowed. . No rushing the punter. A fumbled snap will result in the ball being placed at the spot it hit the ground.

(Note: If the offensive teams wishes to reset their decision, they may do so by calling a timeout)


After the official marks the ball "ready-for-play", the offense will have 25 seconds to put the ball in play or else be penalized 5 yards for a Delay of Game. It shall be the responsibility of the offensive team to retrieve its own ball and get it back to the huddle after each play.


Two or more offensive players may be shifting their position at the same time prior to the snap. Their movement may be in any direction but they must become set for one full count (1 second) before the ball is snapped or before another player may go in motion prior to the snap.


Only 1 player is allowed to be in motion and his movement must be parallel to or away from the Line of Scrimmage in a continuous motion at the snap or the whole offense must re-set.

Encroachment Offside

Encroachment Offside shall be called if either the offense or the defense passes over the plane of the line of scrimmage prior to the snap. A false movement of the football by the center shall constitute offensive encroachment. These are Dead Ball Fouls and the play shall be immediately whistled dead before play begins and 5 yards automatically marked off against the encroaching team unless a first down would occur (Offensive Captain's Choice). If declined by the offensive captain, the play will reset and the clock will stop until the following snap.

If a player on either side lines up offside, the official will point toward that player’s team side and say “neutral O or neutral D”. It is the player’s responsibility to look and listen to the referee. If that player does not get back on side before the ball is snapped, he will be considered as having been offside at the moment of the snap.

Offensive Formation

Offensive team must have at least 3 players on the line of scrimmage.

All players are eligible receivers.


During a legal block, defense and offense must initiate contact with open hands; arms extended outward. Open hands can be thrust forward initially to contact an opponent inside the body frame (chest area only). Hands cannot be thrust forward above the shoulders to contact an opponent on the neck, face, or head. As the play develops, a blocker is permitted to work for and maintain position on an opponent as long as he does not push from behind or clip. If a defensive lineman turns his back to the offensive linemen while in contact there will be no penalty for blocking in the back. Open hand blocking is allowed on all portions of the field and is not restricted to the line of scrimmage.

Players cannot engage in a block beyond the line of scrimmage when the ball is in the air. If the ball is thrown and it is in the air behind the line of scrimmage then blocking is allowed.

Two on one blocking is permitted.

Defensive Formation

The Defense must initiate open-hands to the Offensive line in pursuit of getting to the quarterback and runner. Full rush is allowed by defense on every down.

Bump and Run

Contact is allowed within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, after 5 yards is a 10-yard penalty.


There can be only one forward pass per play.

If the passer/runner is beyond the line of scrimmage and the football is released forward, an illegal Forward Pass has occurred; this will result in a 5-yard penalty from POS and loss of that (not an additional) down if accepted. Illegal forward passes will be marked from the point of infraction.

Once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage, in the air or in possession of a player, it cannot be passed forward, even if the ball is brought back behind the line of scrimmage.


The Quarterback is 100% protected on every play. There may be no contact made with the Quarterback at all. It is the responsibility of the defender to keep their hands down and go for the flag if they are close to the QB. Contact caused by the QB’s follow through is a penalty if the defenders hands are raised.

QB may not run past the line of scrimmage.

Center Snap

The ball must be snapped to the Quarterback between the centers legs and without touching the ground. If the ball touches the ground it shall be declared dead at the spot.

A false movement of the football by the center after he is set shall constitute encroachment.

Direct Snaps are Legal; but there must be a clear and immediate exchange of the ball between the center and the quarterback.

No center sneaks. The football must exchange hands.

Ball Carrier

The responsibility of avoiding contact rests with the ball carrier. He must show the officials he made an effort to avoid contact. The ball carrier will not deliberately run or drive into a defensive player. A ball carrier may spin but while spinning or jumping is in a "State of Non-Control" and should contact occur as a result of his uncontrolled momentum, he will be penalized. The ball carrier may jump over a player on the ground.

A player may not jump forward to advance the football. The only time it is legal for the runner to jump is to avoid contact with a player who has fallen on the field.

The ball carrier shall not protect his flags by blocking with his hand, arm, head or ball. The defensive player must have a clear opportunity to pull his flags.

On punt returns or interceptions any of the above will be marked off from the point of infraction and first down.

Diving and Jumping

Ball carriers may not dive or jump forward in an effort to gain extra yardage. Jumping is allowed to avoid contact with a player on the ground, however jumping into or on a defensive player is illegal.


Forward offensive fumbles will result in ball being marked dead at the point of fumble. Backward fumbles (including missed snaps or laterals) will be marked at point where ball hits the ground or goes out of bounds.

Rushing the QB

All attempts at rushing the QB must begin seven (7) yards behind the line of scrimmage on the defensive side of the ball. There is no minimum or maximum number of players that can rush the QB. The referee will provide the seven (7) yard marker for which the rusher must begin. Rusher can reset before rushing to avoid a penalty.

Pass Interference

Pass Interference Rules shall apply to any pass made from behind the line of scrimmage, whether it is a forward pass or a lateral pass, and applies to both offensive and defensive players. After the pass is in the air, neither pass receiver nor defender may touch the other until one of them touches the ball. If contact occurs after one of them touches the ball, then pass interference cannot be called unless one of them catches the ball and the other "strips" or attempts to "strip" the ball from his hands.

No intentional contact will be allowed. The same rules continue to apply even if the ball has been tipped.

All pass interference calls, whether offensive or defensive will be Captain's choice penalties. If the captain refuses the penalty, the play will stand.

Screening a receiver's eyes by a defender without playing the football is pass interference and shall be penalized as such.


Stripping the Ball

Attempting to take the ball from the grasp of a receiver after he has established possession is not allowed. If the player established possession of the football, the defender must go for the flag and not the ball. (Officials judgment will determine if a catch has taken place). 

Any contact that occurs after the pass is touched (excluding stripping the ball) must be judged by the officials as either unavoidable contact caused by both players playing the ball or avoidable contact, which shall be penalized. If judged to be flagrant, the penalized player may be removed from the game with an additional 15-yard penalty for un-sportsmanlike conduct. If the pass is judged to uncatchable, the penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.


One foot must be "in-bounds" to constitute a legal pass reception (when controlled by the receiver).

The lines marking the sidelines and the extreme back of the end zone shall be considered out of bounds if stepped on any degree.

Two or more offensive receivers or defensive players may touch a pass in succession, resulting in a completion. After a pass is thrown, it is too much to expect of the officials to keep track of exactly who touched the ball. The official(s) will determine (1) did pass interference occur? (2) Who caught the ball? And (3) was receiver inbounds with one foot at moment of possession?

A double reception always goes to the offense.

A receiver is not allowed to go out of bounds willingly and enter back into the field of play. If he is the first to catch the ball, the play is considered dead. However, if he is not, he is legal for play.


Illegal De-flagging is prematurely pulling an opponent's flag when they don’t have the ball, with the intent of making the offensive player ineligible to become a ball carrier.

The ball carrier is down and the ball is dead when a flag is detached from the ball carrier's belt, the belt is broken, or when the ball touches the ground. A defensive player's feet may leave the ground to pull the offensive player's flag (from the side or behind only), but he may not make contact while doing so. When a defensive player pulls the ball carrier's flag/belt, he should stop and hold it above his head for officials to see.

The ball should be spotted at the point where the ball was, when the belt broke or flag was removed (does not matter where on the field the flag belt falls to the ground).

A ball carrier that falls to the ground inadvertently or touches a knee to the ground, is considered down and not allowed to get back up. A player will not be considered down when their hand touches the ground.

The intended receiver of either a forward or lateral pass may be de-flagged only after first touching the ball - even while fumbling or bobbling the ball and before possession is established. If the receiver has not gained possession of the ball when flag is pulled play will continue. Receiver can then be downed by single hand touching after gaining possession. In the event a receiver has not gained possession of the ball (bobbling) when flag is pulled and a defensive player intercepts the pass it will be defenses ball.

If the ball is in the hand of the Quarterback and flag is pulled, the passer shall be down at the spot.


Tackling is prohibited. If the defensive player reaches across the body of a ball carrier to pull his flag and contact is made, the responsibility of the contact lies with the defensive player. The penalty for tackling will be as follows: 10 yards for impeding (encircling of body); 15 yards for tackling from the point of infraction if further then 15 yards or from the line of scrimmage, also results in an automatic first down. If, in the opinion of the officials, the act prevented a score, the ball will spotted at the one yard line and a first down will be awarded. The offender will be ejected if the act was in the officials’ judgment to be flagrant.



1.       Wearing illegal equipment during a play

2.       Delay of game encroachment

3.       False start or illegal snap

4.       Impeding the rusher outside the line of scrimmage (6 Man only)

5.       Less than 3 players on scrimmage line on punts for defense

6.       Illegally handing the ball forward (and loss of down)

7.       Illegal Motion or Shift

8.       Illegal Snap

9.       Illegal Forward Pass (and loss of down)

10.    Illegal run (and loss of down)

11.    Illegally Assisting the Runner

12.    Illegal Rushing

13.    Mimicking the snapcount

14.    No flags worn


1.       Flag Guarding

2.       Illegal chuck/contact

3.       Illegal use of hands (includes Stiff Arms)

4.       Illegal De-flagging

5.       Illegal participation (no flags from the start of the play)

6.       Holding

7.       Sideline Violation

8.       Hurdling or illegal jumping

9.       Block beyond the line of scrimmage when the ball is in the air

10.    2nd intentional encroachment in one game

11.    Offensive Pass Interference (from the line of scrimmage)

12.    Stripping the ball

13.    Touching / hitting the center before they have a chance to get their head up

14.    No Sleeper plays (“hide at the sideline” play)

15.    Tackling : encircling the body


1.       Blocking below the waist.

2.       Clipping

3.       Illegal contact above the shoulders (Hands to the face or neck)

4.       Hitting/jumping on an opponent that is on the ground

5.       Defensive Pass Interference

        -If you are within 15 yards of the endzone the ball will be placed on the 1 yard line- 

6.       Chop Block

7.       Swim move

8.       Rip move

9.       Roughing the Passer

10.    Intentional Contact

11.    Unnecessary Roughness (May also include ejection)

12.    Un-sportsmanlike Conduct (May also include ejection)

13.    Throwing a blow (Automatic ejection)

14.    Taunting or instigating foul play (May also include ejection)

15.    Trash Talk

16.    Tackling

17.    Diving (Offense may dive to catch a pass, defense may dive to remove a flag) No other form of diving is allowed. Tying or knotting flag belts.

18.    Tripping

19.    Tackling to the ground. From the point of infraction is further than 15 yards

Conduct of players and others

Whenever, in the judgment of an official, the following acts are deliberate or flagrant, the players involved shall be ejected from the game and possibly suspended from the league:

1.       Using fists, kicking or kneeing.

2.       Using locked hands, elbows or any part of the forearm or hand, except according to rule.

3.       Tackling the ball carrier as in regulation football.

4.       Fighting

5.       Flagrant Fouls

6.       Taunting

7.       Sideline players are subject to the same disqualification for abusive, obscene, or badgering language to either opposing players or officials. If the Captain or Coach of the penalized team cannot control the action of his players, the game can be forfeited at the discretion of the game officials

8.       Any verbal badgering of officials or derogatory language between opposing players after officials have asked once for Team Captains' control may result in player(s) involved in the action being disqualified and possibly suspended from the league.

A.     Warning

B.      15 yards penalty

C.      Ejection of player and potential 1 game suspension

D.     Forfeit of the game

All rules are enforced and interpreted by the referees. All calls and actions are under the referee's discretion and may not be argued. If a team or player wants an explanation, the referee may or may not offer one at the appropriate time. 


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