FLAG FOOTBALL RULES
- Each team shall designate to the Referee the team captain or captains for the contest. The captain is required to sign the scorecard at the end of each game. The team captain is responsible for providing the referees with signed waivers for all team members.
- If more than 48 teams enter tournament, pool play will be eliminated and a single elimination tournament will take place.
- If a team is not present and ready to play by the scheduled game time (scorecard completed, flags and jerseys on, minimum number of players on the field) the opposing team shall be given the ball and choice of goal.
- If a team is not present and ready to play by (5) five minutes after the scheduled game time the game is declared a forfeit, with the team ready to play declared the winner.
- If neither team is ready to play by the scheduled game time, and it is less than 10 minutes past the scheduled start time, the teams will be permitted to play. The game shall begin with a coin toss and continue for the remaining time in the first half.
Equipment and Uniforms
- Teams are required to wear similar colored jerseys or T-shirts. Jerseys may not be tied in a manner that creates any type of knot.
- Teams must supply their own game ball.
- Flag belts will be provided to each team on site. Shirts must be tucked in and flag belts must be worn on the outside of all clothing with the clip in front!
- Only athletic type soccer/football, running, court, or turf shoes with or without molded plastic or rubber cleats are allowed.
- All cleats must be less than 1/2 inch, metal/sharp plastic cleats are not allowed. All players must wear athletic shoes. No sandals, boots, or bare feet.
- Players must wear athletic apparel with no exposed metal, no belt loops, and no pockets.
- Headwear with knots or dangerous material is not allowed.
- Hard items, including, but not limited to beads, barrettes, and bobby pins are prohibited.
- Players may not wear casts/splints under any circumstances and all pads/braces must be below the waist. Players who wear a knee brace with exposed metal or metal hinges are required to cover it.
- Players may wear kneepads, gloves, covered knee braces, headbands, and knit caps.
- Players may not wear any exposed jewelry of any type.
- All equipment is subject to the approval of the tournament staff.
The Playing Field
- Respective lines to gain (1st down) for each team in order are the 20, 40, 20.
- The point of the ball determines if it crosses the line.
- The side and end lines are out of bounds. Players, coaches, and fans shall stay between the 20-yard lines at all times.
- Two ball spotters (small plastic cones) will be used during play. The ORANGE cone marks the offensive scrimmage line, the YELLOW cone the defensive line. The ball spotters will always be one yard apart.
Starting the game
- The referee will conduct a coin toss. The winner will select to defer his option until the second half, to start on offense or defense, or to defend a specific goal.
- Each half of the game will begin with the ball placed on the 14-yard line of the offense.
- Games shall consist of a 17 minute running clock first half, 3 minute halftime, 15 minute running clock second half, and a 7 play series at the end of the second half outlined later in this document.
- Game time is the scheduled league time, unless the previous game goes over the allotted time.
- Each team is allowed one 30-second time-out per half.
- Time-outs DO NOT carryover from 1st half to 2nd half.
- A time-out does not stop the game clock unless it is taken inside of 1 minute left in either half.
Seven Play Series
- The referee will notify both teams at the end of the 15 minute second half and the beginning of the 7 play series.
- At this point, the game shall continue with no interruption other than notification by the Referee that 7 plays remain. The team in possession at the beginning of the 7 plays shall retain possession of the ball and continue under normal rules.
- Extra points, and downs on which a non-loss of down penalty is accepted, are not counted towards the 7-play total.
- Punts DO count as a play in the 7 play series. Exception: A game cannot end with a punt on the seventh play of the 7 play series. If a team punts on the 7th play, the receiving team will be allowed to run one play from scrimmage and then, barring penalty or inadvertent whistle, the game shall be over.
- In the event the Referee forgets to inform both teams that the 15 minutes has expired, the 7 play series will begin as soon as the error is discovered.
- However, if another 10 minutes has elapsed and the error is not noticed, the game shall be considered over even though the 7 plays were not counted.
- If at any time after the 15-minute mark in the second half, including in the 7 play series, a 19-point spread is established, the mercy rule will be in effect and the game shall end.
- All touchdowns are worth 6 points.
- To be ruled a touchdown; the ball must be on or over the goal line.
- The player scoring the touchdown must raise his arms so the nearest official can deflag the player.
- A try-for-point follows the touchdown. The ball may be played from the 3 yard line, 10 yard line, or 20 yard line. If the try is successful the points are awarded as follows: 3 yard try, 1 point; 10 yard try, 2 points; 20 yard try, 3 points.
- An intercepted pass or fumble during the try that is returned for a touchdown = 3 points.
- If Team A commits a foul, or Team B commits a foul following a change in possession, the try is over.
- When a safety is scored (2 points) the ball belongs to the scoring team at their 14-yard line.
- After any score, the ball shall be placed in play at the opposing team's 14-yard line, unless moved by penalty.
- There will be only one coin toss. Field captains will alternate choices if additional overtime periods are played.
- The winner of the toss shall be given options of offense, defense, or direction.
- Both teams will go the same direction in overtime.
- Each team will be given a play from the same 10-yard line.
- If the first team which is awarded the ball scores, the second team will still have a play to attempt to win the game.
- If the defense intercepts the ball and returns it for a touchdown they will win the game.
- Try for points will still be attempted in a normal manner by any team who scores a touchdown.
Starting the Play
- The offense must snap the ball within 25 seconds after the Referee has blown the whistle to put the ball in play.
- The snapper shall pass the ball back from its position on the ground with quick and continuous motion of the hands.
- They do not have to pass the ball between the legs.
- Both of their feet must be behind the line.
- Following the ready whistle, no defensive players may break the plane of the restraining line until the snap.
- No offensive player shall make a false start or any action that simulates the start of play.
- The player receiving the snap must be at least 2 yards behind the scrimmage line.
Line of Scrimmage Sets
- All players are subject to motion, position, and illegal procedure rules.
- The offense must have at least 4 players not in motion on their line of scrimmage at the snap.
- The offense must bring all players within 15 yards of the ball after the ready for play whistle and prior to the snap.
- One player may be in motion, but not forward motion, at the snap.
- Following a huddle or shift, each offensive player must come to a full stop for one second before the snap.
- Players may substitute at any time between downs provided they are ready to play.
Zone-Line-to-Gain and New Series
- The offensive team has 4 consecutive downs to advance the ball across the next zone line-to-gain.
- A new series is awarded:
- To the offense if the line-to-gain is reached or a penalty which carries an automatic first down is accepted,
- To the defense if the offense fails to reach the line-to-gain after four consecutive downs,
- To either team if a change of possession or a punt occurs during the down.
- Any player may hand the ball backward at any time.
- There are no sneak hand-offs.
- If the ball is tossed or there is airtime between the ball and the catch, then passing rules will apply.
- There are no restrictions on handing the ball during punt returns or following changes in possession.
Passing the Ball
- All players are eligible to touch or catch a pass. Backward passes are unlimited.
- A pass is any exchange of the ball that involves airtime. This can be a forward or backward, overhand pass, underhand pitch, or any other toss or flip of the ball.
- Only one forward pass may be thrown per scrimmage down, but NOT on kicks, punts, or interceptions.
- These passes are illegal:
- When either of the passers feet is beyond the line of scrimmage when the ball leaves the hand.
- The ball is intentionally grounded.
- The passer catches his own untouched pass.
- When there is more than one forward pass during a scrimmage down.
- If a forward pass is thrown after a change in team possession.
- A player may pass the ball backward at any time. NOTE: Backward passes that hit the ground in play are dead at the spot. Backward passes that go out of bounds belong to the offense unless the ball goes out of bounds behind a goal line, and then the play will result in a touchback or safety.
- The pass begins when the ball is released from the passer's hand. The ball is dead if the passer is de-flagged before the release.
- The initial direction of a pass determines whether a pass is forward or backward.
- One foot must touch the ground in-bounds for a catch to be legal.
- If a forward or backward pass is caught simultaneously by opposing players the ball becomes dead. It is considered a completed pass and belongs to the offensive team.
- Interceptions in a teamís own endzone may be advanced out or downed for a touchback.
- Momentum rule: When a defensive player intercepts a forward pass or catches a legal punt between his/her 5 yard line and the goal line, and his/her momentum carries him/her into the endzone where the ball becomes dead, the ball is placed at the spot where possession was gained. (i.e. the 3 yard line)
Ending the Play
The ball becomes dead when:
- The whistle blows (On inadvertent whistles, the team may replay the down or take the ball at the spot where whistle was blown. If a forward pass is airborne when the whistle is blown, the pass is considered incomplete).
- It goes out of bounds.
- Any part of the runner's body other than a hand or foot touches the ground. Ball in possession is considered part of the hand.
- After any score.
- Any punt comes to rest on the ground and no player attempts to secure it, or a muff hits the ground.
- A forward or backward pass, fumble, or snap hits the ground (Dead at spot on backward pass, fumble, and snap).
- The flag belt is removed legally (If the belt falls off, one hand touch between shoulders and knees).
- If a player or ball from an adjoining field interferes with the result of a play the official shall stop play and offer the team in possession the option of replaying the down or taking the ball at the spot of interruption.
Punting the Ball
- On fourth down, the Referee will ask the offensive captain if he wants to punt.
- There are no fake punts.
- If the offense wants to change their decision to punt or not, they must call a time-out.
- The following scenarios denote K as the Kicking team and R as the Receiving team:
- Neither K nor R may advance beyond their respective scrimmage lines until the ball is kicked. After receiving the snap, the kicker must kick immediately and in a continuous motion. The kicker may not kick the ball to himself or any other member of the kicking team. Defensive players may jump and attempt to block the kick.
- If a punt touches a player on either team and then hits the ground it is dead and belongs to R.
- If a punt hits an R player, and is then caught in the air by R, it can be advanced.
- If a punt hits an R player, and is caught in the air by K, it belongs to K at that spot. Exception: Punts blocked by R and caught in the air by K behind their scrimmage line (first ball spotter-orange) may be advanced by K.
- If a punt goes out of bounds or comes to rest outside the goal lines before being touched, it belongs to R at that spot.
- There are no fair catches. The punting team may not interfere with the receiving teamís ability to catch the ball. If the punting team touches the ball first, the receiving team can take the ball at that spot or the result of the play.
FOULS AND PENALTIES
- The captain's first choice of any penalty option shall be irrevocable.
- Decisions involving penalties shall be made before any charged time-out is granted to either team.
- 5 yard infractions
- Delay of Game: The offense does not snap the ball within 25 seconds OR the offense snaps the ball before the ready-to-play whistle
- Encroachment: Crossing oneís own line of scrimmage before the snap
- False start: Simulating the snap of the ball
- Illegal snap: Simulating the snap of the ball; not being 2 yards from the scrimmage line when receiving the snap
- Illegal motion: Player is moving towards scrimmage line at time of snap
- Illegal shift: 2 players are in motion at time of snap or both did not become completely set before snap occurred
- Intentional grounding: Grounding the ball to avoid a sack (loss of down; enforced from spot of throw)
- Illegal forward pass: Throwing the ball from beyond the orange neutral-zone cone (loss of down; enforced from spot of throw)
- 10 yard infractions
- Illegal Participation: Once an offensive player steps out of bounds, he may not come back onto the field and participate
- Illegal player equipment
- Quick kick: Punting without informing the referee
- Pass interference
- Illegal contact
- Illegally secured flag belt: Flag belt is tied or tucked in (loss of down if on offense, automatic first down if on defense).
- Unsportsmanlike conduct
- Personal fouls
- Flag guarding (enforced from spot of foul)
Players may not commit any of the following personal fouls:
- Punch, strike, strip, steal or attempt to steal the ball from a player in possession.
- Trip, clip or hurdle any player.
- Contact an opponent who is on the ground, or after the ball is declared dead.
- Throw the runner to the ground.
- Deliberately drive or run into a defensive player or lower the shoulder.
- Commit any unnecessary roughness.
- Tackle a runner by grasping or encircling with the hands or arms.
- Roughing the Passer (automatic first down) - applies only to the player throwing a legal forward pass behind the offensive line of scrimmage. If a defender contacts the passer in any fashion, whether or not he/she touches the pass, it is roughing the passer. Contacting the ball while in the passerís hand is roughing the passer.
- Aid the runner; grab, push or pull a teammate with the ball.
- Stiff-arm an opponent.
- Guard flags by blocking them with the hands, ball or otherwise denying the defense the chance to pull the flag.
- Use hands or body to block an opponent.
- Pulling the flag from an opponent who does not have the ball.
- Tying the flag belt in a knot or any other tampering with the flag belt (Also results in player ejection).
Legal and Illegal Offensive Screen Blocking
- Offensive players may protect the runner by screening.
- The offensive screen block shall take place without contact and the screener may maintain a position (moving or stationary) between the defensive player and the runner.
- The screen blocker shall have his/ arms at their sides or behind their back. Any use of arms, elbows or legs to initiate contact during an offensive player's screen block is illegal. A blocker may use a hand or arm to break a fall or retain balance. Players must remain on their feet before, during, and after screen blocking. No part of the screener's body, except their feet, may be in contact with the ground.
- Defensive players must avoid the offensive player's screen block, and may not use their arms or hands as a wedge to contact the offensive blocker.
- Illegal contact between the blocker/rusher will be called against the player determined to have initiated contact (similar to "block/charge" in basketball).
- Offensive screen blocking beyond the line of scrimmage when a forward pass crosses the line is illegal.
- Pass interference is defined as bumping, pushing, or unnecessary contact with an opponent OR restricting a player from access to a pass while on offense or defense.
- Players may not wave their hands in the face of an opponent.
- Players may not go through opponents to get to a ball in flight.
No player, coach, or team follower shall:
- Use foul or derogatory language, threaten, or verbally abuse any other participant or tournament employee before, during, or after the game. This includes trash talk.
- Argue or talk back to the game official.
- Intentionally strike, push, or trip another person. Fighting is prohibited.
- Mistreat the facility, equipment, or supplies of 7on7 Flag Football
- A warning/ejection system will be used to enforce the sportsmanship policy. A second unsportsmanlike penalty will result in an ejection. Ejections may be issued without warnings in specific situations, including all those that involve fighting.
- After a third unsportsmanlike penalty, referees have the option to forfeit the game.
- Team captains are responsible for the conduct of their players, sidelines and spectators.
- Fighting is never permitted. Participants who fight will be ejected immediately and suspended from all further participation.
- Fighting is defined as a participant intentionally striking, pushing, slapping, punching, elbowing, tackling or committing any other malicious act toward any other person.
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