Sport City Flag Football Rules
First and foremost all Sport City leagues are designed to make sure everyone has fun. We expect individuals to respect the league’s culture of fair and fun play. Foul language and rough play will not be tolerated and individuals who cannot adhere to our standards of fair play and sportsmanship may be asked to leave the league. Sport City wants everyone to have a fun and be social while enjoying a great sport. Sport City will do whatever they can to make sure all players are having fun.
a. 8v8 Screen Coed Flag Football teams must consist of 2 females on the field at the same time or be subject to forfeit. A typical team would consist of 5 males and 3 females, but you may use more female’s than required, but no less than 2. As long as you have 2 females and a minimum of 6 total players on the field you are eligible for play. If you only have 2 females then you can only play with 5 males.
b. Game Ball: Teams can use the regular, intermediate, junior, or a youth size football.
To ensure coed participation, before the ball is snapped the
Head Referee will let everyone know if the play is “Open” or “Closed” (see a penalty will ensue if the offensive
team fails to use a female as an operative player within 3 consecutive downs.
The penalty for running 3 consecutive plays without a female as an Operative
Player will be loss of down (i.e. if it was 1st down during the penalty, it is
now 2nd down, and the ball brought back to the line of scrimmage) and the
female must now be the operative player on the next play. An Operative
Player is defined as a player who:
• is the intended receiver in the eyes of the official
• runs the ball as the primary runner (does not have to cross line of scrimmage)
• receives the snap as the QB and must attempt to be the person who initiates the ball crossing the line of scrimmage – unless she is sacked.
• receives the snap and immediately spikes the ball at her feet in order to stop the clock in the last 2 minutes of either half.
An Operative Player is NOT defined as a player who:
• hands off the football
• snaps the ball into play
• receives a hand-off only to give it back to a male before crossing the line of scrimmage
• a pass deflected by a male and caught by a female is a female play
• a pass intended for a female (in the eyes of the referee) that is deflected by a female, and caught by a male counts as a female play
• a pass thrown by a male, received by a male and immediately pitched to a female (the “hook and ladder”) will not constitute a female play – no matter how far the female advances with the ball after the pitch
• a pass intentionally grounded by a female in the last two minutes of either half in order to stop the clock DOES count as a female play
• if a female pitches the ball to a male behind the line of scrimmage this will not result in a female play.
A. Open or Closed- Illegal Forward Pass:
i. The term “closed,” means a male player may not throw a forward pass completion to any
other male player. The term “open” means any player can complete a forward pass to
any other player.
ii. During the offensive team’s possession there may not be three consecutive forward pass
completions from a male passer to a male receiver. This rule also applies for all try
(point after touchdown) attempts. If the previous scoring play was male to male, the try
will be closed.
iii. If a male passer completes a forward pass to a male receiver for two straight completions,
the next forward pass completion must involve either a female passer or female receiver for
positive yards. Thespot where the ball becomes dead by rule must be beyond the offensive
team’s scrimmage line (marked by the orange disc). There is no foul for a female receiver being
deflagged behind the offensive scrimmage line. The next forward pass completion remains
iv. If a female passer completes a forward pass to a male receiver behind the scrimmage line
who then runs beyond this scrimmage line, it is an illegal forward pass.
v. Penalty: Illegal forward pass, 5 yards from the spot where the pass is released, and a loss
of down. One example of an illegal forward pass is the third consecutive male-to-male
completed forward pass.
vi. Any foul, whether accepted or declined, will have no effect on whether the next forward
pass completion is “open” or “closed.”
g. Running the Ball: An offensive male runner cannot penetrate through the offensive line of scrimmage
with the ball. Penalty: Illegal procedure, 5 yards. There are two exceptions to this rule:
i. A male runner may advance the ball through the offensive line of scrimmage after the
ball has been previously advanced legally beyond the line. Ex(pass to receiver who then pitches it back to qb, rb, or wr who is still behind the line of scrimmage)
ii. Females have no limitations on their advancement behind or beyond the line of scrimmage
3. THE GAME & FIELD OF PLAY
a. The game shall be played between 2 teams of 8 players each. Five players are required to start the
game and continue a game.
b. The Field
The field is 80 yards with two 10-yard end zones. In some instances the field might be shortened by 5 or
10 yards do to field conditions. Lines at both 20-yard lines and the 40-yard line (mid-field) will be marked
off. Cones on the side of the field will also mark these lines. Cones will also mark the end zones. Hash
marks for extra points will be at 5 yards (1 point conversion) and at 10 yards (2 point conversions).
c. Proper identification must be presented to an official prior to the beginning of the game. Teams are
encouraged to show up early for their assigned games in order to allow as much playing time as
a. Regulation, intermediate, youth, or junior football can be used. The team on offense has its choice of what ball it would like to play with. Game balls will not be provided.
b. All members of each team are REQUIRED to wear their Sport City shirts.
Jerseys must be tucked in and remain tucked in or short enough so there is a significant gap
from the bottom of the jersey to the player’s waistline. Jerseys also cannot have sleeve openings of
more than 4” under the armpit. All guidelines are written for the safety of all players and will be
c. Flag belts will be provided for each team.
d. Players must wear shorts or pants without belt loops or pockets. Shorts with pockets may NOT be
turned inside out or taped.
e. Each player must wear shoes. Regulation rubber soled cleats, plastic cleats, detachable rubber cleats
that screw into the shoe, and tennis shoes are the only permissible footwear. Sandals, street shoes,
hiking boots, combat boots, or metal spikes are not allowed. No steel cleats, metal tips or shoes with
detachable steel cleats that screw onto the shoes may be worn. 5-finger shoes are not allowed.
f. Players may wear soft, pliable pads or braces on the leg, knee, and/or ankle. Braces made of any
hard material must be covered with at least one-half inch padding for safety reasons.
g. Tape and bandages on the hand, wrist, forearm, or elbow are prohibited except to protect an injury.
This must be approved by the medic on duty before the game begins. Under no circumstances will a
player wearing a cast or splint be allowed to play.
h. If eyeglasses are worn, they must be unbreakable. Each player is responsible for the safety of his/her
i. Any slippery substance of a foreign nature on equipment, clothing, or an exposed part of the body is
j. Players may wear a knit or stocking cap (no caps with bills) and/or soft, pliable, non-abrasive gloves.
Bandanas which are tied with a knot are not permitted.
k. Jewelry: Participants are not permitted to wear any visible jewelry. If participants choose to wear
jewelry, it must be completely covered BEFORE arriving at the game site, with a band-aid or
athletic tape. The Department of Recreational Sports WILL NOT provide band-aids or athletic tape
to cover jewelry items. If covered, jewelry must remain flush with the skin and not be protruding
out; this is for the protection of all participants.
a. Flag Belt Removal: When the flag belt is clearly taken from the runner in possession of the ball,
the ball is declared dead and the down shall end.
i. In an attempt to remove the flag belt from a runner, an opponent may contact the body
and shoulders, but not the face, neck, or any part of the head of the runner with their
ii. An opponent may not hold, push, or knock the runner down in an attempt to remove the
iii. If a flag inadvertently falls to the ground, a one-hand touch between the shoulders
and knees constitutes a ‘tackle’.
iv. A runner is also down if any part of that runner touches the ground other than the feet,
hands or the ball while in the hand of the runner.
b. Offensive Scrimmage Line: The offensive scrimmage line is the yard line and its vertical plane
which passes through the forward point of the ball.
c. Defensive Scrimmage Line: The defensive scrimmage line is the yard line and its vertical plane
which passes one yard from the point of the ball nearest its own goal line.
d. Minimum Line Players: The only offensive player required to be on the line of scrimmage is the
snapper. The remaining players may be on their scrimmage line or in their backfield.
6. TIMING & SUBSTITUTIONS
a. Game Length: A game will consist of two halves with a 3 minute intermission. Both halves will be 20
minutes in length. In all leagues, the clock will run continuously in the first half. In the second half, the
clock will run continuously until the last 2 minutes, when we will proceed according to 2-minute
b. 2-Minute Policies and Mechanics: The clock will stop in the final 2 minutes of the second half for a:
i. Team time-out - clock restarts on the snap
ii. Incomplete legal or incomplete illegal forward pass - starts on the snap
iii. Out-of-bounds - starts on the snap
iv. Safety - starts on the snap
v. First down - depends on the previous play
vi. Touchdown - starts on the snap (after the Try)
vii. Penalty and administration - dependent on previous play (EXCEPTION: Delay of game
ALWAYS starts on the snap)
viii. Referee’s time-out - starts at his/her discretion
ix. Touchback - starts on the snap
x. Team A is awarded a new series - dependent on previous play
xi. Team B is awarded a new series - starts on the snap
xii. Either team is awarded a new series after a legal punt - starts on the snap
xiii. Team attempting to conserve time illegally - starts on the ready whistle
xiv. Team attempting to consume time illegally - starts on the snap
xv. Inadvertent whistle - starts on the ready whistle
c. Mercy Rule: If a team is 25 or more points ahead when the referee announces the 2-minute warning for the second half, the game is over.
i. Prior to applying the Mercy Rule, there must be a down free of any accepted live ball
ii. If a team scores during the last two minutes of the second half and that score creates a
point differential of 25 or more points, the game will end at that point.
d. Forfeits: A team will forfeit a game when it is not ready to play by 10 minutes after the scheduled
game time. The following penalties will be enforced during the 10 minute grace period. Teams will
play an entire game even if they are late.
i. 3 minutes: Team ready for play will be awarded a 6 pt. touchdown.
ii. 6 minutes: Team ready for play will be awarded a second 6 pt. touchdown making the
iii. 9 minutes: Team ready for play will be awarded a third 6 pt. touchdown making the
iv. 10 minutes: Team ready for play will be awarded 1 extra point and the game will be
declared a forfeit with a final score of 19-0.
e. Coin Toss: Each game will begin with a coin toss. The winner of the coin toss shall have the option of
starting on offense, defense, defending a goal or deferring the options until the second half. The
remaining options will be given to the opposing captain.
i. Unless moved by penalty, play starts at the beginning of each half with the ball placed on
the offensive team’s 14-yard line.
f. Tie Game: A coin flip will determine the options. All overtime periods shall be played toward the same goal line.
i. An overtime period consists of one possession by each team.
ii. Unless moved by penalty, each team will start first and goal from the 10-yard line. Each
team will have a series of downs to score a touchdown.
iii. If the score is still tied after one overtime period, as many period as necessary will be
played to determine a winner.
iv. Try for points will be attempted and scored during overtime.
v. When B (defense) secures possession, the ball is dead and the series is over. The ball
will be placed at the B 10 yard line, and the original defense will begin their series of 4
downs, if available.
vi. Each team is entitled to one timeout for the entire overtime session, and time outs do not
carry over from regulation.
vi. If the score remains tied after two possessions the extra point will be moved back to the 10
yd line and points will be awarded accordingly
g. Timeouts: Each team is entitled to 3 timeouts per game. A charged timeout requested by any player
will not exceed one minute. Timeouts cannot be carried from half to half, nor into overtime during the
playoffs. The clock stops during all timeouts.
h. Delay of Game: After a ball is declared ready for play, the offensive team has 25 seconds after the
Referee has sounded the whistle to put the ball in play. Penalty: Delay of Game, 5 yards.
i. The official may order the clock to be stopped/started when, in his/her opinion, either
team is trying to conserve or consume playing time using tactics in his/her judgment to be
i. Substitutions: Substitutions are allowed at any time that the ball is dead, but games must not be
delayed by them. Each substitute shall be in uniform and ready for play with flags in position.
7. BALL IN PLAY, DEAD BALL, & OUT OF BOUNDS
a. Ball declared dead:
i. It goes out of bounds.
ii. Any part of the runner other than the hand(s) or foot (feet) touches the ground.
iii. A touchdown, touchback, safety, or successful try is made.
iv. The ball strikes the ground following first touching of a punt by receiving team.
v. Kicking team player catches a punt which is beyond the neutral zone; when an untouched punt comes to rest on the ground and no player attempts to secure it.
vi. A forward pass strikes the ground or is caught simultaneously by opposing players.
vii. A backward pass or fumble by a player strikes the ground or is caught simultaneously by
viii. A ball snapped, which hits the ground before or after getting to the intended receiver, is
dead at the spot where it hits the ground.
ix. A forward pass is legal completed or a loose ball is caught by a player on, above, or
behind the opponent’s goal line.
x. A runner has a flag belt removed legally by an opponent.
xi. A runner is legally tagged if the flag belt has fallen off prior to being deflagged.
xii. A passer is deflagged/tagged prior to releasing the ball.
xiii. A muff of a punt strikes the ground.
xiv. Kicking team punt breaks the plane of Receiving team’s goal line.
xv. Defensive team secures possession during a Try or overtime.
xvi. An inadvertent whistle by an official.
b. Out-of-Bounds: A ball in player possession is out-of-bounds when either the ball or any part of the
runner touches the ground or anything else, except a player or game official, which is on or outside a
boundary line. If the runner in-bounds bumps into or is touched by player or an official on the sidelines
out-of-bounds, the ball is still in play.
8. SERIES OF DOWNS & LINE TO GAIN
a. Series of Downs: A team in possession of the ball shall have four (4) consecutive downs to advance to
the next zone by scrimmage.
b. Zone Line to Gain: The zone line to gain in any series shall be the zone in advance of the ball, unless
distance has been lost due to penalty or failure to gain. In such case, the original zone in advance of the
ball at the beginning of the series of downs is the zone line to gain. The zones formed by the marking of
the twenty and forty yard lines are used to determine the distance to be gained. The most forward point
of the ball, when declared dead between the goal lines, shall be the determining factor.
9. KICKING/PUNTING THE BALL
a. Prior to putting the ball in play on fourth down, the offensive team must declare whether it chooses to go
for a first down or punt. If the offensive team chooses to kick, the ball must be kicked.
i. The offensive team may put the ball in play with a punt on any play, but it must notify the
defensive team. There are no quick kicks.
ii. The snap must be received at least two yards back and the kick must be executed behind
the scrimmage line within a reasonable time. There are no fake punts.
iii. After receiving the snap, the kicker must kick the ball immediately and in a continuous
iv. No player may cross the line of scrimmage until the ball has been kicked.
v. Kick out of bounds - If the kicked ball goes out of bounds between the goal lines or
comes to rest in bounds untouched and no player attempts to secure it, the ball becomes
dead and belongs to the receiving team at that spot.
vi. A punt that touches anything while the ball is on or behind the receiving team’s goal line
can be downed by the receiving team and is a touchback.
vii. Opportunity to catch a kick - A player of the receiving team who is within the boundary
lines and who is so located that he/she could have caught a kick which is beyond the
scrimmage line while such a kick is in flight must be given an unmolested opportunity to
catch the kick. Penalty: Kick Catch Interference, 10 yards.
viii. The defensive team may attempt to block a punt as long as team members do not cross
the plane of the defensive restraining line. A blocked punt that is caught behind the line
of scrimmage (on the offender’s side) may be advanced by the offense.
ix. When a punt, which has crossed the line of scrimmage, touches a player from either team
and then hits the ground, the ball is dead and belongs to the receiving team. If it hits a
player on the receiving team and then is caught in the air, it can be advanced by the
receiving team. If it is caught by the kicking team (after the ball contacts a receiving
team player), the ball is dead, belongs to the kicking team, and a new series begins for the
b. Once a punted ball breaks the plane of the receiving team’s goal line, the ball is declared dead and a
touchback is awarded.
c. There are no fair catches.
10. SNAPPING AND PASSING THE BALL
a. I.The ball must be snapped backwards and off the ground. The ball need not be snapped between the center’s legs, but the center cannot have his/her feet over the scrimmage line. In a legal snap, the movement must be a quick and continuous motion of the hand or hands backwards. Once the ball leaves the ground, the defense may rush.
II. If there is a female QB receiving the snap then defense has to delay the rush for 3 seconds which will be counted out by the head referee. If the female QB pitches it to a male player then defense can cross line of scrimmage immediately after the pitch.
b. The player who receives the snap must be at least two (2) yards behind the offensive scrimmage line.
c. Any time at or after the ball is ready for play, each offensive player must momentarily be within fifteen
(15) yards of the ball before the snap.
d. The snapper is the only A players required to be on their scrimmage line (orange ball spotter) at the
e. Offensive Player in Motion:
i. One offensive player may be in motion, but not in motion toward the opponent’s goal line
when the ball is snapped.
ii. Such a player must be behind the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.
iii. A player in motion is not counted as one of the 4 on the scrimmage line.
iv. Only one offensive player may be in motion at a given time. Penalty: Illegal motion, 5
yards from the previous spot.
v. Other offensive players may not draw the defense offside.
i. A backward pass or fumble which touches the ground between the goal lines is dead
immediately at the spot where the ball hits the ground and belongs to the team last in
possession unless lost on downs.
ii. Out of Bounds - A backward pass or fumble going out of bounds between the goal lines
remains in possession of the fumbling team at the out of bounds spot. If out of bounds
behind the goal line, it is a touchback or safety.
g. Encroachment: After the snapper has made his/her final adjustment of the ball, it is encroachment for
any player to break the plane of his/her scrimmage line (Exception: the snapper/center has the right to be over the ball.) Penalty: Encroachment, 5 yards from the previous spot.
h. Offensive players are responsible for retrieving the ball after each scrimmage down. The snapper will
bring the ball from the huddle to the scrimmage line (first ball spotter - orange). A towel may be used to
help keep the ball dry and must be placed behind the deepest offensive player at the start of each play
i. All offensive players must be motionless for one second preceding the snap, except for a (one) player
moving parallel to or away from the scrimmage line. Penalty: Illegal motion, 5 yards from the previous
j. An offensive player that shifts (other than going legally in motion) must stop for one full second before
the snap. Penalty: Illegal shift, 5 yards from the previous spot.
k. A player may hand the ball forward or backward at any time.
11. FORWARD PASS
a. All players are eligible to touch or catch a pass if the play is open. During a scrimmage down and before team possession
has changed, a forward pass may be thrown provided the passer’s feet are behind the offensive
scrimmage line when the ball leaves passer’s hand. Only one (1) forward pass can be thrown per down.
i. A forward pass is counted as a completion or interception as long as the first part or the
person to make contact with the ground after the catch, usually one foot, touches in
ii. A forward pass is illegal:
1. If the passer’s foot is beyond Team A’s scrimmage line (orange ball spotter) when
the ball leaves his/her hand.
2. If thrown after team possession has changed during the down.
3. If intentionally grounded to save a loss of yardage.
4. If a passer catches his/her untouched forward pass.
5. If it is the second forward pass during a down.
6. Penalty: Illegal forward pass, 5 yards from the spot, loss of down, if prior to
change of possession.
iii. After the ball is snapped, and until it has been touched, there shall be no offensive pass
interference beyond the offensive scrimmage line when the legal forward pass crosses the
offensive scrimmage line (orange ball spotter). Penalty: 10 yards from the previous spot.
iv. After a legal forward pass is released by the passer and until it is touched, there shall be
no defensive pass interference beyond Team A’s scrimmage line while the ball is in flight
which crosses the Team A scrimmage line. Penalty: 10 yards from the previous spot.
v. If the pass interference by either player is intentional or unsportsmanlike, his/her team
shall be penalized an additional ten yards and the player may be ejected.
b. Simultaneous Catch: If a forward pass is caught simultaneously by members of opposing teams, the
ball becomes dead and belongs to the team that snapped the ball at the spot of the catch.
12. SCORING PLAYS
a. Touchdown Values: All touchdowns are six (6) points if no females are involved. All touchdowns
scored by females and touchdowns following a legal forward pass completion with a female passer
count 9 points.
b. Try for 1, 2, or 3: An opportunity to score one (1) point from the 3-yard line, two (2) points from the
10-yard line, or three (3) points from the 20-yard line by running or passing only shall be granted the
team scoring a touchdown. Once the offensive captain has declared his/her choice (try for 1, 2, or 3), he
may change the decision only when a charged timeout for either team is taken. A team’s choice cannot
be changed if a penalty should occur. If the defensive team intercepts a pass or fumble during the try,
the try shall be ended.
c. Safety: A safety results when a runner carries the ball from the field of play to or across his/her own
goal line, and it becomes dead there in his/her team’s possession. A safety results in two (2) points for
the defensive team.
13. BLOCKING, RUSHING, & CONDUCT
a. Offensive Screen Blocking: Screen blocking is permitted and shall take place without contact. The
screen blocker shall have his/her hands and arms at his/her side or behind his/her back. Any use of the
hands, arms, legs, elbows, or body to initiate contact by an offensive player is illegal. A player must be
on his/her feet before, during, and after screen blocking. This penalty is ruled on based on the
block/charge principle in basketball.
b. Defensive players must go around the offensive player’s screen block. The arms and hands may not be
used as a wedge to contact the opponent.
c. Player Restrictions:
i. No player shall make contact with an opponent which is deemed unnecessary.
ii. There shall be no clipping or tripping.
iii. There shall be no bumping the receiver. The defensive player must play the ball and
shall not interfere with a receiver. However, defensive and offensive players are equally
entitled to a passed ball.
iv. Pulling or removing the flag belt from an offensive player as the ball is snapped or before
a pass reception with the obvious intent of confusing the offensive player as an eligible
pass receiver or ball carrier is illegal. Penalty: Illegal Contact, 10 yds.
v. A defensive player may not bump or push a runner out of bounds.
vi. Offensive charging is not permitted. The ball carrier may not run through a defensive
player but must attempt to evade the defensive player. The runner is allowed to spin in
order to avoid being deflagged as long as he/she does not charge during the spin.
vii. The ball carrier shall not guard his/her flags by blocking with hands or the ball, thereby
denying an opponent the opportunity to pull or remove the flag belt. Penalty: Flag
guarding, 10 yards from the spot of the foul.
viii. Stiff arming by the ball carrier is illegal. Holding or swinging the arm near the flag to
ward of attempts to seize the flag is illegal and results in flag guarding.
ix. Defensive players may not steal or strip the ball from an offensive player once he/she has
x. The flag belt is to be fastened around the waist by use of the end clip. Any tampering to
secure the flags so as to make them more difficult to pull is illegal and will result in
ejection from the game. Penalty: Unsportsmanlike conduct, 10 yards from the previous
spot, loss of down, and player disqualification.
xi. Players, coaches, and spectators are to position themselves between the 20-yard line
markers on their team’s respective sideline.
d. Pass Interference: Once a pass is in the air, the ball belongs to anyone who can get it. Any contact
which occurs between two or more players making a legal attempt to catch or bat the pass is considered
incidental. Screening a player’s eyes or waving the hands or arms in his/her face to distract a receiver is
e. Roughing the Passer: Defensive players must make a definite effort to avoid charging into a passer
after the ball has been thrown. No defensive player shall contact the passer.
f. Personal Fouls: There shall be no personal fouls committed by players’ substitutes or coaches.
Personal fouls include: Using fist, foot, knee, or leg to contact an opponent; tackling the ball player
(disqualification); illegal contact; unnecessary roughness, hurdling, roughing the passer (when the
defender contacts any part of the passer during his/her motion or follow through).
g. Unfair Acts: No player or nonplayer shall use verbiage or commit any act not in accordance with the
spirit of fair play for the purposes of confusing the opponent. Penalty: Unfair act, 10 yards.
h. The fourth unsportsmanlike foul by the same team results in their forfeiture of the game.
14. ENFORCEMENT OF PENALTIES
a. Penalty Enforcement at the basic spot:
i. Pass play or during the punt (see exception below): basic enforcement spot is the
scrimmage line (where ball was snapped).
ii. Post Scrimmage Kick Foul: Any foul by the receiving team on its side of the expanded
neutral zone prior to the end of the kick, the receiving team shall retain possession of the
ball. The basic spot is the spot at which the kick ends and the penalty will be enforced
using the “all but one principle”.
iii. On all running plays: basic enforcement spot is the end of the run.
iv. All fouls are marked from the basic enforcement spot (Exception: An offensive foul
behind the basic enforcement spot which becomes a spot foul, or the “all but one
v. The only exception to the above regulations is roughing the passer; this penalty will be
added on to the end result of the play.
vi. If there is a foul by the offensive team, other than unsportsmanlike or non-player, during
a down which results in a successful touchdown or try, the acceptance of the penalty
nullifies the score.
vii. If there is a foul by the defensive team during a down that results in a score, the offense
may choose to enforce the penalty on the try or on the defense’s ensuing possession.