Flag Football Rules

Flag Football Rules and Policies

Special Note: Tackling is outlawed in this league. Flag football is a non-contact sport. Any reports from the Intramural Staff of tackling may result in indefinite suspension. 


1. The officials are in complete charge of the game. Their judgment is not to be questioned or challenged in any way. 

2. The referee shall utilize rock, paper, scissors to determine who gains possession first. The winner shall have first choice of the options for either the first or the second half. The loser shall have the first choice of options for the half the winner of the toss did not select. The options are: to choose whether a team will play offense (receive) or defense or to choose the goal a team will defend. Teams automatically switch ends at the half.

Number of Players and Substitutions

1. There is a maximum of seven players on the field at one time. A minimum of six players may finish the game. You must have at least six players to start a game.

2. Substitutions may only be made when there is a dead ball situation. Substituties are not required to inform officials when they want to enter the game.

Start of Game Time

1. A five minute grace period from the scheduled starting time will be allowed before the Intramural Sports supervisor will declare a forfeit. 

2. Games will be two 20-minute halves of running time. Only the last two minutes of the second half will be stopped for all dead ball situations such as: time-outs, penalties, change of possessions, out of bound plays, incomplete passes, and all scores.

2. Half time will be 2-minutes

3. The offensive team has 10 seconds from the time the official blows their whistle to start play to put the ball back into play. If the team exceeds 10 seconds, officials will call a delay of game penalty.

4. A game or half cannot end on a defensive penalty unless the penalty is refused.

Overtime Games

1. There is no overtime period during the regular season.

2. In the event that reuglation ends in a tie during playoffs, the teams will conduct a rock, paper, scissors to determine who gets the ball first. Whoever wins and decides to get the ball first will have a 1st and goal from the 10-yard line. An overtime period consists of each team receiving a set of 4 downs. If the score is still tied after one period, the teams will go to a second overtime period, or as many as needed to determine a winner. If the first team which is awarded the ball scores, the opponent will still have a chance to win. If the defense intercepts the ball and returns it for a touchdown, they win the game. If they do not return it for a touchdown, the ball is placed on the 10-yard line to begin their series of 4 downs. If the ball is intercepted during an extra point attempt, it is ruled dead.

3. Each team is entitled to one time-out per overtime period.


1. All players are eligible to receive a pass.

2. Only one forward pass per down (either over handed or underhanded).

3. No forward hand-offs between the quarterback and the center are allowed.

4. At the time of a pass reception, the receiver must have the “first football” down and in bounds for a complete pass (Ball in complete control). Only one foot in bounds is needed for a pass to be considered completed.

5. Any number of backward or lateral passes are permitted.


1. All fumbled balls are ruled dead at the spot they hit the ground. 

2. The team fumbling the ball will retain posession of the ball. 

3. A punt that is touched by a receiving player and then touches the ground is considered dead at the point it hits the ground. If the punt hits the ground first, it is still live. 

4. All incomplete laterals or passes behind the line of scrimmage will be spotted where the ball lands.

6. A fumbled ball by an offensive team in their end zone constitutes a safety.

7. The offensive team may not fumble a ball forward in mid-air to advance the ball.

Flag Belts and Legal “Tackles”

1. Each player must wear a flag belt; each team will have a different color. Every player must have their shirt tucked in their pants.

2. If a player incidentally loses his/her flag belt, the defense must touch them with one hand between the shoulders and knees to make the legal “tackle.” Any intentional removal of the flag belt by a player without the ball will result in an illegal equipment penalty.

4. A legal tackle is made when a defensive player detaches the flag belt from the ball carrier. The ball is marked at the spot of the ball when the flag is detached. 

5. A flag guard will be called if a ball carrier uses his/her hands, arms, the ball or clothing to hide or prevent an opponent from pulling the flag belt.

6. Any ball carrier caught wearing the belt illegally will be ejected from the field of play.

7. The ball is dead if either knee of the ball carrier touches the ground at any time.


1. Only sneakers and artificial turf shoes are permitted. (No metal spikes or bare feet will be allowed.)

2. No jewelry (rings, necklaces, or earrings) is to be worn when playing.

3. All players must wear shorts/pants without pockets. Zippered pants/shorts are allowed, but must remain zippered at all times. Players are not allowed to turn pants/shorts inside out, tape/staple them closed, play in spandex, or share shorts with a teammate. 

Field Dimensions and Downs

1. The size of the field will be 60-yards by 40-yards, with 10-yard end zones.

2. The field will be divided into 3 20-yard zones. A team has four downs to cross each consecutive line (First down every 20-yard line marker). If a team has a penalty which pushes the line of scrimmage behind a new 20-yard line the offense must still pass the original first down marker.

3. During a runback, if a penalty pushes the line of scrimmage behind a new 20-yard line, the first down line will be that 15-yard line.

4. There will be a one-yard restraining line for the defensive team while in any formation or situation; the restraining line will be marked off by the officials.

5. Only one player may be in motion parallel to the line at any one time before the ball is snapped.


1. The referee will ask the offensive team on all fourth downs if they intend to punt or “go for it.” There are no fakes allowed.

2. All players must remain at the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked. Defensive players may not attempt to block the punt.

3. On a bad snap, the ball is dead where it first touches the ground.


1. The only type of blocking allowed is screen blocking. All blocking must be made with the blocker in an upright position with both hands clasped in front of or behind their backs or directly at their sides.

2. No player may use his/her hand to go through, over, or around an opponent.

3. No body blocks, roll blocks, or shoulder blocks are allowed at anytime (Penalty will be expulsion from game and automatic suspension from league play). Offensive players may not keep their elbows out when blocking, they must be against the body.

Inadvertent Whistle

The ball will be ruled dead at the spot where it was when the whistle was blown.

Safety and Touchbacks

1. A fumbled ball by an offensive team in their end zone constitutes a safety.

2. If a team intercepts a pas in the end zone and does not advance the ball out of the end zone it is a touchback. The ball is put in play on the 10-yard line.

3. If a team receives a punt in their end zone and does not advance it out of the end zone, it is a touchback. The ball is put in play on the 10-yard line.

4. Following a safety, the ball shall be placed on the 10-yard line of the team credited with the safety.


1. Touchdown……………………………………………6 Points

2. Safety…………………………………………………..2 Points

3. Point after touchdown
a. From 3-yard line……………………………….1 Point
b. From 10-yard line……………………………...2 Points


Section 1: Penalties with a loss of 5 yards

1. Delay of game

2. Enchroacment

3. False Start

4. Illegal Forward Pass

5. Illegal Motion

6. Illegal Procedure

7. Illegal Shift

8. Illegal Substitution

9. Intentional Grounding

Section 2: Penalties with loss of 10 yards

1. Encroachment

2. Flag Guarding

3. Holding

4. Hurdling

5. Illegal contact

6. Illegal Equipment

7. Illegal Flag Belt Removal

8. Illegal Kicking

9. Illegal Screen Blocking

10. Illegal Participation

11. Pass Interference

12. Roughing the Passer

13. Strip/Attempt to Strip

14. Unneccessary Roughness

15. Unsportsmanlike Conduct


Measurement of half the distance to the goal line is done inside the 10-yard line for 5-yard penalties and inside the 20-yard line on 10-yard lines.