top of page
Screen Shot 2023-11-22 at 8.54.11 AM.png

FLAG/FLEX -FOOTBALL RULES

INDOOR GAMEPLAY &
RULES

1. Equipment/Field Set-Up: FC SPORTS will supply the footballs, cones, and belts for league play.

 

2. Game Time/Default: Games are comprised of two (2) 20-minute halves. A running clock is used for the entire first half and for the first 18 minutes of the 2nd half. Stop clock is used in the final 2 minutes. If a team is up by 2 or more points at any point during the final 2 minutes of the 2nd half, a running clock will be used.

 

3. Teams are comprised of six (6) players with a minimum of two (2) women on the field. A forfeit will occur if any team cannot field a squad 10 minutes after the official start time. A team can play with a minimum of 5 people, as long as one (1) of the players is female (except in Men’s Arena Football). Captains may agree to waive the rules regarding minimum people but this should be decided before the game starts. IF IT IS AGREED THAT THE GAME COUNTS, IT COUNTS!

 

4. Teams may call a one (1) minute time-out per half. Clock only stops during final 2 minutes.

 

5. In the final 2 minutes of the 2nd half, the clock stops for timeouts, dead balls, incomplete passes, and out of bounds. Inside 2 minutes remaining in the half, the clock will also stop on 1st downs until the ball is spotted ready for play.

 

6. SPORTSMANSHIP - Sportsmanship is the #1 priority in this league. It is fully expected that the flag puller will politely hand the ball carrier’s flags back to him/her and congratulate him/her on a good play.

 

7. General Rules:

 

• College rules are in effect, unless otherwise noted. This means receiver needs possession and one foot in bounds (before contacting walls), & the ball carrier’s knee touching the ground or any body part touching the wall or net stops the play at that point.

 

• The soccer goal line acts as the back endzone line. “in” & “out”-of-bounds is determined exactly as if it were the back endzone line of an outdoor football field. College rules apply. 1 foot in bounds and no contact with the line is a touchdown. Contact with line or 1 foot out of bounds results in incomplete pass.

 

• As a general rule, nets, walls, and ceilings are considered a “part of the ground”, with respect to running and passing.  Ball cannot be caught off/trapped against the nets or walls. Receivers can jump off the wall to catch passes.

 

• Any contact with the wall, by the ball carrier, results in end of play. A player may contact the wall, prior to the catch, release from wall to make the catch, and advance the ball.

 

• Receiver can be in contact with wall at time of catch and can still advance the ball upfield.

 

• A coin toss (or odd/even guess) will decide which team will start with the ball.

 

• Shorts/pants with pockets are not allowed. Cleats are not allowed.

 

• Possessions begin at the top of the crease.

 

Spinning - IS ALLOWED!

 

• Offensive players may not block w/extension or hold defenders when blocking. screening or picking are allowed.

 

• Offensive players cannot protect/cover/hide/block his/her flag. If the person with the ball blocks or attempts to block the defenders hand, the play is dead where the block (flag guard) occurred.

 

• The flag must be on top of all clothing. If a flag inadvertently falls off the ball carrier, the play continues until the ball carrier is "1-hand touched”.

• The offensive team has 1 set (4 downs) to cross the mid-field marker & 1 more set to score.

 

• Girl plays required once every set (4 downs); resets with a 1st down (new set). Def:-legitimate attempt to advance ball, by a girl; includes a run from scrimmage/forward pass to/forward pass by a girl (pass does not need to be caught). (Does not apply to Men’s Arena Football)

 

• Offensive team may verbally punt on 4th down. Ball will be placed on the opposite 10y line.

 

• “Stripping” of/swiping at the ball, from a ball carrier WITH POSSESSION, is not allowed.

 

• Climbing or scaling the walls to make a play on the ball are allowed

 

• The quarterback may only run the football at the end of the 5 “Mississippi” WHEN, AND IF the defense crosses the line of scrimmage. No running if the defense doesn’t cross the line of scrimmage.

 

• Teams receive six (6) points for each touchdown. There are one (1) and two (2) point conversions.

 

• From the time the ball is placed on the line of scrimmage, the offense has 25 seconds to start the next play. Running down the clock with an unnecessarily long huddle is unsportsmanlike conduct and will result in a delay of game penalty.

 

Safe Play: A defender may not step in front of the ball carrier or block a running lane if it has the potential to create an unsafe play. Defenders should take angles of pursuit on the flag belts, not the ball carrier. Also, offensive players should not run with their head down, in an attempt to run through the defenders. Incidental contact is inevitable, but players should never be run over. Violators may be suspended from play.

 

• If a defending team sacks the quarterback (or any offensive player) in the offense’s end zone (safety), the ball is turned over to the defending team, 3 yards behind the mid-field (50-yard) line; no points awarded.

 

• Ball/forward progress is determined by BELT BUCKLE at time of flag pull; NOT the BALL.

 

• A game can end in a tie during the regular season. In the playoffs, Tiebreaker will be decided by the first team to score and not have their score answered by the opponent in equal possessions. For example: Team A scores on 1st possession and Team B doesn’t score on 1st possession, then Team A gets the tiebreaker. Or, Team A doesn’t score on 1st or 2nd possession, and Team B doesn’t score on 1st possession, but does score on 2nd possession, Team B gets tiebreaker (Team A does not get a 3rd possession to answer Team B’s 2nd possession score). An interception thrown is the same as a non-scoring drive. An interception returned for a TD is the same as a scoring possession.

 

• Player substitution during the drive is allowed, but bench player must get official’s attention before trying to enter the playing field to avoid having too many players on the field, and players, must run on and off the field. Players may sub freely at change of possessions.

 

• Endzones are 4 yards deep

 

8. Dead Play: If a player carrying the ball slips/falls and one knee touches the ground, the play is dead and the defense does not have to remove a flag for the play to stop. Same if player contacts the wall. If the football touches the ground for any reason (fumbles, handoffs, etc) the ball is dead & spotted at that point. In the case of incomplete laterals, the defensive team has the option to accept where the ball touches the ground, or forward progress.

9. Rough Play: Body contact is allowed in the case of secured ball possession in the hands of the ball carrier. This includes “shoulder dropping” or straight-arms/blocking/shoving out of bounds (defensive press). 

 

10. Penalties/Discrepancies: All games refereed by FC TRAINING SPORTS officials. All decisions made by officials are final and not up for debate. Only captains may discuss a rules question/issue with the official. Discussion about possible rules violations between opponents is considered unsportsmanlike. Please play safely and with good spirit.

 

• If a defensive penalty is assessed with less than 2 mins. to go, the clock will stop until the offense snaps the ball.

 

Blocking (offensive)- Play will be called dead, a 5 yard penalty assessed from the spot, & loss of down.

 

Blocking (defensive) or Offsides (defensive)- Offense can elect to take result of current play, or a 5 yard penalty and replay of down.

 

Offsides (offensive)- Play will be dead immediately, offense will be assessed a 5 yard penalty, and replay the down. If there are less than 2 minutes left in the game, a 10 second run-off will occur before the offense will be allowed to snap the ball, unless they take a time-out to stop the clock.

 

Unnecessary Roughness- 10 yard penalty & automatic 1st down (offensive) or loss of down (defensive).

 

Pass Interference- (defensive) Ball to be placed at the spot with automatic 1st down. If penalty occurs in the end zone, ball to be placed on 1y with automatic 1st down. (offensive)- 10y penalty & loss of down.

 

Flag Guarding- play is dead at the spot where the flag guard occurred.

 

Delay of Game- Failure of Offense to snap ball prior to expiration of 30 second clock will result in a 5 yard penalty and replay of down. If less than 2 minutes left in the half and the clock is running, the clock will stop will not start until ball is snapped. Consecutive Delay of Game Penalties will result in a turnover.

 

Roughing the Passer- Swatting or hitting the quarterback’s arm in an attempt to deflect a pass. 10 yard Penalty and automatic 1st down.

 

Penalty Yardage- yardage assessed will be specified distance or half the distance to the goal; whichever is less.

 

11. Player Eligibility:

SUBSTITUTES are allowed, but must be legally registered and may not be on the roster of any other league team.

 

12. League standing tiebreakers: will be by head-2-head & opponents’ records. There is never any incentive to beat an opponent by the maximum scores possible.

13. Throw-Offs

  • To start each half (and after every score), the throwing team will throw the ball off from their own 35 yard line. 

  • A coin toss before the start of the game will determine which team initially throws off and which team returns (to be reversed at the start of the second half).

  • The throwing team will have 3 defensive players and the receiving team will have 1 offensive player to make the return.   For the throwing team, the player throwing the ball may utilize a running start but must throw the ball before crossing the 35 yard line and the 2 runners must be set on the 35 yard line and may only start running downfield once the ball is thrown. 

  • The throw off must travel a minimum of 40 yards in the air (i.e. to at least the opposing 25 yard line) and stay inbounds.  If the ball passes the back of the end zone on the fly, it will be a touchback and spotted at the receiving team’s 20 yard line. If the returner touches the ball in the field of play and then downs in the endzone this will result in a safety. 

  • The returner can make an attempt to bat the ball back in from the field of play from in bounds, recover the bat, and continue as a returner.

  • Any recovery by the throwing team (of a live ball) under no circumstance can be advanced. (updated 5/13/22)  

 

Penalties and Scenarios on Throw-Offs (all infractions will result in a dead ball foul and immediate whistle).

 

The penalty for any of the below infractions will result in the returner lining up on his own 25 yard line with the ball in his hand instead of awaiting a throw-off.  The throwing team will line up on their own 35 yard line.  Once both teams are ready, the official will blow the whistle to start the 3-on-1 play to be referred to as a “Run Back.”

 

Substitutions are not permitted during throw-off infractions. If a player becomes injured on the play, the throwing team will have the option to play the down with the two players or also keep the injured player on the field.

  • Penalties that result in a Run Back:
    – Ball thrown out of bounds
    – Offsides on the throwing team
    – Ball did not reach the yard mark distanced 40 yards from the throw, on the fly. **If the returner opts to catch the ball short of the 25 yard line, there is no penalty and the play is live**
    – Play clock violation on the throwing team

     

    • Play Clock begins once the BJ is set on the throwing line.

    •  (note: a play clock violation will result in a 10 yard penalty that will be assessed on the next possession for its first offense. Second offense is a throw off.

    • If the returner positions himself out of bounds with a part of his body in bounds and touches the ball the ball will be dead and considered out of bounds.

OUTDOOR GAMEPLAY &
RULES (Men's, Women's & Co-ed)

Equipment

1) FC TRAINING SPORTS will supply all equipment. Teams may supply their own regulation-sized football.

 

2) Jerseys must be tucked in, or cut min. 4” higher than waistline. Flags on top of clothing. No Shorts with pockets allowed (tape will be allowed, but not provided). No metal cleats, dangling chains, watches, rings)

 

3) Matching Team Color Shirt MUST be worn each week.

 

4) Protective equipment must be of a soft material or be covered and padded so that no hard plastic or metal is exposed.

 

The Game, Field, and Players & Substitutes

1) Game is played 7-on-7. 6 players (min. 1 female for coed) are required to avoid forfeit. Coed teams with only 1 female must play with 6 players. Scheduled game time, plus 10 min. is deadline to avoid a forfeit. Game clock starts even if teams are waiting for their players to arrive.

 

 2) SUBSTITUTES are allowed in the regular season, but must be legally registered players, either on the roster of another team or register for a $10 1-day guest pass.

 

PLAYOFFS- players must be on that team’s roster and play in a minimum of 1 regular season game to be eligible to play in the playoffs. No subs. No exceptions.

 

3) Field is roughly 60 yards by 35 yards with 5 yard endzones.

 

4) Semi-Contact. A defensive player may not hold, but can press or lower their shoulder. Offensive players may not block or hold, but THEY CAN PICK. On a kick return, non-ball carriers are expected to stay behind the ball carrier & make themselves available for the lateral, BUT YOU CAN CHOOSE TO PICK for the returner by leading the way/running in front. Blocking during a play will result in an offensive blocking penalty being assessed. Defenders should take angles of pursuit on the flag belts, not the ball carrier. Offensive players should not run with their head down, in an attempt to run through the defenders. A player should never be run over. Violators will be flagged for unnecessary roughness and may be ejected from the game or the league due to a severe infraction and/or repeated violations.

 

5) All teams make the playoffs and seeding is based on head-to-head results & opponent’s records. There is NO benefit to beating a team by maximum points.

 

6) Rock-Paper-Scissors decides possession & direction to start the game. Winner gets choice of starting with the ball in either half, or direction. There are no kick-offs to start a half or after a team scores. Ball starts on the 10 yard line.

 

 Game Clock, Periods, and Time Factors

1) Game clock starts on time OR 3 mins. after the last play of the previous game; whichever comes first. Have your team ready to go on the sideline in order to maximize playing time as the clock will start on time.

 

2) Games are comprised of (2) 20-min. halves & a 3 min. halftime. Running clock is used if a team is down by 3 touchdowns or more. Stop clock is used in the final 2 mins.  Clock will stop (until snapped) for timeouts, dead balls, incomplete passes, out of bounds, TD conversions, offensive delay of game, offensive offsides, defensive penalties, and on 1st downs (only until the ball is spotted). Stop-clock penalties may be declined, and clock continues to run.

 

3) Timeouts

Teams may call one, 30-second timeout per half. Timeouts do not carry over at the half.

 

4) Kneel-Downs: The game will be declared over if the winning team gets a 1st down with a) 2 mins. or less in the 2nd half & the losing team does not have a time out, or b) 1:30 or less in the 2nd half.

 

5) Tie Games. In the regular season, ties can result. In playoffs, college football OT rules. Ball spotted at midfield. Teams are required to go for a min. of 2 pt. conversion starting in the third OT.

 

6) Delays. Failure to snap within 30 seconds after the ball is spotted is delay of game (5yd penalty). The referee will let teams know when 10 seconds remain on the play clock. 2 Consecutive Delay of Game Penalties results in turnover to opponent. Punters have 5 sec. from snap to kick. Failure results in immediate turnover to opponent. 

4. A Dead Ball Results When:

 

a) Any part of the runner other than a hand(s) or foot touches the ground.

 

b) A passer/runner has a flag belt removed legally or runs out of bounds. A player only needs 1 foot in bounds to make a legal catch (college rules).

 

c) A runner is legally tagged with one hand between the shoulders and knees, including the hand and arm, if their flag is missing or has fallen off prior to being touched by the defense.

 

d) The football touches the ground for any reason (punts, fumbles, bad snap, handoffs, etc). The ball is dead at that point. In the case of dropped laterals, the defense can choose to accept where the ball hits or forward progress.

 

e) A ball carrier CAN turn their bodies from side to side (180°), but CANNOT spin 360°. Penalty -Dead ball/spot foul.

 

f) The ball carrier leaves their feet to advance the ball (i.e. diving). Players can dive to catch a ball but once in possession he/she cannot leave their feet. Running, cutting, (mostly-lateral) jump-cutting, etc. are fine.

 

5. Series of Downs, Girl Plays, and First Downs

 

1) The offensive team has 1 set (4 downs) to cross the mid-field marker & 1 more set of 4 downs to score.

 

2) Girl plays required once every set (4 downs); resets with a 1st down. A girl play is a legitimate attempt to advance the ball by a girl: girl must attempt a forward pass, be the sole rusher or intended receiver (in the discretion of the official).

 

3) The female may not lateral the ball unless she has gained positive yardage first (either by catching a forward pass or rushing). This prevents a female from lateralling backwards to a male who then throws a forward pass.

 

4) Coed "open" or "closed" status - The term “open” means the girl play requirement has been satisfied for this set of downs. The term “closed” means the offensive team has yet to run a girl play. Resets with a 1st down.

 

6. Punting

 

1) Offensive team may punt on 4th down & MUST notify the defense. Offensive players cannot cross the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked (5 yard penalty).

 

2) Punter has 5 seconds (from snap) to kick the ball. Failure results in immediate turnover to defense. (New in 2023)

 

3) If the ball is kicked through the end zone on a punt (or kicked into the end zone & the receiving team elects not to run the ball out), the offensive team will start their drive at the 10 yard line. If the receiving team opts to catch the ball outside their end zone and runs back into their end zone, the receiver is in-play & runs the risk of being tackled in their own end zone (result is a safety).

 

4) If a punt goes out of bounds before the endzone, ball is spotted where it went out of bounds.

 

7. Snapping the Ball/Pre-Snap

 

1) Offensive players are responsible for retrieving the ball after an offensive play.

 

2) Prior to the Snap, one offensive player may be in motion, but not in motion toward the opponent’s goal line at the snap. Other offensive players must be stationary in their position. Penalty: Illegal Motion, 5 yards.

 

3) Defense must play with a rusher that starts behind the back judge, 10 yards from the line of scrimmage (New in 2023). Once the rusher crosses the line, any/all defensive players may cross. A rusher lining up inside the 7/10 yards, or a defensive player crossing the line before the rusher results in an Offsides Penalty (5 yards).

 

4) The center must immediately vacate their snap position by taking (at least) 3 steps towards either sideline before turning upfield or downfield. Penalty: Blocking (offensive), 5 yds & loss of down. (New in 2023)

 

5) Rusher must avoid contact with the center. Penalty: Blocking (defensive), 5 yds/replay down or result.(New in 2023)

 

6) The quarterback may only run WHEN, AND IF the rusher crosses the line of scrimmage. No running if the defense doesn’t cross the line of scrimmage. Quarterback’s rushing prior to the Defense crossing the line of scrimmage, will be assessed an Offensive Offsides Penalty of 5 yards and loss of down.

 

8. Touchdowns and Conversions 1) Touchdowns are worth 6 points. 2) Conversion Try = 1, 2 or 3 points. The play clock will be used for all conversions, stop clock or not.

 

a) 1 point from the 3 yard line, 2 points from the 10 yard line, or 3 points from 20 yards away.

 

b) If defense intercepts during a conversion, the ball may be returned to the opposite endzone for 2 pts.

9. Safety Sacking the QB (or any ball carrier) in the endzone results in a safety (2 pts. & turnover to defense).

 

10. Guarding/Grabbing the Flag Belt

 

1) Runner shall not use their hands, arms, or the ball to prevent an opponent from pulling their flag. This includes lowering the shoulders causing their arm/elbow to cover the flag. Penalty: Spot foul; play is dead at the spot.

 

2) No extending of the arm (stiff arm) to disrupt a flag pull attempt. Penalty: Personal Foul, 10 yards.

 

3) The defensive player shall not pull the shirt, hold, grasp, or obstruct the forward progress of a runner when in the act of removing the flag belt or making a legal tag. Penalty: Defensive Holding, 10 yards. 11. Flag Removal

 

1) When the flag is pulled, the ball carrier is down. Forward progress is determined by BELT BUCKLE at time pull; NOT the BALL. The player removing the flag should hold the flag above his/her head to assist the ref in locating the spot.

 

2) If a flag is missing or has fallen off, the ball carrier may be downed with a 1-hand touch between the shoulders & knees. A player may dive to remove the flag belt.

 

3) Players must have possession of the ball before they can be downed. If a flag is pulled early, play should continue with the option of the penalty or the result of the play. Penalty: Personal Foul, 10 yards from spot

 

12. Stripping the Ball/Attempt to steal the ball A player is not allowed to strip or attempt to strip the ball from a player in possession (ref’s discretion), including but not limited to: punching, striking or stealing a held ball. Penalty: Personal Foul, 10 yards.

 

13. SPORTSMANSHIP- Sportsmanship is the #1 priority in this league. As a general rule, it is fully expected that the tackler (flag puller) will politely hand the ball carrier’s flags back to him/her.

 

14. Penalties/Discrepancies: All decisions made by officials are final. Only captains may discuss a rules question/issue with the official. The captain must be a player, playing at least half the snaps in the game (New in 2023). All other players, friends & family addressing the referees may be ejected & asked to leave the park. Discussion about possible rules violations between opponents is considered unsportsmanlike. Please play safely and with good spirit.

 

• Defensive penalty (during stop clock) stops the clock. Offense may elect to decline the stoppage.

 

Blocking (offensive) - Play will be called dead, a 5-yard penalty assessed from the spot (of the ball).

 

Blocking (defensive) or Offsides (defensive)- Offense can elect to take result of current play, or a 5 yard penalty and replay of down.

 

Offsides (offensive) - Dead ball. A 5-yard penalty & replay down. If less than 2 mins. remain in the game, a 10 sec. run off will occur before the offense can snap the ball, unless they take a time-out to stop the clock.

 

Unnecessary Roughness - 10 yard penalty and automatic 1st down (If on defense) or loss of down (if on offense).

 

Pass Interference - (defensive) Ball to be placed at the spot with automatic 1st down. If penalty occurs in the end zone, ball to be placed on 1 yard with automatic 1st down. (offensive)- 10y penalty & loss of down.

 

Flag Guarding - Play is dead at the spot where the flag guard occurred.

 

Delay of Game - Failure to snap ball prior to expiration of 30 sec. clock results in a 5-yard penalty & replay down. If this occurs during stop-clock-time (and clock is currently running) the clock will stop until the ball is snapped.

 

Contacting the Passer - Any forceable contact on the quarterback (while passing), regardless of whether the defender made contact with the ball. 10 yard Penalty and automatic 1st down.

 

Penalty Yardage - Yardage assessed will be specified distance or half the distance to the goal; whichever is less.

15. Throw-Offs

  • To start each half (and after every score), the throwing team will throw the ball off from their own 35 yard line. 

  • A coin toss before the start of the game will determine which team initially throws off and which team returns (to be reversed at the start of the second half).

  • The throwing team will have 3 defensive players and the receiving team will have 1 offensive player to make the return.   For the throwing team, the player throwing the ball may utilize a running start but must throw the ball before crossing the 35 yard line and the 2 runners must be set on the 35 yard line and may only start running downfield once the ball is thrown. 

  • The throw off must travel a minimum of 40 yards in the air (i.e. to at least the opposing 25 yard line) and stay inbounds.  If the ball passes the back of the end zone on the fly, it will be a touchback and spotted at the receiving team’s 20 yard line. If the returner touches the ball in the field of play and then downs in the end-zone this will result in a safety. 

  • The returner can make an attempt to bat the ball back in from the field of play from in bounds, recover the bat, and continue as a returner.

  • Any recovery by the throwing team (of a live ball) under no circumstance can be advanced. (updated 5/13/22)  

 

Penalties and Scenarios on Throw-Offs (all infractions will result in a dead ball foul and immediate whistle).

 

The penalty for any of the below infractions will result in the returner lining up on his own 25 yard line with the ball in his hand instead of awaiting a throw-off.  The throwing team will line up on their own 35 yard line.  Once both teams are ready, the official will blow the whistle to start the 3-on-1 play to be referred to as a “Run Back.”

 

Substitutions are not permitted during throw-off infractions. If a player becomes injured on the play, the throwing team will have the option to play the down with the two players or also keep the injured player on the field.

  • Penalties that result in a Run Back:
    – Ball thrown out of bounds
    – Offsides on the throwing team
    – Ball did not reach the yard mark distanced 40 yards from the throw, on the fly. **If the returner opts to catch the ball short of the 25 yard line, there is no penalty and the play is live**
    – Play clock violation on the throwing team

     

    • Play Clock begins once the BJ is set on the throwing line.

    •  (note: a play clock violation will result in a 10 yard penalty that will be assessed on the next possession for its first offense. Second offense is a throw off.

    • If the returner positions himself out of bounds with a part of his body in bounds and touches the ball the ball will be dead and considered out of bounds.

bottom of page