FLAG FOOTBALL RULES
BASIC RULES Interscholastic official football guide rules apply with the exceptions listed below.
PLAYERS Eight (8) players per team on the field; must be in 8th grade or below at the start of the season. A player cannot be 15 years old before October 1st and play.
UNIFORMS Athletic shoes or rubber-cleated shoes with solid sole and cleats in one piece. Uniforms worn as a team should be of similar style and color. Shirts are to be tucked in at all times. Sweatpants may be worn with shorts over them. Bare or stocking feet, surface padding, helmets, jewelry, half shirts, and cutoffs ARE PROHIBITED at all times. Players without uniform will not be allowed to compete. Each uniform must have a different number.
FLAGS Flag football belts and flags with attachments at the hips are required. Flags must be at least twelve inches in length. The official league flags are Flag-A-Tag. Teams may also consider plastic socket attachment flags with the option of supplying alike hips, angled out and belt end must be tucked in. Referees should not allow ball carriers to run with flags in front or back. Flags must not match the shorts in color.
BALL Youth-sized (12 to 14 years old) footballs are to be used. TDY 1714 (Not Junior)
TEAM COLORS Where there are conflicts in colors, the home team should make the necessary adjustments.
FIELD MARKINGS The home team is responsible for marking the field and placing down lines every twenty (20) yards. Field dimensions are 80 yards by 40 yards. Outside boundaries will be marked by either chalking the field, or cones. Roping off the boundaries IS PROHIBITED.
HOSPITALITY The home team should make every effort to provide benches or chairs for the visiting teams, and the home team should help to see that the game starts on time.
SCORING Scoring is as follows:
Touchdown 6 points
Safety 2 points
Two yard extra point 1point
Five yard extra point 2 points
GAME TIME There will be ten (10) minute running time per quarter. EXCEPT: clock for TD’s and doesn’t start again until kick-off. The last two (2) minutes of each half the clock stops for out-of- bounds, incomplete passes, and first downs (clock starts again when the ball is snapped), and the other normal stopping of the clock rules, (i.e., when there is penalty discussion, etc). Time stops after try for extra points, and is not started until the next kick-off. Time-outs called to discuss a rule are not charged time-out, at ref’s discretion. MERCY: Suspend running clock 4th quarter if one team is down by more than 28 points.
TIME KEEPER One referee will keep the official time on the field
The other referee will keep the official score. The coaches should be given two minute warnings signals by the time keeper prior to the end of each quarter. There is a two-minute rest period after the first and third quarter, and a five minute rest period at halftime.
A team may take five (5) time-out of one (1) minute each game. Two time outs may be used in the first half and three time outs in the second half. Stop clock at two (2) minute warning for each half for one minute. This is treated as an official time out. (Coaches may walk on the field). Referees must give the coaches time when five (5) minutes are left, and when two (2) minutes are left in a quarter, and upon request.
FUMBLES the ball is placed at the spot where a fumble occurred. Fumbles are automatically dead ball. Any ball dropped is dead where it hits. Any snap that goes wild is dead where the ball hits. Any player who jumps on a ball receives a five-yard penalty when it is a fumble. The one exception: on a kick-off the ball may bounce until an opposing offensive player picks it up and seeks to return it. If he drops the ball, the ball is dead. Dropped punts are dead.
LINE No more or less than five players are to be on the line of scrimmage for the offense. A maximum of three players may be in the backfield. On kick-offs, five offensive (receiving) players must be on the line within ten yards of the kick-off ball. On kick-offs the defensive must be even or behind the kicker.
PUNTS All punts are freeze punts and must be announced to the opposing team before the play. Official must give receiving team time to set up. Five defensive players must be on the line of scrimmage. Ball must be punted in seven (7) seconds after the snap. ENDS CAN NOT RELEASE INTIL BALL IS KICKED. No unannounced “quick kicks”. (Dec. 1998)
HUDDLE TIME The offensive team has 35 seconds to put the ball in play from the time of the referees whistle after placement of the ball until the snap of the ball.
Play is stopped and the ball is placed where it was at time of whistle. If the play, in the judgment of the referee, would have resulted in a score, the score will be allowed. Penalties are still enforced either at placement of ball, line of scrimmage or spot of infraction; inadvertent whistle does not return an offensive gain to line of scrimmage. The offense may choose to take the yardage gained or replay the down.
Ten Yard Penalties.
1. Unsportsmanlike conduct, (coach and / or players), including use of bad language. Penalty includes loss of down.
2. Unnecessary roughness.
3. Tackling a runner.
4. Running through a defensive runner.
5. Withdrawing a flag prior to a person receiving the ball.
6. Ball carrier defending his flags.
7. Defensive hitting, jabbing, tripping, pushing, etc.
8. Illegal use of the flags (wrapping, or not angled out).
9. Ball carrier pushing his interference in front of him.
10. Failure to return to within 10-15 yards of the ball before the next play (by the offense).
11. No hurdling over players. Spin moves are acceptable.
12. Illegal blocking (flying or rolling blocks or unnecessary and extremely rough blocking).
13. Piling on a fumble or piling on another player.
14. Pass interference.
15. Roughing the passer: 10 yards and automatic 1st down.
Five Yard Penalties.
2. Too many players on the field.
3. Two men in motion.
4. No down lineman in motion after the play is set
5. Man in motion toward the line of scrimmage.
6. Illegal receiver down field.
7. Less than five players on the offensive line.
8. Too much time in the huddle.
9. Lineman starting play with a hand on the ground.
10. Not tucking shirt in after warning.
11. Any player not having two flags correctly placed on the snap.
12. Encroachment:Defense must line up one (1) yard form the line of scrimmage.
SUBSTITUTIONS Unlimited substitutions are granted. Subs must enter and players leave between downs when the ball is dead.
KICK-OFFS Kick-offs that go out of bounds are played where they go out of bounds, unless they are inside the twenty (20) yard line, and the option of having a five (5) yard penalty and kick-off again. Ball is kicked from the 35- yard line. If the ball is kicked out of bounds a second time, the ball is placed at mid-field. After the ball is kicked and after it travels 10 yards, it may be touched by either team. The team touching it first gains possession. (Nov. 2000)
On kick-offs, or punts, if anyone on the receiving team touches the ball and it hits the ground without being caught, the ball is dead where it hits the ground. The receiving player must hold onto the ball or give it off to another player in the air for the ball to be playable (but without forward passing the ball). The ball is automatically dead on the kick-off or on a punt when it enters into the end zone area whether in the air or on ground by rolling. The ball will be brought out to the 20 yard line. The receiving team will have the ball and begin from that spot. ONSIDE KICK RULE – No onside kicks (Nov. 2000) The kicking team can down but not recover the ball.
BASIC CONCEPTS Quarterback must take at least one step lateral or back before a direct run up the middle. Every effort should be made to train players to play with speed, quickness, and body deception that does not involve heavy body contact. Ball carriers should try to avoid opponents. No running through or over opponents. Defensive players should be trained to go for the flags without heavy body contact and lunging and diving for flags. Blockers should strive to avoid heavy contact in blocking. Blockers seek to make check blocks only when making contact. No forearm blasts or tripping. A score is made if the ball crosses the goal line prior to the flag being pulled. Following a flag pull, the ball should be place where the ball was at the time of the pull.
“DOWNING” A BALL CARRIER
Players should hold flags high for the referee when they withdraw the flag from a runner. It is illegal for a ball carrier to defend his flag in anyway with his hands, arm, straight arming, etc. Ball carriers may pivot, but the arms must be kept above the waist and clear of the flags when near a defensive player. The ball is automatically dead when a player with the ball is found to have less than two (2) flags on him.
NO CHARGING OR TACKLING
The ball carrier may not “run through” a defensive player, but must try to avoid contact. The defensive player must not deliberately stop the ball carrier by a tackle or push, but must establish first and then go for the ball carriers flag (similar to charging in b-ball). The referee should seek to make judgment fro the safety of players. There is a 10-yard penalty for violation of these rules.
PASSING The flag must be pulled before the ball leaves the passer’s hand to stop the play. Arm- in motion
is not enough to say that the pass is away. Defensive players may go for the passer’s flag or for blocking the pass, but if they hit the passer’s arm it is a penalty of 10 yard and automatic 1st down. Only ends and backfield are eligible for passes.
Tackling, holding, tripping, jabbing, hitting, pushing with a closed fist, elbow strikes, etc., are NOT ALLOWED. Defensive players are allowed reasonable use of hands. Violations of this rule are considered unnecessary roughness.
MAN IN MOTION One man is allowed in motion away from or parallel to line of scrimmage.
All offensive players getting ready for the next play must come within 10-15 yards of the ball before each play starts sometime the huddle. (This is to prevent someone sneaking onto the field just before a new play starts.)
UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT: (Sept. 5, 2006)
Reasons for Warnings from Official/ Referee:
Note: Many of the above reasons for unsportsmanlike conduct are judgment calls by an official/ referee. The official in charge of the game has the final “say” on the call.
Football Tie Breaker: Overtime (Sept. 5, 2006)
A coin toss will determine which team begins over time with the ball.
The team winning the coin toss may defer the ball to the other team.
The first team with the ball will decide to go for one point from the two yard line or two points from the five yard line. This team will have only one play to score.
The second team will also have one play to go for one or two points.
If the score remains tied after each team has had three plays to score, each team must go for two points in order to win.