Flag Gridiron Rules


  • A coin toss determines first possession. The captains of both teams shall meet with the referee in the middle of the field.  The winner of the coin toss can either choose to accept possession or defer to the 2nd half. Losers of the coin toss (if the winners choose to accept 1st possession) have choice of end zone to defend.  Otherwise, if the winners of the coin toss decide to defer possession of the ball to the 2nd half, then they (the winners) will choose the side to defend.
  • There are no kick-offs
  • The offensive team takes possession of the ball at its 5-yard line and has four (4) plays to cross midfield. Once a team crosses midfield, it has four (4) plays to score a touchdown. If the offense fails to score, the ball changes possession and the new offensive team takes over on its 5-yard line. An automatic first down by penalty will overrule the other requirements regarding four (4) plays to make either a first down or score. 
  • If the offensive team fails to cross midfield, possession of the ball changes and the opposition starts its drive from its 5-yard line. 
  • All possession changes, except interceptions, start on the offense's 5-yard line. 
  • Teams change end zones after the first 20 minutes. 


  • Teams consist of at least 6 players up to 12 players.
  • There is a minimum of 1 or 2 of each gender on the field at all times, depending on the league’s location.
  • Teams may play with a minimum of four (4) players (due to injuries or no shows). 
  • If less than 4 players are available, the game is forfeited by the side that is unable to field a team. 


  • Touchdown: 6 points. (clock stops after each score)
  • Extra point: 1 point. (played from midpoint of 5-yard line only) 
  • 2 points (played from midpoint of 12-yard line only) 
  • Safety: 2 points. 


  • To start the play, the ball must be snapped between the legs of the snapper. 
  • Only one player may blitz, and teams must nominate which player prior to the snap by raising their arm
  • The center is the player who gives the ball to the quarterback via a snap. 
  • The center cannot take a direct hand off back from the quarterback (no center sneak play). 
  • The quarterback is the player who receives the ball directly from the snap. There is no direct snap to the RBs.  Only the QB is allowed to receive the snap.
  • The quarterback cannot run with the ball past the line of scrimmage, unless he has handed the ball off, tossed or pitched, and it has been returned to him. 
  • QB only has 7 seconds in which to pass the ball.  Play is dead if the QB holds the ball longer than 7 seconds
  • An Offense may use multiple handoffs behind the line of scrimmage. Only backward & lateral handoffs are allowed during the down (as long as it is behind the line of scrimmage). 
  • Tosses or sweeps behind the line of scrimmage are allowed and are running plays. 
  • Once the ball carrier has crossed the line of scrimmage the ball cannot be handed off, tossed, pitched or passed in any way. 
  • "No-running zones," are located at the 5 yard line in front of each end zone. When the ball is on or inside the 5-yard line, the offense cannot run the ball.   In other words, at that stage, the only way for the ball to be advanced is for the QB to throw the ball to a receiver.  The QB has to throw the ball pass the line of scrimmage.
  • The player who takes the handoff, toss or pitch can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage. 
  • All defensive players are eligible to rush once the ball has been handed off or tossed, or there is a play action fake or fake handoff. 
  • Spinning is allowed, but the ball carrier cannot dive forward or jump to avoid a defensive player or gain yardage (no diving). 
  • The ball is spotted where the ball carrier's feet are placed when the flag is pulled, not where the ball is. 


  • All players are eligible to receive passes (including the quarterback if the ball has been handed off or tossed behind the line of scrimmage to a different player). 
  • As in the NFL, one player may be in motion, but not in motion towards the opponent‘s end zone at the snap. 
  • A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception. 


  • Only players starting 7 yards from the line of scrimmage can rush the passer. 
  • The quarterback has seven seconds to throw the ball. If a pass is not thrown within seven seconds, the play is dead, with a loss of down and the ball is spotted at the previous line of scrimmage. 
  • Only one forward pass thrown from behind the line of scrimmage is allowed in a down. 
  • Interceptions change the possession of the ball. 
  • Interceptions can be returned by the defense.   New possession starts from where the interceptor is tagged (flag is pulled), unless the interceptor has scored a touchdown.
  • On Interceptions that occur and remain in the end zone, the ball will become dead and will result in the ball belonging to the intercepting team at its 5-yard line.  (Touchback)
  • Should an interception occur in the end zone and the ball carrier leave the end zone, the ball will belong to the intercepting team at the spot the ball becomes dead. However, should the ball carrier return to the defending end zone and be tagged or the ball become dead the result would be a safety for the other team. 


  • Substitutions may be made only after the play is stopped. 
  • Play is ruled "dead" when an official blows his whistle. 
  • Ball carrier's flag is pulled or becomes illegal. 
  • Points are scored. 
  • When any part of the ball carrier’s body, other than his hand or foot touches the ground.   In other words, if a receiver/interceptor has fallen while in process of running with the ball or after catching the ball, the spot where the ball carrier has fallen starts the new play (unless it’s the last down of the possessing team).
  • If a ball carrier's flag falls off, the play will be whistled dead and the ball will be spotted at the spot where the flag fell off. 
  • Players are ineligible to catch a pass or receive the ball by hand off toss or pitch, if their flag has fallen off. 
  • Fumbles are a dead ball


  • All players who rush the passer must be a minimum of seven yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped. 
  • Any number of players can rush the quarterback. Players not rushing the quarterback may defend on the line of scrimmage. Once the ball is handed off or tossed, or there is a play action fake or fake handoff, the seven-yard rule no longer is in effect and all defenders may go behind the line of scrimmage. A special marker, or a game official, will designate seven yards from the line of scrimmage. 


  • All penalties are 5 yards. The down will be repeated unless otherwise noted, and will be assessed from the line of scrimmage. 
  • All penalties may be declined, except a false start (dead ball foul). 
  • Penalties will not exceed half the distance to the opposing team's goal line from the line of scrimmage. 
  • Game officials determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play. All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage. 
  • Only the team captain and Head Coach may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and interpretations. 
  • Players and Coaches cannot question judgment calls. 
  • Games cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless the offense declines it. 
  • Penalties after an interception shall be assessed after the return is over and/or the play is blown dead. 
  • Flag guarding is prohibited.   The ball carrier cannot prevent a defender from pulling their flags.  The ball carrier maybe warned (at discretion of the refs) and will be penalized if they are found to be flag guarding.
  • Defender cannot prevent an offensive receiver from catching the ball, however, a defender has the right to catch the ball as well as offensive team receiver.  A defender found holding or tackling the receiver before the ball reaches the receiver will be flagged with pass interference and the offensive team will automatically be awarded a new set of downs.
  • QB has 20 seconds in which to get the play off on every down.  A play not in operation by the time the 20 second play clock has expired results in a delay of game and a loss of 5 yards and a loss of down.

10.    RULES NOT COVERED HERE: any areas not covered in this rule sheet, refer to NCAA Football rules. 

Normal workout gear is fine, cleats or runners are allowed, but please no metal studs. Urban Rec will provide all flags and belts. You don’t need flag shorts, though you can use them if you prefer. 

Can be made any number of times throughout the match. However, the game remains continuous and does not stop to allow substitutions. Players coming onto the field must wait until the player they are substituting with has come off the field.

Games consist of 2 by 20 minute halves with the half time break being 2 minutes.  Each team will be granted one timeout each half.  Timeouts will not be carried over into the 2nd half.  If a team chooses not to use their granted timeout in the first half, then they will lose that timeout.  All timeouts are 30 seconds each.  The game clock will be stopped for the duration of the timeout.  Once the team (that called the timeout) is ready or the expiration of the timeout time (whichever comes first), the 20 second game clock restarts and the official game clock is resumed.

The winner is the team with the greater number of points at the end of the game. A draw will be awarded if both teams have an equal amount of points. For the competition ladder, the winning team receives 3 points, 1 point each for drawn game and no points for a loss.

Team has 10 minute grace period to show up for their scheduled game.  If a participating team does not show by the time the 10 minute grace period expires, then that team will have forfeited the game and the team in attendance will be declared a winner by default.

Each league night you will have a referee onsite, but these guys are not official referees. Urban Rec is proud to be the only non-competitive league which practices fair play, meaning you should be making your own calls on the game. The referee will be there to make the calls not made by individuals, keep time, and help guide the games within the game play rules. The Urban Rec Referee has the final say on any issue that cannot be self-resolved.

If you are seen to be rude or not playing within the respect of the rules you will be asked to sub, and warned by one of our Rep’s if after two times you do not show your sportsmanship, you will be asked to leave the field, and an assessment will be m