FLAG FOOTBALL RULES
1. Equipment/Field Set-Up: Team captains are responsible for bringing the supplied football, four (4) field markers, a set of ten (10) flag belts (with 2 flags each) and field permits (if necessary) to each location for every game. Captains must pace out the field so it is approximately 35 paces wide and 50 paces long with end zones 8 to 10 paces deep. Each team should bring both light and dark coloured shirts to each and every game.
2. Game Time/Default: Please arrive 15 minutes early to set up fields and start your games on time.
- Spring/Summer 2005 and Fall (Sunday) games are comprised of two (2) 40-minute halves with a 5-minute half time.
- Fall (Turf) games are 55 minutes, with a 1-minute break for half-time. Please note that games at turf fields MUST end according to the schedule. If you start late, you CANNOT finish late.
- Please agree on one person to act as timekeeper. Teams are comprised of seven (7) players with a minimum of two (2) of each gender on the field.
- A default will occur if any team cannot field a squad 15 minutes after the official start time. A team can play with a minimum of 6 people, as long as there are two (2) of each gender.
- Captains may agree to waive the rules regarding minimum people but this should be decided before the game starts. IF IT IS AGREED THAT THE GAME COUNTS, IT COUNTS!
3. General Rules:
- A coin toss will decide who will receive the opening kick-off
- The kicking team will kick-off from their own end zone line (they may punt or kick the ball from the ground). If the ball is kicked out of bounds, the offensive team will start their drive at the spot where the ball left the playing area - there is NOT an option to ask for a re-kick.
- Each offensive play starts at the line of scrimmage. The ball MUST be placed on this line prior to the "snap" - i.e. a play CANNOT be started with the ball in the hands of the Quarterback behind the line of scrimmage or in the huddle. The quarterback can "snap" the ball to him/herself, or receive the ball via a snap from a 'centre', but must shout "Hut" loud enough for everyone on the field to be aware that the play has started.
- Spinning - An offensive player CAN turn their bodies from side to side, but CANNOT spin 360 degrees. This prevents defensive players from injuring their fingers. If a player spins, the ball is dead at the point where the spin occurred.
- Offensive players may not block or otherwise obstruct any defensive players
- Offensive players cannot protect/cover/hide/block his/her flag. If the person with the ball blocks the defenders hand from grabbing their flag, the play is dead where the block occurred.
- Flags should be placed on the hips of each player at the outset of each play. The flag must be on top of all clothing and cannot be folded over such that the Velcro attachment is on the inside. As well, all shirts/jerseys must be adequately tucked in to provide clear access to the flag. An offensive player that is missing a flag may make a play on the ball, but once they have possession of the ball while missing a flag they are considered "down" and the play is dead at that spot (revised March 2012). Flags must be a minimum of 12 inches in length (from top to the tip), and 2 inches in width. A diagonal is allowed at the end of the flag but may not exceed 2 inches in length. Please click here to see a diagram of flag dimensions.
- An offensive player can dive or jump to catch a ball, but once in possession he/she cannot leave their feet at any time. This includes all forms of jumping and diving. If the ball carrier breaks this rule, the play is dead at the point where the player stood before the infraction.
- First point of contact: A receiver is determined to be "in" or "out" based on their first point of contact with the ground. If a player lands first with one foot in-bounds, and then the other foot touches down out-of-bounds, it IS a fair catch, but the play ends where they touched the out of bounds line. If a player catches the ball, but is straddling or lands straddling the sideline, it is NOT a catch. Only a ONE foot landing is needed - as long as that foot touches down in-bounds.
- Scoring: A point is scored when a player catches any legal pass or runs the ball into the defensive end zone prior to having one of their flags stripped. Please note that it is not enough to have the "plain of the end zone" broken by the ball - to score a player must step over the line in the end zone.
- The offensive team has four (4) downs to cover the entire field.
- The offensive team may punt on the 4th down, and do not need to notify the defense of their intentions to do so.
- The defense must loudly count five (5) "steamboats" before rushing the quarterback. While counting, the defense must line up at or behind the line of scrimmage. As soon as the quarterback releases the football, the defenders can cross the line of scrimmage. Therefore, if the quarterback makes a pass or handoff to a receiver who remains behind the line of scrimmage, the defender CAN rush the receiver. (i.e. the defenders do not have to wait until the receiver crosses the line of scrimmage).
- The quarterback may only run the football at the end of the 5 "steamboats" when and if the defense crosses the line of scrimmage.
- Teams receive one (1) point for each touchdown. There are no conversions.
- From the time the ball is placed on the line of scrimmage, the offense has 30 "steamboats" to start the next play. Running down the clock with an unnecessarily long huddle is not an acceptable strategy.
- Safe Plays: A defender may not step in front of the ball carrier or block a running lane if it has the potential to create an unsafe play. Likewise, an offensive player should not run with their head down, in an attempt to run through the defenders. In other words, incidental contact is inevitable, but players should not be run over. Please use your best judgment.
- If a defending team sacks the quarterback (or any offensive player with the ball) in the offensive end zone, the ball is turned over at midfield to the defending team. No points are scored.
- If the ball is kicked through the end zone on either a punt or kick-off (or kicked into the end zone and the receiving team elects not to run the ball out by letting the ball go), the offensive team will start their drive 10 paces out from their end zone, in the centre of the field. If the receiving team elects to catch the ball in the end zone (or runs back into the end zone after catching the ball), the receiver is in play and runs the risk of being tackled in his/her own end zone. If the receiving team player is tackled in the endzone, the kicking team will then take control of the ball at midfield (i.e. it is a turnover like a quarterback sack).
- If there is an interception in the endzone and the person now with the ball is tackled before they get out of the endzone, then the team that caught the interception will start the next offensive play 10 paces out from their endzone.
- At no time should any player hold onto the clothing of another player in an attempt to slow them down or impede their playing space.
- Other obscure or minor NFL or CFL rules WILL NOT APPLY (e.g. it is NOT a foul if a defensive player has his/her back to the ball and inadvertently blocks a pass with their arms or back of their head).
- Ending the Half or Game - With three minutes to go in the half (game), there are 5 plays left in the half (game). A kickoff after a touchdown is not considered a play.
- A game can end in a tie during the regular season. In the playoffs, if a game is tied at the end of regulation time, the game continues until a team has scored to break the tie. (i.e. play continues with the current line of scrimmage, the current down count and with the current team in possession of the ball).
- Teams may call a one (1) minute time-out per half if needed except during the last 10 minutes of play
4. Dead Play: If a player carrying the ball slips/falls and one knee touches the ground, the play is dead and the defense does not have to remove a flag for the play to stop. PLEASE OBSERVE THIS RULE CAREFULLY! It helps immensely in promoting safer play. In addition, if the football touches the ground for any reason (kickoffs, punts, fumbles, handoffs, etc) the ball is dead and the play is over. The next play is started at the spot where the ball hit the ground in the case of punts and kickoffs, and at the spot where the last person touched the ball for all other situations.
5. Discrepancies: All games are self-refereed. Disputes about a possible infraction are to be discussed amongst the people involved in the play. If an agreement cannot be reached, don't waste time arguing the play - simply redo the down. Please play safely and with good spirit.
6. Rough Play: ANY ROUGH OR PHYSICAL PLAY WILL RESULT IN IMMEDIATE EXPULSION FROM FURTHER LEAGUE PLAY AND MAY RESULT IN LIFETIME LEAGUE EXPULSION. PLEASE SEE THE SPORT AND SOCIAL CLUB POLICY SHEET FOR OUR OFFICIAL POLICY ON THIS SUBJECT. It is recognized that incidental contact between players is inevitable - however, all players should go out of their way to avoid creating an unsafe play. This rule supersedes all others.