Flag Football Rules & Regulations

Mens Indoor Flag Football Rules and Policies

I. Game

1. At the start of each game, captains from both teams shall meet at midfield for the coin toss to determine who will start with the ball. The visiting team will call the toss. Winner will choose possession. Loser of the toss will choose which side of the field to start. 

2. 6 versus 6

3. The offensive team takes possession of the ball at its 5-yard line and has three (4) plays to cross midfield. Once a team crosses midfield, it has three (4) plays to score a touchdown.

4.  4 DOWN- on fourth down the offensive team must give verbal conformation to referee to go for the 1st down/score, kick a field goal, or punt. A missed attempt on 1st down/score or field goal will result in a change of possession where the line of scrimmage currently stands. A punt will result in a change of possession where the team will receive the ball on their own 5 yard line to proceed on offense.

5. Teams change sides after the first half. 

6.Standing will be determined by points. 3points for a win and 0 for a loss. Playoff standings will be determined by head-to-head followed by goal differential. Note: the only time head-to-head is consider for playoff seeding is if all teams have played one another at least once during the regular season. This only applies to leagues/divisons with 7 or less teams for the season!

II. Terminology

Boundary lines – This includes the rear end zone lines. In arena flag, there are no outside boundary lines.

Line Of Scrimmage – an imaginary line running through the point of the football and across the width of the field.

Line-To-Gain – the line the offense must pass to get a first down or score.

Rush Line – an imaginary line running across the width of the field 1 yards (into the defensive side) from the Line of Scrimmage.

Neutral Zone-The space between the rush line and the line of scrimmage

Offense – the squad with possession of the ball.

Defense – the squad opposing the offense to prevent them from advancing the ball.

Passer – the offensive player that throws the ball and may or may not be the QB.

Rusher – the defensive player assigned to rush the Quarterback to prevent him/her from passing by pulling his/her flags or blocking the pass.

Downs (1-2-3) – the offensive squad has three attempts or “Downs” to advance the ball. They must cross the Line to Gain to get another set of downs or to score.

Live Ball – the period of time that the play is in action. Generally used in regards to penalties, Live Ball Penalties are considered part of the play and must be enforced before the down is considered complete.

Dead Ball – the period of time immediately before or after a play.

Whistle – the sound made by an official using a whistle that signifies the end of the play or a stop in the action for timeout, half time or the end of the game.

Inadvertent whistle – an official’s whistle that is performed in error.

Charging – the movement of the ball carrier directly at a defensive player who has established position on the field. This includes lowering the head, making contact with the defender with a shoulder, chest or forearm.

Flag Guarding – an act by the ball carrier to prevent a defender from pulling the ball carrier’s flags by stiff arm, lowering elbow or head or by blocking access to the runner’s flags with a hand or arm.

Shovel Pass – a legal pass attempted behind the line of scrimmage by throwing the ball underhand or pushing it towards a receiver in a shot put type manner.

Lateral – a backwards or sideways toss of the ball by the ball carrier.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct – rude, confrontational or offensive behavior or language.

BlockingIntentionally pushing or using hands to create forward movement and obstruct a player. This is illegal in flag.

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 will have their hands 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.

III. Eligibility

1. A player’s age must fall within the specified age-range as of September 1st of the current year. Age will be verified by a valid birth certificate upon request.

2. All players must present a signed waiver of liability.

3. All players must be on the roster and have a Playmakers membership.

4. Disregard of eligibility will result in a forfeit. 

IV. Equipment

1. The League provides each player with flag belts. Teams can also provide their own ball for use.

2. Players must wear shoes. Cleats are allowed, however cleats with exposed metal are not allowed and must be removed. Metal spikes are not allowed. 

3. Players may tape their forearms, hands and fingers. Players may wear gloves, elbow pads, and kneepads. Braces with exposed metals are not allowed.

4. Players must remove all watches, earrings and any other jewelry that the officials deem hazardous.

5. Matching jerseys must be worn

6. Players’ jerseys must be tucked into the pants if they hang below the belt line.

7. Pants or shorts with belt loops or pockets must be taped.

V. Field

1. The field size is30 yards by 60 yards with two 5-yard end zones, and a midfield line to gain.

2. There are no out of bounds in arena flag football. The ball may be caught off a wall or net.

VI. Rosters

1. Home teams wear dark jerseys, visiting teams wear light jerseys

2. Teams must field a minimum of 5 players at all times.

VII. Timing and Overtime

1. Games are played on a 40 minute continuous clock, this includes during PAT. The clock stops only for timeouts.

2. Halftime is one minute long.

3. Each time the ball is spotted, a team has 30 seconds to snap the ball. Teams will receive one    warning before a delay-of-game penalty is enforced.

4. Each team has one 30 second time out. The timeout is over after the 30 seconds has expired or if the team that called the time out desides to start before hand. The referee will give you a 10 second warning and will inform you of when the new 30 second play clock has begun. THESE RULES ALSO APPLY TO PAT. 

5. Officials can stop the clock at their discretion.

6. In the event of an injury the clock will stop and then restart when the injured player is removed from the field of play.

7. The game can NOT end on a defensive penalty.

8. If the score is tied at the end of 40 minutes, the game will go into a touchdown shootout.

a. Each team gets one chance to convert a 1 point conversion from the 5 yard line, or a 2 point conversion from the 10 yard line.

b. Whoever has the most points after each team has gotten a chance with the ball wins.

VIII. Scoring

1. Touchdown: 6 points

2. A team that scores a touchdown must declare whether it wishes to attempt a 1-pt. conversion (from the 5-yard line) or a 2-pt. conversion (from the 10-yard line). Any change, once a decision is made to try for the extra point, requires a charged time out. Decision cannot be changed after a penalty. 

3. Field Goals: 3 points

a. The two vertical soccer goal post will act as the field goal post. An imaginary line will extend all the way from the soccer goal to the ceiling acting as the field goal post. The ball must be between these two markers and above the soccer goal (hitting the actual net) in order to be awarded points. If the ball hits the actual wall it will be a missed field goal.

b. Field Goals are not returnable.

c. The ball must be  placed on the ground (tees are ILLEGAL) by a holder then the ball may be kick by another player to attempt the field goal. NO SNAP IS NEEDED! The holder may place ball as far back or as close to the line of scrimmage as they want but may not veer it to the left or right.

d. NO RUSH by the defense on field goals. The defending team may only stand at the line of scrimmage but may NOT jump to block the kick. They are not allowed to break the line of scrimmage at any time!


f. If at anytime the ball touches the ground during the attempted field goal the play will be marked dead and will change possession at the line of scrimmage.

4. Safety: 2 points

a. A Safety occurs when the ball carrier is declared down in his own end zone. They can be called down when their flags are pulled by a defensive player, their flag falls out, or they hit the ground with their knee or arm. A Safety also occurs when there is an offensive penalty in the end zone.

5. Mercy Rule: After one team is winning by 24 points or more, the losing team is allowed to play with a extra player (7 v 6). If at any point the score margin decreases to less than 24, the extra player must exit the field.

IX. Coaches

1. The Team Manager is the Coach.

X. Live Ball/Dead Ball

1. The ball is live at the snap of the ball and remains live until the official whistles the ball dead.

2. The official will indicate the neutral zone and line of scrimmage. It is an automatic dead ball foul if any player on defense or offense enters the neutral zone.

3. There are no out of bounds

4. The defense may not mimic the offensive team signals, by trying to confuse the offensive players, while the quarterback is calling out signals to start the play.

5. Substitutions may be made on any dead ball.

6. Any official can whistle the play dead.

7. Play is ruled “dead” when:

a. The ball hits the ground.

b. The ball carrier’s flag is pulled.

c. A touchdown, PAT or safety is scored.

d. The ball carrier’s knee, arm, or backside hits the ground.

e. The ball carrier’s flag falls out and is then taged by the defense.

f. An inadvertent whistle is performed (at the spot where the ball was whistled dead).

8. In the case of an inadvertent whistle, the offense has two options:

a. Take the ball where the whistle blew.

b. Replay the down from the original line of scrimmage. Note: There are no fumbles. The ball is spotted where the ball hits the ground.

9. A team is allowed to use a time out to question an official’s rule interpretation. If the rule is interpreted incorrectly, the time out will not be charged and the proper ruling will be enforced. Officials should all agree upon any controversial call in order to give each team the full benefit of each call. If the ruling is correct the team will be charged a time out.

XI. Running

1. The ball is spotted where the runner’s feet are when the flag is pulled, not where the ball carrier has the ball. If one foot precedes the other, the forward foot marks the spot.

2. The quarterback CAN run with the ball.

3. Only direct handoffs behind the line of scrimmage are permitted. Offense may use multiple handoffs.

4. Laterals and pitches are allowed.

5. The player who takes the handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage.

6. All defensive players are eligible to rush at all times.

7. Spinning is allowed, but players cannot leave their feet to avoid a flag pull (this is considered flag guarding).

8. Runners may leave their feet if there is a clear indication that he/she has done so to avoid collision with another player without a flag guarding penalty enforced.

9. Screen Blocking is allowed. Blocking, however, is not.

10. Flag Obstruction – All jerseys MUST be tucked in before play begins. The flags must be on the player’s hips and free from obstruction. Deliberately obstructed flags will be considered flag guarding.

XII. Passing

1. All passes must be from behind the line of scrimmage.

2. Shovel passes are allowed.

3. Lateral passes before the line of scrimmage are legal.

XIII. Receiving

1. All players are eligible to receive passes (including the quarterback if the ball has been handed off behind the line).

2. Only one player is allowed in motion at a time. All motion must be parallel to the line of scrimmage and no motion is permitted towards the line of scrimmage.

3. In the case of simultaneous possession by both an offensive and defensive player, possession is awarded to the offense.

4. Interceptions change the possession of the ball at the point where the flag of the ball carrier is pulled after the interception.

5. Interceptions on extra points are returnable. On both 1pt and 2pt conversions after a touchdown; the team that returns the interception will be rewarded the points of the attempted conversion. *If the team that intercepted the conversion does not return it all the way back to score, the ball will be spotted back on the 5 yard line; just as if the conversion was ruled incomplete*

XIV. Rushing the Passer

1. All players who rush the passer must be one yard from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. Any number of players can rush the quarterback. Players not rushing the quarterback may defend on the line of scrimmage.

a. A legal rush is:

i. Any rush from a point 2 yard from the defensive line of scrimmage.

ii. A rush from anywhere on the field AFTER the ball has been handed off by the quarterback.

b. A penalty may be called if:

i. The rusher leaves the rush line before the snap–Illegal Rush (5 yards LOS and first down).

ii. Any defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped – Offsides (5 yards LOS and first down).

iii. Any defensive player, not lined up at the 1 yard line before the ball is passed or handed – Illegal Rush (5 yards LOS and first down).

4. Players rushing the Quarterback may attempt to block a pass. However, NO contact can be made with the quarterback in any way.

5. The offense may impede the rusher with a screen block only. The rusher must avoid intentional contact with the screen blocker. Intentional Contact with a Screen Blocker (5 yards LOS and first down).

6. Blocking the pass and then striking the passer will result in a 5-yard penalty.

7. A Sack occurs if the QB’s flags are pulled behind the line of scrimmage. The ball is placed where the QB’s feet are when the flag is pulled.

a. A Safety is awarded if the sack takes place in the offensive team’s end zone.

XV. Flag Pulling

1. A legal flag pull takes place when the ball carrier is in full possession of the ball.

2. Defenders can dive to pull flags, but cannot tackle, hold or run through ball carrier when pulling flags.

3. It is illegal to attempt to strip or pull the ball or pull from the ball carrier’s possession at any time.

4. If a player’s flag inadvertently falls off during the play, the player is marked down when he or she is touched by the opposing team.

5. A defensive player may not intentionally pull the flags off of a player who is not in possession of the ball.

6. Flag guarding is an attempt by the ball carrier to obstruct the defender’s access to the flags by stiff arming, dropping of head, hand, arm or shoulder, or intentionally covering flags with the football or jersey.

XVI. Formations

1. An offensive team must have a minimum of one player on the line of scrimmage (the Center). The quarterback must be off the line of scrimmage.

a. One player at a time may go in motion 1-yard beyond and parallel to the line of scrimmage.

b. No motion is allowed towards the line of scrimmage.

2. Movement by a player who is set or a player who runs toward the line of scrimmage while in motion is considered a false start.

3. The center must snap the ball with a rapid and continuous motion BETWEEN his legs ONLY

XVII. Unsportsmanlike Conduct

1. If the field monitor or referee witnesses any acts of intentional tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, blocking, or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game. The decision is made at the referee’s discretion. No appeals! FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. 

2. After two personal fouls you are ejected from the half. After three personal fouls, you are ejected from the game.

3. Offensive or confrontational language is illegal. Officials have the right to determine offensive  language. If offensive or confrontational language occurs, the referee will give one warning. If it continues, the player or players will be ejected from the game.

4. Players may not physically or verbally abuse any opponent or official. 

5. Ball carriers MUST make an effort to avoid defenders with an established position.

6. Defenders are not allowed to run through the ball carrier when pulling flags 

7. Fans must also adhere to good sportsmanship:

a. Yell to cheer on your players, not to harass officials or other teams.

b. Keep comments clean and profanity free.

c. Compliment ALL players, not just one child or team.

8. Fans are required to keep fields safe and kid friendly:

a. Keep younger kids and equipment such as coolers, chairs and tents away from the sidelines.

b. Stay in the bleacher area. Not on the field.

XVIII. Penalties

I. General:

1. The referee will call all penalties.

2. Referees determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play.

3. All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage, except as noted (spot fouls).

4. Only the team captain or head coach may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and interpretations. Players cannot question judgment calls.

5. Games cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless the offense declines it.

6. Penalties are assessed Live Ball then Dead Ball. Live Ball penalties must be assessed before play is considered completed.

7. Penalties will be assessed half the distance to the goal yardage when the penalty yardage is more than half the distance to the goal.

8. Defensive Penalties on after PAT will be tacked onto the next possession. 

II. 5 Yard Penalties

  • Illegal Equipment

  • Offsides

  • Illegal motion (more than one person moving, false start, etc.)

  • Illegal forward pass (passing the ball forward after crossing the line of scrimmage)

  • Offensive pass interference (pushing of/away defender, blocking)

  • Delay of game

  • Defense Illegal contact (holding, blocking, etc.)

  • Defense Illegal flag pull (before receiver has ball)

  • Roughing the passer 

III. 10 Yard Penalties

  • Unsportsmanlike conduct.

    • Examples: taunting, be-raiding the ref, trash talking, physically harming another player intentionally, excessive celebration etc.

    • After scoring and touchdown is good, offense receives a 10 yard penaltyfrom the yard line of PAT attempt after touchdown (one warning to the player and team before ejection)

IV. Spot Fouls

  • Flag guarding *5 yards & loss of down

  • Charging *5 yards & loss of down

  • Defensive Pass Interference *1st down

  • Stripping *5 yards & first down

  • Offensive Unnecessary Roughness *5 yards & loss of down

  • Defensive Unnecessary Roughness*5 yards & 1st down

V. Defense

  • Offsides *5 yards from the LOS & automatic 1st down

  • Illegal contact (Holding, blocking, etc.) * 5 yards from the LOS & automatic 1st down

  • Illegal flag pull (Before receiver has ball) * 5 yards from the LOS & automatic 1st down

  • Roughing the passer *5 yards from the LOS & 1st down

  • Taunting *5 yards from the LOS & 1st down

  • Unnecessary Roughness *Spot foul, 5 yards & 1st down

  • Stripping *Spot foul, 5 yards & 1st down

  • Defensive Pass Interference *Spot foul & 1st down 

VI. Offense 

  • Illegal motion (More than one person moving, false start, etc.)* 5 yards from the LOS & loss of down

  • Offensive pass interference (pushing of/away defender) *5 yards from the LOS & loss of down

  • Flag guarding  *Spot foul, 5 yards & loss of down

  • Blocking *Spot foul, 5 yards & loss of down

  • Charging *Spot foul, 5 yards & loss of down

  • Delay of game *5 yards from the LOS & loss of down

  • Offensive Unnecessary Roughness * Spot foul, 5 yards & loss of down

  • Offside *5 yards from the LOS & loss of down

VII. 2:00 minute penalty

 What is it: If a 2 minute penalty is given, the offender must leave the field for 2 minutes, and the offender’s team must play down a man for 2 minutes, and will be charged a 10 yard penalty.

 The following will result in a 2:00 minute penalty for the offender.

· Trash talking or taunting the opposing team

· Excessive cursing

· Bad mouthing the referee, or threatening the referee. This includes cursing at the referee, making verbal threats, and bucking up to the referee.

*Just as a reminder: Only captains or coaches are allowed to talk to the referee about rule clarification and interpretation. Players cannot question judgment calls.