Flag Football Rules

We request that captains from both teams gather teammates to the field's center upon the CONCLUSION of the match to pray and give thanks and glory to our Lord for the game played. This is not required for all participants, but highly encouraged.


  •  The field will be 80-yards long with markers every 20-yards and 40-yards wide. The end zones will be 10-yards deep.
  •  Each team may play with a maximum of 7 players. Teams may play with less than 7 players and there are no forfeits based on the number of players. All player combinations are acceptable within the range of 5 men maximum and 1 female minimum on the field at all times. You cannot play without a female.
  •  If a team loses a player due to injury or ejection, the opposing team does not sit a player.
  •  Rosters are capped at 12 players per roster.


  •  There will be 2 paid officials, and 1 volunteer for the down marker. 
  •  The Captain is the only player on a team that can ask for clarity on a rule. He then can go to his team and explain to them.


  •  No pads or braces are allowed above the waist. No casts are allowed.
  •  Each player must wear shoes. Cleats that have metal, ceramic, or sharp points are illegal.
  •  Official t-shirts and flags will be provided. Each flag belt will have 3 flags, 1 on each hip and 1 in the back. The placement of the flags will be strictly enforced. If the flags are not put on properly, there will be a flag (Equipment Violation: 5 yard penalty & replay down)
  •  Shirts must be tucked into pants or shorts, or tucked under the flag belt. The flags may not be covered up by the jersey. Flag may not be tied and must easily be removed when pulled. (Equipment Violation: 5 yard penalty & replay down)


  •  There will be no kickoffs. 
  •  Play will begin with the offensive team starting at their 20 yard line
  •  After scores, play will begin with the offensive team starting at their 20 yard line. 


  •  Touchdown = 6 points (If a female scores or throws for a touchdown 8 points)
  •  After a touchdown, the team that scored may choose to go for 1 point from the 5-yard line, or 2-points from the 10-yard line. 
  •  On a point conversion, if intercepted by the defensive team they may return the football to their endzone for 2-points.
  •  Safety = 2-points (offensive player's flag is removed or steps out of bounds in opponent's endzone). The team that scores a safety will get procession starting at their 20-yard line.


  •  If a team takes a lead of 35 points or more at any time in the game, the Mercy Rule is invoked, the game can be decided by the captains if game should continue.


  •  The game consists of two 20 minute halves.
  •  The clock is continuous except for timeouts. If the score is separated by 10 points or less, the clock will stop for incompletions, out of bounds, point conversions, timeouts, and penalties during the last 2 minutes of the second half (Note: during this period, spiking the ball will not be considered intentional grounding).


  •  Each team is permitted two one-minute timeouts per half. Timeouts do not carry over between halves or into overtime.


  •  Players may substitute freely between downs.


  •  Each team will have an opportunity to score. The ball will be placed on the opponent's 20-yard line. The team will have 4 downs to attempt to score. If a touchdown is scored, the team MUST go for a 2-point conversion from the 10-yard line.
  •  Examples: If both teams score a touchdown or touchdown and 2-point conversion the game results in a tie. If neither team scores, the game results in a tie. If one team out scores the other team then that team wins the game (Exception: During playoffs, this format continues until a winner can be declared).
  •  There is no game clock.
  •  The winner of a coin toss (or rock-paper-scissors) will have the option of first or second possession.


  •  Each team must have a player designated as a center to snap the ball to the quarterback either between the legs or to the side. When the ball is being snapped it must initially be touching the ground and either parallel or in-front of the lead foot. The center may not screen block the opposing team rusher. Once the ball is snapped the center may immediately go out for a pass (NEW THIS YEAR) 
  •  The player receiving the snap must be at least 2 yards behind the scrimmage line. No team may have more than 3 players (including the QB) in the backfield at the start of a play. **Penalty: Illegal Procedure (5 yards from the previous spot) **
  •  No player on offensive team shall make a false start. A false start is any movement simulating the start of the play. **Penalty: Illegal Procedure (5 yards from the previous spot) **
  •  Encroachment - After the snapper has touched the ball, it is encroachment for any player to break the plane of his/her scrimmage line. **Penalty: Encroachment (5 yards from the previous spot) **
  •   All offensive players must be motionless for one second preceding the snap, except for a player moving parallel to or away from the scrimmage line. **Penalty: Illegal Motion (5 yards from the previous spot) **
  •   An offensive player that moves/shifts (other than going legally in motion) must stop for one full second before the snap. **Penalty: Illegal Shift (5 yards from the previous spot)
  •  The player who takes the handoff can throw the ball as long as he does not pass the line of scrimmage.
  •  If a team causes a delay penalty with less than 2 minutes left in the game, the first infraction shall be loss of down and stoppage of the clock. A second delay of game infraction will result in a loss of possession and stoppage of the clock with the change of possession. 
  •  If the defense commits a dead ball foul under 2 minutes left in the game, the first infraction shall be a 5 yard penalty and stoppage of the clock. If the defense commits a second dead ball foul under 2 minutes, the clock will stop and the offense shall have a choice of: 
    •  Ball at their opponent's 3 yard line; repeat down.
    •  Yardage from the penalty; repeat down. 


  • Offensive players are responsible for retrieving the ball after each play. The offense must snap the ball within 30 seconds after the Referee has sounded his/her whistle to start the play clock. **Penalty: Delay of Game (5 yards) **


  •  A forward pass strikes the ground.
  •  A player carrying the ball, drops the ball, whether by contact or not by contact. The ball is considered down at the point at which the ball carrier lost possession of the ball. 
  •  A runner has a flag belt removed by a defensive player. 
  •  A runner is touched with ONE hand once the flag belt is no longer attached. 
  •  A passer's flag is pulled before releasing the ball.
  •  A runner dives or leaps forward to advance the ball. The ball will be declared dead immediately, and the ball will be spotted where the runner left his/her feet.
  •  Any time a referee blows the whistle. Once the whistle is blown, the play is over and the ball is dead.
  •  A player carrying the ball touches the ground with any part of the body other than the feet and/or hands.
  •  Exception: A ball is not dead upon a defensive interception. The return play remains live until the ball carrier is considered down.


  •  A player must have ONE foot inbounds during a reception for the catch to be considered inbounds.


  •  A team has four downs to attempt to score or earn a first down. 
  •  First down lines are clearly marked at the 20-yard lines and 40-yard line. First downs are achieved when the ball crosses those lines. 
  •  The ball does not have to completely cross the line to get a first down. If the nose of the ball is touching the line at any point, the result is a first down.
  •  Each team is allowed ONE running play per four downs. A first down does not reset the running play. You must wait 3 more downs until you can run again. **Penalty: Illegal Run (5 yards, loss of down)**
    • This will reset at the start of each possession
  •  A female must be the intended target, rush, or pass the ball ONCE per four downs. (Latteral passes back to the QB do NOT count) A first down does not reset the female play. After a female play, you then can run 3 more plays before having to throw to a female. If you do not there will be a penalty. **Penalty: Illegal Play (5 yards, loss of down) **
  •  On 4th down, the team has the option to punt the ball. If the line of scrimmage is greater than your own 20-yardline the punt results in the ball being placed on the receiving team's 20 yard line (Just like the start of a normal drive) If you are inside your own 20 yardline the punt will be 40 yards from the line of scrimmage. For example: If you are punting on from your own 15 yardline, the receiving team will start the drive at their 25 yardline. 


  • Screen blocking IS allowed DOWNFIELD. A screen block shall take place WITHOUT CONTACT. The screen blocker shall have his or her hands behind his or her back. Any use of the hands, arms, elbows, legs, or body to initiate contact during a screen block is illegal. A blocker may use his or her hand or arm to break a fall or retain his or her balance. A player must be on his or her feet before, during, and after screen blocking. **Penalty: Illegal Contact (10 yards, from the previous spot) ** 
  • There will be NO screen blocking allowed under these circumstances: 
    • Until a receiver catches a FORWARD PASS
    • If a runner (including QB) is behind the line of scrimmage
    • The center may not screen block the opposing team's rusher
  •  The ball carrier shall NOT guard their flags by blocking with arms, hands, or use of a stiff-arm, thereby denying an opponent the opportunity to pull or remove the flag belt. **Penalty: Illegal Contact (10 yards, spot of foul) **
  •  Defensive players may NOT grasp and hold on to the jersey and/or the shorts of the ball carrier in an attempt to stop or slow the ball carrier down.-**Penalty: Defensive Holding (10 yards, from spot of foul) **


  •  A fumble is not a live ball. The ball is considered dead where the ball carrier lost possession of the ball. 
  •  A backwards pass that is not caught, is not a live ball. The ball is considered dead where the ball first touches the ground. 
  •  Any attempt to strip the ball from the runner will result in a penalty. **Penalty: Illegal Strip (10 yards, from the spot of the foul) ** 


  •  Any player may hand the ball backward to another player on their team at any time. 
  •  If the ball is handed off and that person's flags get pulled it counts as a run play, even if they were attempting to throw the ball.


  •  All players are eligible to touch or catch a pass. Only one forward pass per down. 
  •  On defense, whoever is rushing the QB must start 7 yards off the line of scrimmage. The rusher can rush the QB as soon as the ball is snapped as long as he/she starts 7 yards off the line of scrimmage. 
  •  If the defense chooses not to rush, the QB will have 5 seconds to either throw the ball or run (using their running play)
  •  Only one player may rush and cross the line of scrimmage during a pass play. ** Penalty: Illegal Procedure (5 yards, replay down) **
  •  The passer's foot is beyond the scrimmage line when the ball leaves his/her hand. ** Penalty: Illegal Forward Pass (5 yards, replay down) **
  •  If intentionally grounded to save loss of yardage. ** Penalty: Intentional Grounding (5 yards, and loss of down) **
  •  If a passer catches his/her untouched forward or backward pass. ** Penalty: Illegal Forward Pass (5 yards, loss of down) **
  •  Second forward pass in that down -**Penalty: Illegal Forward Pass (5 yards, loss of down) ** 
  •  After a legal forward pass, Offensive Pass Interference is not allowed. Offensive Pass Interference is contact by the offensive player with the defender at any time before the ball is caught (intercepted). -Penalty: Offensive Pass Interference (10 yards, from the previous spot, loss of down) **
  •  After a legal forward pass, Defensive Pass Interference is not allowed. Defensive Pass Interference occurs when the defender contacts the offensive player before the ball is caught.  **Penalty: Defensive Pass Interference (Automatic first down, at the spot of the penalty) **Face guarding is allowed as long as contact is not made with the receiver.
  •  If opposing players catch a pass simultaneously, the ball becomes dead, is considered a completed pass, and belongs to the offensive team.

UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT ** Penalty: Unsportsmanlike Conduct (15 yards) **  

  •  Referees may disqualify any participant (players and/or substitutes) for any personal foul they deem to be a flagrant offense.
  •  Referees are only to be talked to by Captains of the football teams. 
    • Excessive contact: If the official feels the intent was to harm the opposing player they will be ejected
    • Unintentional Excessive contact: Player will remain in the game but still receive a 15 yard penalty
    • Any players that RAISE their voice to the referee
    •  Spiking, kicking, or throwing the ball unnecessarily
    •  Illegal Contact: Using a fist, foot, knee, or leg to contact an opponent with excessive intent
    •  Tackling the ball carrier (automatic player disqualification) 
    •  Unnecessary Roughness 
    •  Roughing the Passer (when the defender contacts the passer's arm during the throw) 
    •  Tampering with the flag belt in any way to gain an advantage including tying, using foreign materials, or other such acts.
    •  Foul language including: threatening, swearing, taunting, yelling, etc. 
    •  One or more unsportsmanlike penalties OR fighting may result in removal from the series, game ejection, or suspension for the remainder of the season per the discretion of the referees and/or Red Rocks Sport Ministry.


An official can make the judgement that a player needs to be set down for a cool off period. This will be if a player has committed a personal foul, multiple personal fouls, or is taunting or arguing with the other team or officials. If the actions continue they will be ejected. Officials can also make a judgement of ejecting a player without a cool off period if they feel necessary. 


All Rules and regulations are derived from the 2004-2005 NIRSA Flag and Touch Football Rules Book. Modifications have been made to suit the Red Rocks Flag Football League. For any questions or clarifications, please contact Curt Morris at  curt@redrockschurch.com.


5 Yard Penalties

Too Many Players, Illegal Procedure, Encroachment, Illegal Motion, Illegal Shift, Delay of Game, Illegal Timeout, Illegal Run, Illegal Play, Illegal Procedure, Illegal Forward Pass, Intentional Grounding, 

10 Yard Penalties

Illegal Forward Pass, Offensive Pass Interference, Illegal Contact, Defensive Holding, Illegal Strip, 

15 Yard Penalties

Unsportsmanlike Conduct
(See rules section for list) Let Red Rocks Staff know of any personal foul deemed to be a flagrant offense.

Defensive Pass Interference

Spot Foul & automatic 1st down