Flag Football – Terms, Rules, Flag Belts, Blocking And Ball Kicks


Flag Football (Basics You Should Know) – Terms, Rules, Flag Belts, Blocking And Ball Kicks

Want to learn more about flag football?

If yes, you’re at the right place.

Below, we’ll discuss the basics of the game. We’ll talk about the game’s structure, and terms you should know!

First – Team Structure

• Teams require 7 players, with 5 as a minimum.
• During the snap, an offensive team should have 4 players on the scrimmage line.
• Substitutions can occur during timeouts and within plays.
• Before participation. A roster or waiver form is needed to record players (with their signatures).
• Team areas are within 20 year lines, 2 yards off sidelines. 2 coaches maximum and all players are allowed in that location.
• Spectator areas are 5 yards from sidelines. Spectators may not enter team areas.

Second – Facilities and Equipment

• Shoes are necessary for all players.
• Cleated rubber shoes are allowed, but not hard soled, open heel or open toe, or metal cleats.
• Taping pockets or turning shorts inside out isn’t allowed. Nor are shorts/pants with pockets or belt loops.
• A participant may not have towels hanging from their waist. This may interfere with flag removal.
• Flag belts should have no knots. This may lead to game disqualification for players.
• Teams must supply their footballs. No requirements exist for markings or ball pressure.
• Men can use regular sized balls. Women may use junior, youth, or intermediate sizes.
• Judges can evaluate the balls offered for play for legality.
• Hard and unyielding materials cannot be worn over the waist (includes jewelry, casts, braces, pads, bandanas, helmet, billed hats, etc.).
• Teams must wear similarly colored shirts. Shirts must be tucked in (or cut 4 inches over the waistlines).
• No hooded sweatshirts allowed.

Covering Flags

• Teams receive 2 warnings, following that is an assessment of a 10 yard penalty.
• Flags must be supplied from intramural sports.

Third – Timing and Game Start

• The referee and team captains will conduct a coin toss. This will designate the choice of defensive and offensive teams for each half (or) the selected goal that the team shall defend.
• Captains winning the coin toss are allowed only 1 of the 2 choices.
• Teams are only allowed 2 timeouts per half.
• Balls must enter play less than 25 seconds after the official places them.

Timing Structure

• The game shall operate with 2 halves, each 20 minutes – and a ½ time of 3 minutes.
• For the first ½, timing will be continuous. This doesn’t apply to second, where it is 18 minutes of the 2nd half.
• Clocks will start around 2 minutes before the 2nd half’s end. Referee shall inform each captain of time remaining on clock.

Mercy Rules

• If 1 team leads by 50 points during ½ time, or 19+ during the game’s last 2 minutes, than this rule will be applied – putting the game at a stop.

(B) Attempt to Waste Time Illegally

If a team attempts a false start, the referee may order the clock’s start on snap, if said team is consuming too much time.

Fourth – Rules of the Game

• Field is 80x40x10 yard (at end zone).
• Markings are established every 20 yards.
• After each touchdown, ball is placed at the 14 yard lines.
• Teams may have 4 downs consecutively before advancing to the following zone line.
• Zone lines in advance of a ball is the zone line to be gained – unless there’s a distance loss due to failures/penalties.
• If a team moves a ball to the following zone, a series of new downs shall be awarded.

Removing Flag Belts

• Downs are considered over when flag belts are taken from a runner.
• The ball’s spot is decided where the flag belt’s clip is detached.
• If flag belts fall off, a single hand tag between knees and shoulders is counted as a capture.
• Players may leave their feet for flag removal.

The Ball is Dead If A…

• Legal flagging happens
• The carrier of a ball touches ground with any portion of their body, besides feet/hands.
• The ground is touched from the snap’s center.
• Snaps from center touch the ground (officials call on this situation).

Additional Information

• All members of an offensive team may receive a pass, unless a player runs out of bound in a play.
• Centers, after taking a position for the snap while adjusting the ball, cannot change the ball’s position of move to simulate the play’s beginning.
• Balls should be snapped in a single continuous motion.
• Ball may be moved by an official’s approval, as a result of poor field conditions.
• Players receiving a snap should be 2 yards from the scrimmage line (in a scrimmage play), and a single yard from a scrimmage line.
• Before snaps, offensive players should stop completely for a minimum of 1 second. A single offensive player is allowed in motion. They may not move to the goal line of the opponent during the snap’s time.
• If 2+ players are in motion before a snap, then it’s seen as a shift, and all players set for an entire second before a snap.
• For legal catches, pass receivers should come down with a minimum of 1 foot in bound.


• Defenses must lineup at least a single yard from the scrimmage line, even if offensive team is less than a single yard from end zones, or the gain zone line.
• An offensive player must be within the ball’s range by 15 yards. The 7 offensive players on each play should be clarified. This is to eliminate hideout or sleeper players, which may result in 10 yard penalties for illegal participation.


• A fumble is dead when the ball hits the ground.
• Balls are then placed into play at the location where the ball touched the ground.
• Fumbled or passed balls that don’t touch the ground can be forwarded by players who catch the ball.
• Balls fumbling to an offensive team end zone result in safety. If balls fumble into an opponent’s end zone, this may lead to a touchback.
• After safety, balls may be placed on a 14-yard line. Teams receiving the safety points will place the ball into play.
• After a touchdown, balls may be placed 14-yards after the touchback. It is put into play in a series of downs.

Attempts for Extra Points

This will start at the 20 yard line. Tries for 2 points shall be taken from 10 yard lines. Tries for a single point start at the 3 yard line.

If defenses intercept passes, they can return it for 1 score. A score always equals 3 points.

During Playoffs – Tie Scores At the End of Regulations

In those situations, field captains will be brought together. A coin toss will be performed, where normally there are no overtime periods.

Coin toss winners choose offense and defense. Choice of offense/defense alternates if extra overtime periods are required.

Each team is allowed 4 downs at a 20 yard line for a touchdown score. If Team A scores, then the 2nd will have 4 downs for a win attempt or game tie.

If defense intercepts and returns the ball for a touchdown, the game will end. If not, balls will be placed at a 20 yard line to start the 4 downs series.

Here, each time is allowed a single time out for every overtime period.

Fifth – Blocking

Similar to the rules of tackle football, blocking isn’t allowed. Even more, screen blocks aren’t allowed unless contact is available.

Attempting to start a screen block using elbows, legs, hands, arms, or body isn’t allowed. However, the player may use arms to break their fall or maintain balance.

Finally, it’s necessary for players to be on their feet during screen blocks.

Sixth – Remove Flag Belts

• To try and remove flag belts from a ball carrier, defensive players can touch an opponent’s body with their hands. However, defending players cannot hold, kick, or push ball carriers down to remove the flag.
• Players aren’t allowed to steal the ball, trip opponents, make contact with opponents on the ground, or make unnecessary contact with opponents. Also, diving or running into opponent’s on purpose isn’t allowed. This leads to a personal foul or 10 yards.

Seventh – Ball Kicks

Offensive Team

• A punt should be announced before a ball is set for play. The offensive “kicking team” should have 4 players in their scrimmage line. Also, the center is where puns should be snapped.
• Punters should be 2 yards off a scrimmage line when receiving a snap. They must immediately punt the ball. No movement is allowed by offensive team players before the ball is kicked. This may lead to a 5 yard penalty.

Defending Team

• Defending players cannot enter a neutral zone before a ball is punted.
• Balls can be advanced by the receiver team after it touches the ground. But, if a ball hits a player before touching, the ball is considered dead.
• Fake punts and fast kicks aren’t allowed.
• After a ball is punted, kicking of receiving teams can block the punt.
• If a blocked punt is picked up by an offensive team player behind the scrimmage line, the ball may be advanced.

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