Non- Contact Flag Football By-Laws (pdf version)

Teams             Teams will consist of generally 8-12 players, seven (7) players will play on the field.  Play may begin with four (4) players, but four (4) will be considered a forfeit if at halftime more players have not arrived, however, the game will continue for fun and practice.

Formation               All offensive players are eligible pass receivers.  The ball must be clearly snapped to and in the sole possession of an offensive player other than the center.  A legal snap can be between the legs or to the side – must stay onside.

Equipment               Official game ball will be a junior sized leather ball (TDJ) for 3rd/4th and youth sized ball (TDY) for 5th/6th..  Jersey’s must be reversible.  Metal cleats or spikes are not permitted.  Small rubber cleats are recommended.  No bare feet or stocking feet will be allowed. Flag length will be designated and issued by the city. Flag’s can be Clip/snap/Velcro. Belts and flags must be visible and worn at waist level on each side.  No player may tamper or alter his/her flags in any way.  Shirts must be tucked in.  No pockets allowed. Flags can not be the same color as shorts/pants/jerseys.

Game Length          The game will consist of two 20 minute halves with a running clock.  The clock shall stop during the last minute of each half for penalties, incomplete passes, changes in ball possession, or play going out of bounds (exception – clock will continue to run if there is a 24 point difference in the 2nd half).  Half time will be 2-3 minutes in length.  Each team will be allowed four (4) one-minute time-outs that can be used at any time during the game (unless your team is ahead by 24 or more points).  Players must stay on the playing field during time-outs.

Putting ball in play            The offensive team has 30 seconds to put the ball in play.            

Substitutions        Substitutions shall be unlimited, but may occur on dead balls only.

Scoring                   A touchdown is 6 points.  The point after touchdown (PAT) will be attempted from the three yard line for one point or from the ten yard line for two points.  The offensive team will be required to notify the head official of their choice.  Point after is dead if pass is intercepted.  Safety: two points will be awarded if the defensive team forces the ball to be downed behind the offensive team’s goal line by fumbling or being downed.

Kick Off                   No Kick Off – The offensive team will start the game with the ball on the 20 yard line.  Offense/Defense to start the game determined by pregame coin flip.

First Down              First downs – to keep possession of the ball, the offensive team must advance the ball past the next zone line in four downs.  As soon as the ball is advanced over the zone lines, the following down is a first down.  A ball on the line is considered in the more forward zone.

Neutral Zone           The distance between the offensive and defensive lines at the beginning of a play shall be 3 yards if the ball is outside the defensive team’s 20 yard line and 1 yard if the ball is inside the defensive team’s 20 yard line.

Diving, spinning, Jumping      No Diving of any kind is allowed.  Offensive players may not dive to advance the ball or score.  Defensive players may not dive for offensive players flags – both officials judgement.  Spinning, jumping results in immediate dead ball.

Stripping the ball     The defense cannot intentionally strip the ball from an offensive player.

4th down/Punting On 4th down the offensive team has 2 choices:  1. Go for the 1st down   2. Freeze punt the ball to the other team. The 4th down decision must be announced to the official prior to beginning the play. The official shall then notify the other team of the decision, so they may get into the appropriate formation.  If punt is declared, it cannot be changed and no fake punt is allowed. Once the ball is snapped, only the punter on the kicking (offensive) team may move and shall punt the ball. Only the receiver on the receiving team may move. All other players on both teams shall remain still. Once the ball comes into contact with the receiving player (caught) or after striking the ground and rolling to a complete stop, the ball is declared dead. The receiving team cannot lose possession during a freeze punt.

Forward Pass        One forward pass can be made prior to crossing the line of scrimmage. All players on the field are eligible to receive or intercept passes.  If a player has lost his/her flags and catches a pass, the ball will be downed where the ball is caught.

Blocking                  All offensive players are eligible to receive a forward pass and only three (3) players can be in the backfield blocking. A blocker on the line of scrimmage is allowed one extension of their arms to block a player. If not on the line of scrimmage, a player may block for his/her runner or passer by using a screen block.  No contact should take place.  If a blocker uses his/her arm, elbows, legs, lowers his/her shoulder or leaves his /her feet, it is an illegal block.  Stiff-arming, spinning, and jumping are NOT allowed.  A runner may not guard/block the flag in any manner.  Unintentional contact may occur – there is a difference between unintentional contact and illegal contact.

Dead Balls

  1. A player is down once one of his/her knees or body contacts the ground – a hand on the ground to maintain balance is not down.
  2. In removing the flag or stopping the ball, a defensive player should pull the flag and immediately set it on the ground.
  3. If at any time the belt of the ball carrier falls off, the ball carrier is down and the ball is dead.
  4. All fumbles are dead the moment the ball contacts the ground. Possession of the ball remains with the team who had possession last.  Exceptions: fumble on 4th down prior to making a 1st down; fumble in own end zone is a safety.
  5. If the ball is fumbled on any snap or any play other than a punt, the ball is dead and the down is lost. If the snap is fumbled on 4th down the ball changes possession and play continues from that spot.  If the ball is fumbled on a punt snap, the ball may be picked up and punted.
  6. Inadvertant whistle – ball is dead, play is over as soon as the whistle blows.
  7. Dual possession on a pass – ball is dead and offense keeps the ball (no fighting for possession).

Overtime                 Overtime will not be played during regular season play, only in the end of season tournament.  Overtime will begin with a coin toss with the winning team deciding to go first or second.  The ball will be placed on the 40 yard line and the offensive team will have the opportunity to advance the ball as far as possible within four (4) downs.  The defensive team will then gain possession of the ball where the offensive team left off and will need to advance the ball farther than the offensive team.  Interceptions – ball is dead and the defensive team gains possession at the line of scrimmage of the play that resulted in the interception.  In the event that both teams score, the overtime period will be repeated.  Each team will be allowed one (1) timeout in overtime.

Conduct                  No player, coach, or spectator shall act in an unsportsmanlike manner during the game, at halftime, or after the game.  Examples are, but not limited to:

  • Using profanity, insulting or vulgar language or gestures.
  • Intentionally kicking at, swinging at, or pushing any player, spectator, coach or official.
  • Harassing, insulting or badgering any official, coach, spectator, or player.

Coaches                  All coaches must stay on their respective sidelines during all games.

Sportsmanship      All cities participating in this Flag Football program are committed to providing a quality recreational sport program in a spirit of sportsmanship and fellowship for all of our families, friends and neighbors.  It is expected that all players, coaches, parents and spectators will strongly adhere to all rules of play and etiquette involving the program.  After each game a sportsmanship score will be given to each team.  A team will be given between 1 and 5 points.  If a team simply does nothing wrong they will be given a 4.  The 5th point must be earned by positive behavior (Examples: congratulating other team for a good play, helping up opposing team members, etc.)  Teams must average 3 points per game to qualify for post season play.