Flag Football Rules
For clarification, illegal equipment consists of:
A. Headwear containing any hard, unyielding, stiff material, including billed hats, or items containing exposed knots.
C. Pads or braces worn above the waist.
D. Shoes with metal, ceramic, screw-in, or detachable cleats. EXCEPTION: Screwin cleats are allowed if the screw is part of the cleat.
E. Shirts or jerseys that do not remain tucked in. Any hood on a coat, sweatshirt, or shirt that does not remain tucked in.
F. Pants or shorts with any belt(s), belt loop(s), pockets(s), or exposed drawstring(s).
G. Leg and knee braces made of hard, unyielding material, unless covered on both sides and all edges overlapped.
H. Any slippery or sticky foreign substance on any equipment or exposed part of the body.
I. Exposed metal on clothes or person.
J. Towels attached at the player's waist.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: Each team should start the game with 7 players; a minimum of 6 is needed to avoid a forfeit. A player may play on only one team per sport. Teams may have as many subsitutions per team as they want. Please check the Rules of Eligibility for all other rules concerning Intramural Sports.
SUBSTITUTIONS: Substitutions are only allowed on change of possession or in case of injury.
LENGTH OF GAME: Time will be 40 minutes running time except. 20 minute half's followed by a 5 minute halftime.
EACH TEAM IS ALLOWED 1 TIMEOUT PER FIRST HALF AND 2 TIMEOUTS PER SECOND HALF.
FIELD OF PLAY: The field is 50 yards by 30 yards and the endzone is 5 yards deep by 30 yards wide.
MERCY RULE: If a team is 21 points or more ahead when the Referee announces the two-minute warning for the second half, the game shall be over. If a team scores during the last two minutes of the second half and that score creates a point differential of 21 or more points, the game shall end at that point.
OVERTIME (TIE GAME): There is no overtime. if tied each team will be awarded one point for a tie.
LINE OF SCRIMMAGE: The ball will start on your own 15 yard line after every touchdown or at the start of every half. The offensive team must have a minimum of 2 players set the line of scrimmage at the snap. Players in motion do not count as players on the line of scrimmage. Once the center has placed his hands on the ball no offensive player may enter the neutral zone. Following the ready for play whistle and until a legal snap, no defensive player may encroach, touch the ball, stand in, or in any other way interfere with the offensive team. Penalty - Dead Ball foul, encroachment, 5 yards from succeeding spot.
INTERCEPTAIONS: Interceptions can be ran back from wherever they are caught. Once you make an interception you are free to run it back for a touchdown.
NO PUNTING: There is no punting. If you reach fourth down and wish to punt the other team will start on their own 15 yard line. If you reach fourth down and wish to go for it the defensive team will take over where ever the play stops.
BACKWARD PASSES AND FUMBLES: Any ball that is fumbled during a down will be a live ball. A backward pass or fumble may be caught or intercepted by any player inbounds and advanced. A player may not intentionally throw a backward pass out of bounds to conserve time or to avoid being downed. This will be penalized as an Illegal pass: loss of 5 yards, loss of down and the clock will start on the ready for play. Once a ball has touched the ground the ball is considered dead.
FORWARD PASSES AND INTERCEPTIONS: If a player is in the air attempting to catch a ball, the player must contact the ground with at least one foot in-bounds with the ball in their possession prior to going out of bounds, unless contact by an opponent causes the player to first touch out-of -bounds. If possession of the ball is lost simultaneously when they hit the ground, it is not a catch. If a forward pass is caught simultaneously by members of opposing teams, the ball is dead at that spot and belongs to the team that snapped the ball.
PASS INTERFERENCE: Any contact that, in the view of the official, interferes with the attempt to catch a pass (offensive or defensive player) is pass interference unless, in the view of the official, it occurs when two or more eligible receivers make a simultaneous and bona fide attempt to reach, catch, or bat a pass. It is also pass interference if an eligible receiver is deflagged or touched prior to touching the ball on a pass thrown beyond the offense's line of scrimmage. If the pass interference by the defense is intentional and/or unsportsmanlike, the defense may be penalized an additional 10 yards.
Touchdowns = 7 points
Safety = 2 points
SAFETY: If a player carries the ball across the goal line they are defending and the ball becomes dead while in their team's possession, it is a safety. If a team commits a foul in the end zone where the spot of enforcement is designated as the spot of the foul, it will be declared a safety. A team recording a safety will receive two points, and the ball shall be snapped by the scoring team at their own 14-yard-line, unless moved by penalty.
Exception- Momentum Rule - When a player intercepts a forward pass or catches a scrimmage kick between their five yard line and their goal line and their momentum carries them into the end zone where the ball becomes dead, the ball will belong to the receiving team at the spot of the catch or reception.
Flag Rules: The flag belt must stay on at all times. If it falls off you are down wherever the flag falls. If you slip or fall or dive to catch a ball or when the ball is in your hands you are down at that spot. You may not get up and run.
PERSONAL FOULS: Any act listed below or any other act of unnecessary roughness is a personal foul. Players shall not :
5 yard penalties.
- Punch, strike, strip, steal, or attempt to steal the ball from a player in possession.
- Trip an opponent.
- Contact an opponent who is on the ground.
- Throw the runner to the ground.
- Hurdle another player.
- Contact an opponent either before or after the ball is declared dead.
- Make any contact with an opponent that is deemed unnecessary.
- Deliberately drive or run into a defensive player.
- Clip an opponent.
- Position themselves on the shoulders of a teammate or opponent to gain an advantage.
- Tackle the runner. (warrants ejection)
- Unsportsmanlike conduct
- illegal flag belt removal
- Pass interfence (first down or 5 yard penalty)
- Flag guarding
- intentional grounding
- Illegal forward pass
- illegal shift
- illegal motion
- illegal snap
- false start
- delay of game
SCREEN BLOCKING: Legally obstructing an opponent without using any part of the body to initiate contact. Screen blocking shall take place without contact. The blocker shall have their hands and arms at their sides or behind their back. A screen blocker cannot use their hands, arms, elbows, legs or body to initiate contact. If they do use contact it will be called a Personal Foul.
Screen blockers may not:
- Take a position closer than a normal step when behind a stationary opponent.
- Make contact when assuming a position at the side or in front of a stationary opponent.
- Take a position so close to an opponent that they cannot avoid contact by stopping or changing direction.
STIFF ARMING: Stiff arming is not allowed; a personal foul will be called, and if warranted an unsportsmanlike conduct or
ejection will result.
OBSTRUCTING THE RUNNER: A defensive player shall not hold, grasp, or obstruct the forward progress of the runner when attempting to remove the flag belt.
THE FLAG BELT: All shirts must be tucked in, and are not permitted to hang over the flag belt. Should a player loose their flag belt legally or illegally during a down and should that player gain possession of a live ball, that player will be considered down when a legal tag (one hand touched by the defense between the shoulders and knees, including the hand and arm) is made. When a player scores they must immediately raise their hands and allow an official to remove their flag belt. This is done to insure that the flag belt has not been illegally secured. If the belt has been illegally secured the score is disallowed, the player ejected and a 10 yard Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty will be administered from the previous spot. Players must have possession of the ball before they can legally be deflagged. It is illegal for a defensive player to intentionally pull a flag from an offensive player who is not in possession of the ball. In cases where a flag belt is removed illegally, play should continue with the option of the penalty of the play
(Penalty: Personal foul, 10 yards).
GUARDING THE FLAG BELT: Runners shall not flag guard by using any part of the body or ball to deny the opportunity for an opponent to pull or remove the flag belt. Flag guarding includes but is not limited to:
- Swinging the hand or arm over the flag belt to prevent an opponent from deflagging.
- Placing the ball in possession over the flag belt to prevent an opponent from deflagging.
- Lowering the shoulders in such a manner that flag guards.
OFFICIAL'S AUTHORITY: An official assumes authority 15 minutes prior to the scheduled game time, and until they have left the field. The officials have the authority to rule on any situation not specifically covered in the rules. His/her decision is final, unless ruled otherwise by the supervisor on duty or the Director of Intramural Sports. The official has the right to eject players or have them sit out of part or all of the game. Fans, coaches, and spectators are a part of a team and any fouls they commit will go against their team.
GAME TIME RULES: Teams will be penalized 7 points if they are not ready within 10 minutes of game time. If a team is more than 20 minutes late, they will suffer a forfeit with a score of 21-0.
SEASONAL POINTS: 3 points for a win. 1 point for a tie. 0 points for a loss. The top two teams from each division and then overall top two wildcard teams will make the playoffs for a total of 8 teams.
RULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME.
All final decisions to eligibility rules will be at the discretion of the Office of Intramurals and Recreation.
FURTHER QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS MAY BE DIRECTED TO:
Jay Sgaramella, Assistant Director Recreation, Intramurals and Event Management
Phone:908-737-0611 • Fax:908-737-0605