Flag Football Playing Rules
POOL PLAY GAMES
Pool play games will have the same rules as elimination and consolation games with three differences.
- Pool play games will have 20 minute halves
- Halftime will be 5 minutes
- Pool play games will only stop the clock in the last 2 minutes of the second half (not the last two minutes of both halves).
ELIMINATION AND CONSOLATION GAMES
- Elimination and consolation games will have 25 minute halves
- Halftime will be 10 minutes
- Clock will stop in the last 2 minutes of both halves
- Clock runs continuously, except inside the last two minutes of the first half in pool play and the last 2 minutes of both halves in elimination and consolation games where the clock will operate according to standard high school rules.
- 30 second play clock between plays.
- Each team gets 3 timeouts per game. Time outs are 30 seconds.
- There are no fumbles. The ball is dead where it falls if backwards, dead where runner lost possession if forward.
- Exception: A “bad snap” that touches the ground goes back to the previous spot and the down counts.
- First down every 10 yards.
- 6 points for a touchdown.
- One extra point is scored by converting a play from the 5 yard line. Two extra points are scored if you convert from the 10.
- Ball must be on the ground for a snap.
- Only one running play (including a QB scramble across the line of scrimmage) per POSSESSION.
- Running is always allowed on extra points.
- QB is across the line of scrimmage (and therefore cannot make a legal forward pass) if either of their feet are across the line. It only takes one foot across the line to be illegal. If their entire body is across the line but their feet are behind it, the forward pass is legal.
- Everyone on offense must be set for one full second before the snap or before one single receiver goes into motion. Only one can be in motion at the time of the snap, and their direction can’t be toward the line of scrimmage.
- There is no penalty for intentional grounding by the QB.
- No flag guarding is allowed. Flag guarding includes:
- No lowering your head when running with the ball.
- No diving when running with the ball.
- No charging into an opponent. You must go around a stationary player.
- No stiff-arming.
- No jumping/hurdling to avoid being deflagged (spinning is allowed).
- No hands around the flag belt when running.
- Teammates cannot push or pull a runner with the ball.
- Receiver needs to get one foot or any other body part in bounds with possession of the ball, before any other part of their body touches out of bounds, for a legal catch.
- Downfield blocking is allowed after a receiver makes a catch or during a running play.
- Regular blocking rules (described below) apply.
- Receivers cannot contact the defenders when coming off the line of scrimmage. Once offensive receivers pass the expanded neutral zone (5-yards past the line of scrimmage), defenders cannot obstruct the receiver’s opportunity to move freely about the field.
- Contact by the defender may be continuous as long as contact does not continue beyond the expanded neutral zone (5-yards past the line of scrimmage).
- Blocking -- A blocker is allowed to contact only that portion of the opponent's body between the waist and shoulders and the blocker's hands or forearms must be in front or to the side of the player being blocked. Your arms cannot be fully extended. "Hands must always be in advance of the elbows and the arms must be flexed at the elbows. In any block, the hands or arms may not be swinging forward faster than the blocker’s body. Players must block with hands and elbows within the frame of their body.
- Rushing -- When rushing as a defender, you must start beyond the neutral zone -- 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage. When the ball is hiked you can immediately rush from this position. There is no limit to the number of people who can rush from this position (5 yards deep).
- A pass rusher must avoid charging into any Team A player. When encountering a blocker from Team A, a pass rusher must (a) stop prior to making contact with the blocker or (b) clearly change direction in an effort to move around the blocker. If a pass rusher makes an effort to move around the blocker and the blocker moves into the path of the pass rusher, there is no charging.
- Rushing Exception: You CAN rush from the line of scrimmage (not 5 yards deep) once a rusher who has lined up 5 yards back has crossed the line of scrimmage. For example: If you line up on the line of scrimmage you must wait until one of the rushers who lined up 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage crosses the line before you can rush in. All rush zone restrictions for team B end once the quarterback’s initial possession ends (i.e. handoff to another player, forward or backward pass, etc.
- "Tackling" -- Only way to "tackle" a ball-carrier is to remove their flag. You can't push the player out of bounds or try to knock him down. You are not allowed to obstruct the forward progress of a ball-carrier. You are allowed to contact the receiver on the line within 5 yards. Blocking rules apply here as well. You cannot have contact with the receiver (other than incidental) beyond 5 yards. When defending a pass you must make a play on the ball only.
- At kickoff all teammates of the kicker must be behind their 30 yard line until the ball is kicked. Receiving team must have at least 4 players between their 30 yard line and midfield. At least 4 receivers must remain in this area until the ball is kicked.
- Punts -- Fourth down punts may be “announced” (you can quick-kick on any other down). For announced punts all teammates of the kicker must be within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage. Kicker must be 5 yards from the line when she receives the snap. Receiving team must have 4 players within one yard of the expanded neutral zone yard until after the ball is kicked. No receiver can cross or move off the line of scrimmage until after the ball is kicked.
CLOCK RULES WITHIN 2 MINUTES
- During the last two minutes of both halves, the clock will stop for scores, team time-outs, official time-outs, penalties, after a first down, after an incomplete pass, after a change of possession, or after a play ends out of bounds. In the case of a score, team time-out, incomplete pass, or after a play ends out of bounds, the clock will start on the next legal snap.
- In the case of a penalty or first down, the game clock will start again once the ball is spotted and the ready-for-play signal is given by the referee.
- During the final one minute of each half, a dead ball foul or live ball foul for illegal shift where not all players are set that occurs while the clock is running causes a 10-second subtraction from the game clock.