Flag Football Rules
FLAG FOOTBALL RULES
CIF rules will apply except as specified below
Sec 1 Team Size
A team consists of 9 boys playing on the field at one time. A team must have 9 players ready to play
at game time or a forfeit will be declared.
Sec 2 Equipment
All players are required to wear mouthpieces. No helmets or shoulder pads will be allowed.
Only soft padding (i.e. - elbow pads, kneepads) are legal. All players must wear shoes.
No metal spikes will be allowed, only rubber molded cleats.
All shirts must completely above the flags, about 2 inches and/or tucked into shorts or pants 4-6 inches.
Only NCPL approved triple threat flag belts will be used.
Flags cannot be the same color as shorts.
Any tampering with the flags will be considered unsportsmanlike conduct and will result in a 15-yard penalty
and/or ejection from the game.
The game ball must be junior size for both JV and Varsity.
Each team will be allowed to use its own ball on offense.
Sec 3 Field Dimensions
The field will be 80 yards long by 40 yards wide. The two end zones will be 10 yards deep.
The side and end lines are considered out of bounds.
Coaches and players not in the game must stand between the 20-yard lines.
Sec 4 Game Time
Varsity and J.V. games will consist of two 20 minutes halves. The clock will stop on time‑outs and during the last two minutes of each half.
Sec 5 Time Outs
Each team will be allowed 3 time-outs total per game. Unused first half time-outs will carry over into the 2nd half.
Sec 6 Scoring
A touchdown will be worth 6 points. A safety will be worth 2 points. An extra point play from (3) three yards out will be
worth 1 point. There will be a 2 point conversion option from (10) ten yards.
Sec 7 Coin Toss
The winner of the coin toss at the beginning of the game shall choose whether or not to
start on offense or defense, or which goal to defend. In the second half, the teams will
change sides and the team that started the first half on defense will be given the ball.
Sec 8 Substitutions
There will be unlimited substitutions during any dead ball situation. Substitutes must
remain in the game for at least one play. Entering offensive substitutes must pass
within ten yards of the ball.
Sec 9 Kickoffs
There will be kickoffs at the beginning of each half. Kickoffs are from the 30 yard line. The ball is dead if fumbled after possession.
"Muffed" (contact without possession) balls are live and may be played by the offense. The defense may not play the kickoff.
Sec 10 Line of Scrimmage and Backfield Player Positioning
A minimum of five offensive players must be positioned on the line of scrimmage. All
offensive players, except for the back in motion, must be set for one second prior to the
snap of the ball. All offensive players must line up at least five yards from the sidelines.
The three-point stance is not allowed.
Sec 11 Man-In-Motion
Only one member of the offensive backfield may be in motion at any one time. A man
in motion must be aligned in the backfield position. In order to be eligible to go in
motion, a wide receiver must be lined up off the line of scrimmage.
Sec 12 Eligible Pass Receivers/Legal Forward Pass
All players are eligible receivers. Only one forward pass may be attempted per play.
Once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage on a given play, no passes may be
Sec 13 First Downs
Four downs are granted to make a first down. A first down will be awarded for
advancing the ball across any section line. If the section line had been previously
crossed during the same series, a first down will not be awarded. Exception: If a team
is awarded a first down because of penalty, they must only cross the next section line, whether
or not it had been previously crossed, in order to get another first down. Section lines are
every 20 yards on the field.
Sec 14 Downfield Blocking
Downfield blocking is permitted on all running plays and on pass plays only after the
pass has been completed. No downfield blocking is allowed while the ball is in the air or
before a pass is thrown. Violations of this rule will be penalized the same as offensive
pass interference. Defensive players are allowed to block on potential receivers within
five yards of the line of scrimmage. Violations of this rule will be penalized the same as
Sec 15 Putting the Ball in Play
To put the ball in play (exception punts), the center must pass the ball to the
quarterback in a single continuous motion. Prior to putting the ball in play, the center
may adjust the ball one time only. After such an adjustment, further movement before
the snap will be considered illegal procedure.
Sec 16 Runs from Scrimmage
Direct runs by the quarter back will be allowed.
Sec 17 Downed Ball Carrier
A ball carrier is considered down any time he has possession of the ball and his flag belt
is removed by a defender or it falls off accidentally. If a pass receiver loses his flag, the
ball will be considered dead at the point of reception. A ball carrier will also be
considered down if he contacts the ground with any part of his body other than his feet
Sec 18 Legal Catch
A pass receiver must have at least one foot (first foot) in bounds after gaining
possession of the ball for the catch to be legal. This is providing that his other foot is
not already out of bounds at the time of the catch. If a receiver catches the ball while
suspended in the air in bounds, and is forced out of bounds by a defensive player
before hitting the ground, the pass will be ruled completed.
Sec 19 Dead Ball
A live ball becomes dead when:
a) a score is made
b) the ball goes out of bounds
c) an errant snap from center or a lateral touches the ground
d) a pass falls incomplete
f) an official blows his whistle, even though inadvertently. In this case, the team in possession
will be given the option of taking the ball at the spot of the whistle or taking the entire play over.
Exception: if there is a penalty against the team in possession, the penalty will be enforced.
Sec 20 Loose Ball
All loose balls are dead upon touching the ground except on a kickoff. In the case of a
fumbled lateral, the ball will be spotted at either the point of contact with the ground or at
the point the ball was last controlled, whichever creates the greatest disadvantage for
the team in possession.
Sec 21 Punt Returns
A punt may be returned if the ball is not fielded cleanly by the receiving team. Punts will be treated like kickoffs.(sec 20) Any punt that hits the ground may be returned by the receiving team. The ball is dead if fumbled after possession. "Muffed" (contact without possession) balls are live and may be played by the offense. The defense may not play the kickoff.
Sec 1 Illegal Procedure
The following violations shall constitute illegal procedure and a penalty of 5 yards will be
assessed the violating team. All illegal procedure penalties will be enforced from the
line of scrimmage.
A) Illegal Snap from Center
1) Further movement of the ball by the center after initial adjustment.
2) Advancement of the ball by the center.
B) Illegal Motion
1) Failure of all offensive players except the man in motion to come set one second prior to the snap of the ball.
2) Movement towards the line by the man in motion.
3) Movement within 5 yards of the sideline by the man in motion.
4) Having two or more players in motion simultaneously.
C) Illegal Delay of the Game
1) Failure by the offensive team to snap the ball within 30 Seconds of the time that the referee has placed the ball ready for play. Delay of game violations committed by a team that is leading or tied in the last three minutes of the game shall automatically stop the clock.
D) Illegal Substitutions
1) Failure of all entering offensive substitutes to pass within 10 yards of the ball.
2) Having more than 8 players on the field while the ball is in play.
1) Once the offensive team comes set, neither team can cross the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped. .
2) The play will be blown dead and the penalty will automatically be assessed.
Sec 2 Personal Fouls
A) Illegal Block
1) A blocker may not leave his feet to make contact with an opponent.
2) When blocking with open hands, arms may not be fully extended and must be kept within the frame of the body.
3) Contact cannot be made with the fists, elbows, or forearms.
4) Contact cannot be initiated below the waist.
5) Any contact above the shoulder even if unintentional is strictly prohibited.
PENALTY ENFORCEMENT: 15 YARDS FROM THE SPOT OF THE FOUL.
1) Contact on a block must be made within the blocked player's field
of vision. The position of the blocker's head at the time the block is
delivered will be used to determine the block's legality.
2) If a player is about to be blocked turns his back to the blocker
within 5 yards of contact, no penalty will be called.
PENALTY ENFORCEMENT: 15 YARDS FROM THE SPOT OF THE FOUL.
C) Unnecessary Roughness
1) Anytime a defensive player who does not deflect a
quarterback's pass makes contact with the quarterback,
roughing the passer will be called.
2) Ball carriers must make an effort to avoid potential flag
pullers and may not run over, straight arm, on in anyway
ward off these defenders.
3) Defensive players must go for the ball carrier's flags. They
may not tackle, hold, block, or shove a ball carrier out of
PENALTY ENFORCEMENT 15 YARDS FROM EITHER THE END OF THE PLAY
(DEAD BALL) OR THE SPOT OF THE FOUL (LIVE BALL).
D) Roughing the Passer
1) Anytime a defensive player who does not deflect a quarterback's
pass makes contact with the quarterback, roughing the passer will
2) A defensive player who does make contact with the pass must still
make an effort to avoid contact.
3) Any defensive player who is blocked into the quarterback will not be
guilty of roughing.
PENALTY ENFORCEMENT: 15 YARDS FROM THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE.
1) Offensive players may use their hands to block, but may not hold or
hook an opponent.
2) Offensive players may not put their hands wider apart than the
width of their shoulders.
3) Defensive players can use their hands to push or move blockers
out of the way but may not tackle or hold any potential ball carrier or receiver.
PENALTY ENFORCEMENT: OFFENSIVE HOLDING - 10 YARDS FROM THE LINE
OF SCRIMMAGE. DEFENSIVE HOLDING - 5 YARDS FROM THE LINE OF
SCRIMMAGE, AND AN AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN.
Sec 3 Major Pass/Run Procedure Penalties
A) Flag Guarding
A ball carrier may not use his hands to prevent a defender from pulling his
flags. All ball carriers must keep arms and hands above the waist while in
the immediate vicinity of defensive players. No spinning allowed.
PENALTY ENFORCEMENT: 10 YARDS FROM THE SPOT OF THE VIOLATION AND LOSS OF DOWN.
A ball carrier may not attempt to jump over a potential flag puller. He may step over a fallen player or dive
to the corner for a touchdown or first down.
PENALTY ENFORCEMENT: 10 YARDS FROM THE SPOT OF THE VIOLATION AND
LOSS OF DOWN.
C) Illegal forward Pass/Lateral
1) More than one forward pass in one down.
2) Throwing a forward pass while past the line of scrimmage.
3) Passer catching his own pass, unless deflected first by a
PENALTY ENFORCEMENT: 5 YARDS FROM THE SPOT OF THE VIOLATION AND LOSS OF DOWN.
D) Pass Interference
1) Making contact with an opposing player which hinders him
from catching the ball.
2) Waving hands in the receiver's face.
3) Incidental contact occurring when neither player has an
obvious advantage will not be considered a violation.
PENALTY ENFORCEMENT: OFFENSIVE INTERFERENCE - 15 YARDS FROM THE
LINE OF SCRIMMAGE AND A LOSS OF DOWN. DEFENSIVE INTERFERENCE -
AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN AT THE SPOT OF THE INFRACTION. IF DEFENSIVE
INTERFERENCE HAPPENS BEHIND THEIR OWN GOAL LINE, THE OFFENSE IS
GIVEN A FIRST DOWN AND GOAL AT THE ONE-YARD LINE.
Overtime will be used only in the playoffs. During the regular season, any game ending in a tie will remain a tie.
The overtime period begins with the coin toss to see who gets possession or who defends their goal first. There is no game clock in overtime, only the normal play clock. The team that gets possession first receives the ball on its opponent’s (10) yard line (1st & goal). The team can keep possession of the ball until one of the following happens:
1. They score a touchdown
2. Turn over the ball
Once the first team's possession is over the second team gets possession and follows the same format. If the first team scored a touchdown and an extra point, then the second team must do so in order for the overtime period to continue. If not, the game is over when the second team losses possession. Double overtime is from the (5) yard line. There will be no timeouts during overtime.