Men’s Flag Football Rules

The Rules

Grace & Truth’s Men’s Flag Football Rules

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5 yard Penalties: Batting, Diving to advance the ball, Encroachment/ Offsides, False Start, Illegal Forward Pass (LOD), Illegal Contact, Illegal Formation, Illegal Motion, Illegal Snap, Stripping, Equipment Violation


10 yard Penalties: Charging, Chuck, Clipping, Ineligible Receiver, Flag Guarding-(LOD),  Holding, Intentional Grounding (LOD), Obstruction, Offensive Pass Interference (LOD), Personal Foul, Unsportsmanlike Conduct  LOD= loss of Down


Automatic First Down: Defensive Pass Interference, Illegal Contact, Roughing the passer, personal (flagrant) foul

  1. BATTING: Batting of the ball is intentionally striking at the ball with the arm or hand. PENALTY: 5 yds.
  2. BLOCKING: Must be open hand. No contact above shoulders or below waist. No locked elbows or shoulders to block. Personal foul, PENALTY: 10 yds.
  3. CATCH: On the sideline: Receiver maintains possession of the ball to the ground with at least one foot in bounds.

In the field of play: Receiver must make a move with the ball secured to be considered a catch (unless immediately flagged by the defense)

If both offence and defense obtain possession simultaneously, the ball becomes dead and is awarded to the offence.

  1. CHARGING: Charging is when an offensive player runs through a defensive player who has established position. PENALTY: 10 yds.
  2. CHUCKING RECEIVER: The defender is allowed (1) chuck, within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. PENALTY: 5 yds. Automatic first down under Illegal contact rule.
  3. CLIPPING: Any block to the back of an opponent. EXCEPTION: Blocking from rear above the waist is permitted if the defender spins, exposing his back within 3 yards wide x 4 yards deep from scrimmage puck at initial snap. PENALTY: 10 yds.
  4. DEAD BALL: Fumbles are dead at spot. If the ball carrier allows the ball to touch the ground to re-gain their balance that would be considered a dead ball.
  5. DIVING: Diving to advance ball is illegal. PENALTY: 5 yds from the spot, next down.
  6. EQUIPMENT VIOLATION: No flags attached to jersey at start of play by player touching ball. PENALTY: 5 yds from line of scrimmage.
  7. ENCROACHMENT/OFFSIDES: If the defender is in the neutral zone when the ball is snapped it is OFFSIDES; If the defender enters the neutral zone prior to the snap of the ball and is not able to get back before the snap, or if there is a false start by any of the offense while the defender is in the neutral zone it is ENCROACHMENT-NEUTRAL ZONE INFRACTION. PENALTY: 5 yds.
  8. EXTRA POINTS: 1 point from the 3 yard line, 2 points from the 8 yard line and 3 points from the 20 yard line. If the defense scores on an extra point attempt, 3 points are awarded to the defending team.
  9. FLAG FALLS OFF INADVERTANTLY: Revert to one hand touch.


  1. FLAGRANT FOULS: Can result in ejection from the game; Unsportsmanlike conduct, 10 yards and if FLAGRANT. Intentionally making physical contact with an official, Shoulder or body tackling the ball carrier, blind side hits, fighting, Using locked elbows or any part of the forearm. PERSONAL FOUL, PENALTY AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN.


  1. FALSE START: Any movement by an offensive player that would simulate the start of a play. Dead ball, 10 second run-off if under 1 minute in the halves. PENALTY: 5 yds
  2. FLAG GUARDING: Illegal use of ball carriers hand or arm to protect flag from being pulled. PENALTY: 10 yds from spot and loss of down.
  3. FORMATION: On regular scrimmage downs, guard must be covered by eligible ends or wide-outs (5) total. The two guards need only have one foot on the line (defined by the heels of the center). PENALTY: 5 yds
  4. FORWARD PASS: 1 forward pass per down. Pass must be made behind the offence’s line of scrimmage – Penalty 5 yards from line of scrimmage, and loss of down.
  5. FUMBLE: All fumbles are dead at the spot. Exception: If a ball is fumbled in mid-air, any player may recover the ball before it touches the ground. If a player fumbles forward the ball will be spotted at the point of the fumble.  
  6. HALF-TIME: Any player not present for the Half-time message, except as excused by team captain, is ineligible for the second half of the game.
  7. HOLDING; Offensive and Defensive: No holding onto jerseys to redirect the rushers or stop the runner. PENALTY: 10 yds down over.
    • ILLEGAL CONTACT: Contact (i.e.; hooking, chucking) with the receiver beyond the chucking rule, 5 yds Penalty Automatic First Down. Or in the course of defending a clear reception, any deliberate contact with the receiver to dislodge the ball is a personal foul, Spot foul Automatic first down.
  8. INADVERTANT WHISTLE: At the time of the inadvertent whistle the effected team has the option of replaying the down or the result of the play.
  9. INTENTIONAL GROUNDING: Illegal to avoid a sack while in the pocket, (between the guards); legal to stop the clock if snap is under center. PENALTY: 10 yards or spot foul (if more than 10 yards), loss of down.
  10. INELIGIBLE RECIEVER: The Center and Guards are ineligible receivers and cannot cross the neutral zone prior to a forward pass. This also applies to blocking down field prior to a pass. Touching the ball, unless tipped, is illegal. PENALTY: 10 yds from line of scrimmage.
  11. LINE OF SCRIMMAGE/NEUTRAL ZONE: 5 offensive players and 3 defensive players on line of scrimmage at snap. Neutral zone, as marked by 2nd puck, is 24”.
  12. MOTION: Only 1 player allowed in motion at the snap. PENALTY: 5 yds


  1. OBSTRUCTING/HOLDING: Obstructing, holding, tackling, and tripping the ball carrier, push-out. Penalty: 10 yd. If the infraction is committed by the last defender, a touch down is awarded
  2. OVERTIME: Regular Season Game = each team receives 1 set of up to 4 plays from the 20 yd line to attempt to score. If a score occurs, all extra point options become available. If the game remains tied after both teams have been given a chance to score, then the game ends in a tie. Post Season Games = as many possession are given until a winner as been determined.
  3. PASS INTERFERENCE: Prior contact that interferes with the receiver/defender’s ability to make a catch is illegal. Exception; jump ball where both offence and defense have an equal right to the ball. OFFENSE = Penalty: 10 yd. penalty from previous spot and loss of down. DEFENSE = Penalty: Spot foul and automatic 1st
  4. PROTECTION OF THE PASSER: The defense is NOT permitted to make contact with the passer’s arm (the ball is an extension of the arm while in the passer’s possession). Defensive players must make a definite effort to avoid charging into a passer. No downward motion of the arms towards the passer by the defensive player while the passer is in the throwing motion can be made. Penalty: When pass is incomplete it will be 10 yds and an automatic 1st When it occurs and the pass is completed, an additional 10 yds will be added to the end of the play and and automatic 1st down will be awarded.
  5. PROTECTION OF THE RECEIVER: The defense is NOT permitted to “go through” the receiver in an attempt to intercept or break up the pass. Penalty: 5 yds, Automatic first Down.


  1. Punts: A player from the receiving team may advance the ball after it hits the ground only if it is still rolling. If a player from the kicking team is the first to touch the ball after it crosses the line of scrimmage, it is dead and the receiving team gains possession at the spot where the touching occurred. A touchback may be called if any of the following occur: (1) The kicked ball lands in the receiving team’s end zone without first touching any player, whether as a direct result of the kick or a bounce. (2) The receiving team catches the ball in its own end zone and downs it before advancing the ball out of the end zone. (3) The ball enters then exits the end zone behind the goal line. After a touchback, the receiving team gets the ball at its own 20-yard line.


  1. SIMULATION OF A SNAP: Center may not move or adjust the ball after the offence is set. PENALTY: 5 yds
  2. SNAPS: All snaps must go between the center’s legs to a player that is off the line of scrimmage. PENALTY: 5 yds
  3. SPOT OF BALL: The position of the flags when player is de-flagged is the spot of the ball. Goal Line Exception – If the ball position would be between the 1 yd. line and the goal line, the ball will be placed at the 1 yd-line the ball position will always be set at 1 yd. from goal line.
  4. STIFF ARMS: Stiff Arms are flag guarding. PENALTY: 10 yds from spot and loss of down.
  5. TIME: 12 minute quarters, 35 second play clock, and 15 minute halftime; the clock will stop for a called time-out, during penalty mark off, and after each score until the ball is set for the next possession. The clock may also stop at the referee’s discretion for discussion.
  6. TIME-OUTS: 3 time-outs per half. 1 time-out per overtime period.
  7. TOUCHDOWN: Possession and one flag crosses the goal line. Onside Kick: If there is less than 2 minutes on the game clock, in the fourth quarter, directly after a touchdown; the team that scored may declare an “Onside Kick”. The ball is placed on the 40 yard line and the attempting team has one (1) down to score a touchdown. (All penalties will apply). If a touchdown is scored from the 40 yard line, the ball is placed on the attempting team’s own 30 yard line and the team is awarded 4 downs. If a touchdown is not scored, the ball is placed on the attempting team’s own 30 yard line and the opposing has team 4 downs.
  8. UNIFORMS: G&T jersey with league supplied Velcro flags for all players. Players are to wear Velcro flags folded over top to give space between body & flag. Exception: Only players that play the Quarterback position may wear league supplied “sonic popper” flags. Each team will be given 2 belts at start of season. Only a person in the QB position may wear poppers on field during a play. Equipment Violation, Penalty: 5 yds. (Postscript: Ball caps must be worn backwards on the field. No metal spikes allowed.)

PROHIBITED ACTS: There shall be no unsportsmanlike conduct by players, substitutes, coaches or others subject to the rules. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Any acts of unfair play
  • Intentionally kicking at the ball other than during a legal kick
  • Using disconcerting acts or words prior to the snap in an attempt to interfere with offensive team signals or movements
  • Spiking ball, taunting opponent or other similar theatrics before or after a touchdown
  • Using profanity, abusive, insulting, vulgar language or gestures
  • Indicating objections to an official’s decision
  • Pulling or removing a flag from an offensive player without the ball by a defensive player intentionally. Once Offensive player touches and/or bobbles the ball he may be flagged by defender without penalty.  
  • No player shall block in a manner that would cause his feet, knees, or legs to strike an opponent. All blocking shall be done with the feet in contact with the ground
  • There shall be no high-low blocking
  • There shall be no contact with an opponent who is on the ground
  • The runner or player shall not be thrown to the ground
  • There shall be no hurdling to advance the ball. Hurdling to avoid injury is acceptable
  • No player shall make contact with an opponent obviously out of the play either before or after the ball is declared dead
  • The ball carrier shall not deliberately drive or run into a defensive player.
  • There shall be no unnecessary roughness of any nature
  • Tackling
  • Using of fists
  • Knocking out-of-bounds
  • Punch strike. No strip or attempt to steal the ball from a player in possession
  • Position himself on the shoulders or body of a teammate to gain an advantage
  • Make any contact with an opponent which is deemed unnecessary of any nature including using fists, locked hands, elbows or any part of the forearm or hand PENALTY: 10 yards and if flagrant, the offender may be ejected from the game.
  • Trash Talkers Rule-Bating/Taunting – unsportsmanlike conduct: when a player(s) is continually and belligerently lashing out with derogatory remarks to an opposing team player or players, that team will receive an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of 10 yards and a warning to the player. If the actions continue, the player(s) involved will receive an immediate ejection from the game and the player(s) will serve a one game suspension in the following week’s game.
  • Offensive and defensive captain’s responsibility should be to keep teammates under control. They are NOT to go to officials and try to get a call or change a call. Official’s calls WILL BE respected.1st violation – warning to the captain and player – 2nd violation – ejection of game to the player and warning to the captain – Any subsequent violation will be forfeiture of the game. 1st violation – Warning to the Captain. 2nd Violation –Unsportsmanlike Conduct 10 yard penalty.  3rd violation – Unsportsmanlike Conduct 10 yard penalty and player sits out at least 1 or more series and /or up to being ejected from the game at the discretion of the White Hat and the Team Captains.  
  • Swearing and abusive language or taunting directed at any player or official. 1st violation – Warning to the Captain. 2nd Violation –Unsportsmanlike Conduct 10 yard penalty.  3rd violation – Unsportsmanlike Conduct 10 yard penalty and player sits out at least 1 series and /or up to being ejected from the game at the discretion of the White Hat and the Team Captains.  
  • All other unnecessary roughness, unsportsmanlike conduct or illegal play as determined by the officials, first down and/or expulsion from the game of the player(s) involved.


  • Deliberate personal fouls that are flagrant may result in a 3 game suspension and players conduct will be subject to review. Examples of such fouls are: Deliberate contact to the head or neck with a forearm or elbow. Deliberate contact below the waist or to an injured body part.
  • Any deliberate contact to an official by a player shall result in a one-year suspension for the player.
  • Modesty is appreciated (Please keep your shirts on).

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