Flag Football Rules (Compliments of JAMS)
Junior - 13 years and below
Youth - 14 years and over
Each team will play 2 games. Top four teams in each category advances to semi-finals.
REMINDER: Game officials will strictly enforce the policy
regarding illegal equipment, penalties, and especially fights.
Illegal equipment consists of:
A. Headwear containing any hard, unyielding, stiff material, including billed hats, or items containing exposed knots.
C. Pads or braces worn above the waist.
D. Shoes with metal, ceramic, screw-in, or detachable cleats. EXCEPTION: Screw-in cleats are allowed if the screw is part of the cleat.
E. Shirts or jerseys that do not remain tucked in. Any hood on a coat, sweatshirt, or shirt that does not remain tucked in.
F. Leg and knee braces made of hard, unyielding material, unless covered on both sides and all edges overlapped.
G. Any slippery or sticky foreign substance on any equipment or exposed part of the body.
H. Exposed metal on clothes or person.
I. Towels attached at the player's waist.
TIMING: Games are to start promptly at the scheduled time. If a team cannot field the minimum amount of players at the start-game time, they will have 10 minutes to do so or else the game will be called a forfeit. If both teams are tardy, then once either team has their minimum amount of players a 5 minute timer will start, after which a forfeit will be called if the other team fails to field their minimum amount of players. In either case, game time will promptly end at the beginning of the scheduled time of the following game, and the score will be recorded as is, no extra time will be taken from the following game time.
TIME KEEPING REQUIREMENT: Each team will be responsible for sending one player to a game that is NOT their own to keep track of the time/score on the scoreboard. If your teamate fails to show up, you will be adversely affecting the league, and so in your very next game the opposing team (even if it is the playoffs, or a tight match-up) will be Awarded 2 Points at the start of the game (or retroactively if the scorekeeper did not realize that 2 points should be awarded). An additional person maybe necessary for playoffs if your team makes it
REQUIRED CLOTHING:Jerseys and flag belts will be provided by the JAMS Sports program. All other clothing/equipment must be provided by the team/player. A shirt, pants/shorts, and shoes are required to play flag football.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: Each team should start the game with 9 players; a minimum of 7 is needed to avoid a forfeit. A player may play on only one team per sport. A team may have up to 15 people on its roster
LENGTH OF GAME: Playing time shall be 40 minutes, separated into two halves of 20 minutes. Half-time shall be 3 minutes. There will be a running clock for the entire first half, and the first 18 minutes of the second half. The last 2 minutes of the second half will follow the below “Last 2 Minute” timing rules. A coin toss will determine who shall receive the choice of possession or side at the beginning of the game. If only one team is ready to play at game time, they will automatically have the choice. In the case of overtime, there will be a 2-minute intermission prior to starting overtime. There will be a 15 second play clock (maintained by the referees) in between plays. The play clock begins once the ball has been spotted on the field.
LAST 2 MINUTE TIMING RULES: In the last 2 minutes of the game, the clock will stop ONLY for:
A. Change of possession (through Interceptions, TDs, Onsides Kicks),
B. Penalties on the Defense, penalties on the Offense only to the extent that it takes the referee to spot the ball and then the clock will be started again,
C. Running out of bounds
D. First down to the extent that it takes the referee to spot the ball, and then the time is resumed
E. Incomplete passes
G. Injuries (if your injury timeout has not already been exhausted)
FIELD DIMENSIONS: The flag football field measures approximately 80 yards long by 40 yards wide. The end zones are approximately 10 yards each. Some rules will vary to accommodate the field dimensions.
FIRST DOWN: A first down will be measured in 20 yard increments. A team will have four downs to convert the first down.
KICKOFFS: Kick-offs will be spotted at the kicking team’s 30 yard line. Kick-offs that land out-of-bounds before crossing the end zone will be penalized with the ball being spotted on the receiving teams 30 yard line. If the ball crosses the end zone line of the receiving team and goes out of bounds, or a receiving team member catches the ball and kneels down in the end zone, it is an automatic touchback. A touchback will be played from the 20 yard line.
TIME OUTS: Each team is entitled to 2 time-outs per half (unused time-outs from the first half do not carry over). Successive charged time-outs may be granted to each team during the same dead ball period. If the ball is dead and a team has not exhausted its charged time-outs, the Referee shall allow a time-out and charge that team. A charged time-out shall not exceed 1 minute. The game clock shall stop with a call of timeout.
Each team shall have (1) 30 second time out in overtime.
When a team requests a charged time-out for a rule interpretation, the Referee will confer with the team captain. If the Referee changes his/her ruling, it is an official’s time-out. If the ruling is not changed, it is a charged time-out. If the team has used its 2 charged time-outs, a delay of game penalty will be assessed.
Each team will have reserved a 2-minute timeout that is in addition to the above timeouts in case of an injury, that the referee can grant at his discretion. This Injury Timeout can only be used for valid injuries occurring during the game.
OVERTIME (TIE GAME): If the game score is tied after regulation time, then a coin toss will determine who will get the ball & side. The home team shall call the toss. If additional overtime periods are needed to decide the outcome of the game (more than first overtime), captains shall alternate choices. Each team will have the chance to score in series of four downs from the 20 yard line. If the score is still tied after each team has had a try (including extra point attempts), a second series is played, and so on until a winner is determined. (Exception: Regular season games will end in a tie if teams are tied after the third series). Home team is designated as the team that won the opening coin toss. All games will immediately stop at the end of their playing time hour without exception.
PUNTING: On a protected punt, teams may either PUNT or THROW. If they opt to THROW, they may not throw the ball out of bounds. If they do, the ref will add 10 yards to the spot where the ball went out of bounds. This is to prevent more accurate throwers from throwing the ball out of bounds right before the goaline (which is much easier to do with a throw than a kick). On fourth down the Official must ask the Offensive team if they want a protected scrimmage punt/throw. Once the offense has declared their choice, the Official will inform the Defense of the offense's choice. The only way the Offense can change their decision is to call a time-out, or if a foul occurs anytime prior to or during the down and the down is to be replayed. In the later case the Offensive team will be asked if they want a protected scrimmage punt/throw or not. There are no restrictions to the number of players the defensive team must have on the line. During a protected scrimmage throw, defensive players MAY attempt to block the throw by jumping straight up in the air. They may not, however, penetrate the line of scrimmage. If a throw crosses the scrimmage line and touches a player from either team and then hits the ground, the ball is dead at that spot and belongs to the receiving team.
LINE OF SCRIMMAGE: The offensive team must have a minimum of 5 players set the line of scrimmage at the snap. The two end players are considered Tight Ends and thus considered eligible. Players in motion do not count as players on the line of scrimmage. Once the center has placed his hands on the ball no offensive player may enter the neutral zone. Following the ready for play whistle and until a legal snap, no defensive player may encroach, touch the ball, stand in, or in any other way interfere with the offensive team. One player is allowed in motion. The offense must line up 6 players on the line of scrimmage, of which 5 must be linemen within one arms length away from each other.
RUSHING: Defensive players rushing in can use their hands to move past the offensive line, but may not grab, hold, strike, or push full-arm the offensive lineman. The offensive line man can user their hands to block the defensive players from rushing in, but may not grab, hold, strike, or push full-arm the defensive players. Initial contact by either an offensive or defensive lineman must be made with the hands. There is no pushing a player in the back.
DOWN FIELD BLOCKING – Down field blocking follows the same rules as those in RUSHING above
FUMBLES: Any ball that is fumbled during a down will be dead by rule once it has touched the ground. A defender may not slap the ball out of the offensive team’s hands.
FORWARD PASSES AND INTERCEPTIONS: If a player is in the air attempting to catch a ball, the player must contact the ground with at least one foot in-bounds with the ball in their possession prior to going out of bounds, unless contact by an opponent causes the player to first touch out-of -bounds. If possession of the ball is lost simultaneously when they hit the ground, it is not a catch. If a forward pass is caught simultaneously by members of opposing teams, the ball is dead at that spot and belongs to the team that snapped the ball. A player may not intentionally throw a backward pass out of bounds to conserve time or to avoid being downed.
DIVING: Diving or sticking out the football in an attempt to score or gain a first down is not permitted on offense. Diving is permitted on defense when attempting to de-flag an opponent.
DEAD BALL: The ball is deemed a dead ball once it touches the ground at any point.
PASS INTERFERENCE: Any contact that, in the view of the official, interferes with the attempt to catch a pass (offensive or defensive player) is pass interference unless, in the view of the official, it occurs when two or more eligible receivers make a simultaneous and bona fide attempt to reach, catch, or bat a pass. It is also pass interference if an eligible receiver is de-flagged or touched prior to touching the ball on a pass thrown beyond the offense's line of scrimmage. If the pass interference by the defense is intentional and/or unsportsmanlike, the defense may be penalized an additional 10 yards.
Touchdowns = 6 points
Extra Points = 1 point if successful from the 2.5-yard line
Extra Points = 2 points if successful from the 10-yard line
Extra Points = 3 points if successful from the 20-yard line
Safety = 2 points
Defensive Conversion on Extra Point Attempt = 3 points
Once a team has made their choice on the extra point, they can only change their decision by taking a time-out.
SAFETY: If a player carries the ball across the goal line or out of bounds line of the goal they are defending and the ball becomes dead while in their team's possession, it is a safety. If a team commits a foul in the end zone where the spot of enforcement is designated as the spot of the foul, it will be declared a safety. A team recording a safety will receive two points, and possession of the ball with the PUNT/THROW (not a KICK OFF) being spotted at the opposing team’s 20 yard line.
Exception- Momentum Rule - When a player intercepts a forward pass or catches a scrimmage kick between their five yard line and their goal line and their momentum carries them into the end zone where the ball becomes dead, the ball will belong to the receiving team at the spot of the catch or reception.
PERSONAL FOULS: Any act listed below or any other act of unnecessary roughness is a personal foul. Players shall not :
· Punch, strike, strip, steal, or attempt to steal the ball from a player in possession.
· Trip an opponent.
· Contact an opponent who is on the ground.
· Throw the runner to the ground.
· Hurdle another player.
· Contact an opponent either before or after the ball is declared dead.
· Make any contact with an opponent that is deemed unnecessary.
· Deliberately drive or run into a defensive player.
· Clip an opponent.
· Position themselves on the shoulders of a teammate or opponent to gain an advantage.
· Tackle the runner. (warrants ejection)
EJECTIONS: Any ejection due to a personal foul, fight, unsportsmanlike conduct, will also result in a one game suspension from the league. In the second instance of an ejection, the player will be subject to a 2-game suspension. In the third instance of an ejection, the player will be ejected from the league with no refund and will be limited from future play in the JAMS league. All suspensions are to be served in the directly following game(s). In the instance of particularly egregious conduct the player may be ejected from the league, and limited from future play in the JAMS league.
STIFF ARMING: Stiff arming is not allowed; a personal foul will be called, and if warranted an unsportsmanlike conduct or ejection will result.
OBSTRUCTING THE RUNNER: A defensive player shall not hold or grasp the forward progress of the runner when attempting to remove the flag belt.
THE FLAG BELT: All shirts must be tucked in, and are not permitted to hang over the flag belt. Should a player lose their flag belt legally or illegally during a down and should that player gain possession of a live ball, that player will be considered down when a legal tag (one hand touched by the defense between the shoulders and knees, including the hand and arm) is made. When a player scores they must immediately raise their hands and allow an official to remove their flag belt. This is done to ensure that the flag belt has not been illegally secured. If the belt has been illegally secured the score is disallowed, and the player ejected. The penalty will be administered from the previous spot. Players must have possession of the ball before they can legally be deflagged. It is illegal for a defensive player to intentionally pull a flag from an offensive player who is not in possession of the ball. In cases where a flag belt is removed illegally, play should continue with the option of the penalty of the play.
GUARDING THE FLAG BELT: Offensive ball carriers shall not flag guard by using any part of their body o ther ball to deny the opportunity for an opponent to pull or remove their flag belt. Offensive non-ball carrying team members may also not reverse flag guard by slapping an opponents’ hard/arm in a way that denies the opportunity to grab the flag belt. Flag guarding includes but is not limited to:
· Swinging the hand or arm over the flag belt to prevent an opponent from deflagging.
· Placing the ball in possession over the flag belt to prevent an opponent from deflagging.
· Lowering the shoulders in such a manner that flag guards.
OFFICIAL'S AUTHORITY: An official assumes authority 15 minutes prior to the scheduled game time, and until they have left the field. The officials have the authority to rule on any situation not specifically covered in the rules. His/her decision is final, unless ruled otherwise by the supervisor on duty or the Intramurals Coordinator. The official has the right to eject players or have them sit out of part or all of the game. Fans, coaches, and spectators are a part of a team and any fouls they commit will go against their team.
A. ALL defensive penalties will result in 10 yards and replay of down. Defensive penalties include but are not limited to: pass interference, illegal contact, off-sides, illegal flag pull, illegal rushing, delay of game, obstructing the runner, illegally forcing a fumble, and face guarding.
B. ALL offensive penalties will result in loss of 10 yards from the spot of the foul and loss of down. Offensive penalties include but are not limited to: illegal motion, false start, illegal forward pass, pass interference, flag guarding, delay of game, illegal backward pass, and illegal blocking.
C. The offense will be awarded a new series of 3 downs when defensive pass interference. Dead ball fouls following a successful try will be penalized from the succeeding spot.
D. ALL penalties made on an extra point attempt will result in loss of down OR points awarded to offensive team.
E. The referee shall determine all other penalties not listed above.
TIE BREAKERS: Tie Breakers at the end of the season will be:
A. Point Deferential,
B. Points Allowed,
C. TDs scored, and lastly,
D. a coin flip.
Notice, head to head is NOT a tie breaker
CLEANING UP THE FIELDS: The winning team from each game shall be required to clean up the field after their game and drop ALL the field equipment off at a designated location