How We Play Flag Football

How we get our flag grabbin' on!

The Basics

It’s important that you read these basic rules below. The full rules are at the bottom.

Flag Football is played on a field divided into 2 halves . Each game has 2 twenty minute halves. Games last about 50 minutes.

All games will have a trained referee who will be calling the game, making sure they run smoothly, and most importantly keeping things light and fun. Do not ever argue with the referee. You are wasting your breath.

This league is going to be like you and friends playing fun flag football in a park. That’s it. Totally rec.
We enforce any kind of blocking, tackling or contact anywhere on the field. Blocking leads to contact, contact leads to crazy things like injuries and fights, and we don’t like either one. If you do any of these, we’ll throw you out of games and possibly the entire league without a refund. Our rules favor the offense, and we like high scoring games with lots of plays and lots of touchdowns. Now that you know how we want our games played, don’t say we didn’t warn ya!


– One foot in bounds for reception
– Two Twenty Minute Halves – Stop Clock final 2 minutes of second half for various things (see below)
– Must reach midfield to achieve a 1st Down. If starting possession past midfield, no first down may be achieved.

– 6 point touchdowns (awesome, respectful touchdown dances encouraged)

– Choice of 1 or 2 extra points on PATs (3 paces for 1 pt., 10 paces for 2 pts)
– Only 2 pt conversion attempts can be intercepted and returned (for 2 pts). 1 pt for a 1 pt PAT attempt, 2 pts for a 2 pt PAT.
– Dead ball on all fumbles. A fumble is not a turnover. So don’t try to strip the ball.
– On an interception, the ball can be returned and will be spotted where the flag is pulled.
– After scoring, the other team starts their possession 10 paces from the goal line.
– No returns on punts. Play starts where the ball hits the ground. If it lands in or out of endzone, play starts 10 paces out.
– Someone must snap the ball to the QB. Quarterbacks can run at any time.
– Defense can not rush the QB until after their team has LOUDLY counted to “5-S3 Leagues”. This must take 5 seconds.
– Defensive players must be 3+ yards away from the snapper when the ball is hiked (to prevent collisions on a blitz).
– Each team defense has (2) blitzes allowed per half of play. 1st half unused blitzes do not carry over to the second half. When blitzing you MUST call out “BLITZ!” before blitzing or you will use your blitz and the offense will replay the down.
– Each team has (2) 30-second time outs each game.
– Ties during the regular season stay as ties as we don’t have time to break the ties.
​- Every THIRD play must involve a female player or you will lose that down.
Your team forfeits if by 10 minutes after scheduled game start time, you do not have at least 5 players, including at least 2 of each gender. A full team fielded consists of 4 guys and 3 girls. Teams can play with no more than 4 guys on the field at a time, but no limit on girls. The score of a forfeit game will be 35-0.

Those are the basic rules! Just remember to play fair, have fun, and be safe.

All The Rules (In Detail.)

Equipment and Shirts

– We will provide all belts for the participants.
– If an offensive player’s belt falls off for any reason during a live play, even if not pulled, that player is dead at the spot. League shirts are to remain tucked in at all times

Field Dimensions

– 40 Yards Wide x 60 Yards Long
– 7 Yard End Zones
– 1st Downs Only at Mid-Field

Game Start/Coin Toss

– The home team calls the coin toss
– There are no kick-offs beginning the halves or after scores. Play starts 10 paces/yards from the designated goal-line.
– Ties remain as ties during the regular season. In the case of overtime (during playoffs), the higher seeded team calls the coin toss.


– Touchdown: 6 Points
– PAT worth 1 pt: 3 paces back from the endzone
– PAT worth 2 pts: 10 paces back from the endzone
– Only 2 pt conversions can be intercepted and returned by the defense. If it is returned for a touchdown the defense scores 2 pts.
– Safety: 2 Points (Stepping out of bounds or flag pulled in the end zone)

Game Clock

– All Games will have 2 halves (Both 20 minutes long)
– In the final 2 minutes of ONLY the second half, the clock will stop for the following things:

– an incomplete pass

– a player goes out of bounds

– a team scores (the clock doesn’t start again until the team has snapped the ball after receiving the kick after the score)

– possession changes

– a penalty is called and adjustments made to line of scrimmage

​- A time out is called. Each team gets (2) 30 second timeouts per game


– The clock does not stop for a 2 minute warning, fumbles or first downs.
– Half-time is 2 minutes long for rehydration.

Play Clock

– Play Clock is :25 and WILL NOT be verbally called out. The play clock will start once the ball is set at the line of scrimmage. Just get your plays off in time!

Change of Possession/Punting

– If your team chooses not to attempt a play on 4th down, you will punt the ball away. You must declare that you are kicking the ball. Fake punts are not allowed. You do not need to snap the punt to the punter, and a dropped punt is not a fumble. There is no blocking at the line or attempting to block the kick. There are no returns allowed on punts. The receiving team will start their possession with the ball where it initially hits the ground after the kick. If the ball is kicked out of bounds, the opposing team will start where the ball crossed the out of bounds line. If the ball lands in or is kicked out the back of the end zone, the opposing team will start with the ball 10 paces out from the end zone.
– A fumble is not a turnover, it’s a dead ball and the play is over.
– In the case of an interception, the play is live and spot is wherever the pull is made.
– The ball changes possessions and directions at half-time.

Overtime (only in playoffs)

– For ties in playoffs: We will do a coin toss. The winner gets to choose to be on offense or defense first. One team will run a play 5 paces out from the goal line. Then the other team runs a play. This will keep being done until one team scores on their possession when other team does not.

Players on the field

– A full team consists of 7 players: 4 guys and 3 girls. Max 4 guys, no max on girls.
– A team can play with a minimum of 5 players, but must have at least 2 of each gender.

Line of scrimmage

– 5 players must be on the line of scrimmage to set the line
– The ball can be snapped through the legs or by snapping to the side
– Offensive players body must remain behind the ball during the snap.
– All offensive players must stop moving for at least 1 second before the ball is snapped. They must be “set” in position.
– Defense cannot rush the QB until they have counted LOUDLY “1 S3 Leagues”, “2 S3 Leagues”, etc, and may rush the QB at “5 S3 Leagues”
– The ball will be spotted where your HIPS are when the flag is pulled.
– Defensive players must be 3+ yards away from the snapper when the ball the snapped. This is to prevent unintentional contact between the snapper and defensive player on a blitz and gives these players more space to react to the blitz and AVOID contact with each other (which is the rule).

– Players acting as offensive lineman must have hands behind their back or at their side when protecting their quarterback from pursuing defensive rushers. There is no contact at or behind the line of scrimmage. Offensive lineman can position their body at any particular angle in an attempt to the direct the rushers to a particular area, but they may not physically direct them or initiate contact. Defensive players cannot initiate contact with the offensive player. Offensive players must try to go around the defensive player, NOT through them.


– Each team will have 4 downs to get first down and/or 4 downs from past midfield to score.
– If a first down isn’t obtained or a goal not scored, a change of possession occurs.

Important: A female must be the primary target of a play in at least one of every three plays or there will be a Illegal Procedure penalty and result in a loss of down. This means the girl must be the OBVIOUS the target of a pass, get the ball on a run, or be the quarterback. If you get a first down on second down for example, you still need to include a girl as the primary target for the next play. This ensures female participation in the games! After you score, this rule expires until your next possession and starts anew. PAT plays can go to anyone and do not apply to this girl rule.


– This is a NON CONTACT & NON BLOCKING game. No downfield blocking or blocking on the line of scrimmage.

– Illegal Blocks will result in a 10 pace penalty and loss of down
– If an offensive player jumps in the path of a defender and gives the defender no where to go but through the blocker, it will be an illegal contact on the offensive player. (Similar to a blocking foul in basketball).

Flag Guarding, Spinning and Diving

NO FLAG GUARDING: This will merit a 10 Yard Penalty and loss of down.

– Spinning and jumping to avoid your flag getting pulled is NOT allowed.
– There is absolutely NO DIVING to advance the ball.

QB Runs

– QBs can run at any time.
– There is no time limit for the QB to throw the ball. If not rushed, QBs can sit back as long as they like.
– If the ball is handed off, the defense is allowed to immediately come at the runner to pull their flag..

Defensive Coverage


– There is absolutely NO DIVING to advance the ball. Illegal Contact will be the call and a 10 pace penalty and automatic 1st down will be accessed.
– This is a very rec league so you cannot make contact with each other.

Force Outs

If a player is forced/shoved out of bounds, it will result in an Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty and merit a 10 pace penalty and automatic 1st down.

No Run Zones

There will be a NO RUN ZONE if your play is starting 5 paces from MID FIELD and 5 paces from the GOAL LINE. There are no running plays allowed in these zones. This helps to avoid power running plays in a non-contact game.


– Laterals are legal behind the line of scrimmage ONLY. There is to be no downfield laterals of the ball. In the case of a downfield lateral; it will be a spot foul and a 10 yard penalty & loss of down.
– Backward Passes behind the line of scrimmage ARE allowed.

Forward Passes

– Only one forward pass is allowed per down.

– QB may NOT cross the line of scrimmage and throw a pass.
– QB may not go over and then come back and throw a pass.


– Receiver must obtain control and have one foot in bounds for the reception
– If the player is coming down in bounds and is forced out of bounds, the reception will count. But since you shoved them out of bounds which is NOT ALLOWED, there will be an illegal contact penalty also enforced (10 yards and automatic 1st down).





You MUST Remember that this is a VERY rec league. We will be calling all infractions and assessing the appropriate penalties, but there is a ZERO tolerance policy with excessive play. These are fun, light games that we are playing. Note that the referee has the power to eject a player from a game after their first infraction of a rule that takes away from the lightness and fun atmosphere that we want in this league.
1. Even though we totally get that it’s more fun to win and smoke the competition, all teams will be required to introduce themselves to the opposing team each night. Even if we didn’t require it, we assume that you would have done this anyways.
2. After the match, line up like back in the t-ball days and walk the line, saying “good game, good game, good game, good game.” Then eat some orange wedges and drink Capri Sun.

2. We’ll keep this short and sweet because it goes without saying and we’ve already said this 100 times. This is going to be a fun, social league. Any unacceptable behavior, cursing, insulting, or anything determined by referee to take away from the low-key meaning of the league WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. Of course winning is cool, but seriously, getting worked up over this doesn’t even make any sense. You’re here to have fun.

Please Note:

S3 reserves the exclusive right to remove any player from the league that violates our code of good sportsmanship and a refund WILL NOT be provided. Just play fair, be cool, and have fun!


Teams may use fill-in players during the season to field a full team, but only bring subs if you need them for a full team so those that paid to play don’t lose out on playing time. Also, subs are only allowed in playoffs if you email to get it approved in advance in certain situations.
If your team forfeits a match during the season, the following rules apply:
First Offense: 35-0 loss of game and warning issued.
Second Offense: 35-0 loss of second game and S3 reserves the right to remove team from the league or playoffs with no refund for games not played.
Third Offense: Automatic removal from the league with no refund for games not played.

The reason for the harshness of this is because we want all teams to be able to play. If your team is a no-show, then the other team also doesn’t get to play, and that’s not cool. So just get subs or at least let us know if you’re not going to make it!

If you know in advance that your team will be forfeiting a match, you are required to email us at so we can let your opponent know that you won’t be showing up or try to get others to attend in your time slot for us to do a pick up game!


For playoffs in all of our leagues, teams are placed into multiple divisions based on regular season records where there is a winner of each division. Because these are super social rec leagues and many teams were made at random, some teams end up not as good at winning game as they are at just having fun being active outdoors. This method creates a more balanced playoffs system in a league where players and teams can range from professionals to those not quitting their day jobs. It allows similarly skilled teams to play each other in the end while still giving a first round benefit to those teams with a higher ranking, and makes it so that any team can throw a couple wins together and get one of the champion prizes!