FOOTBALL RULES Revised 4/2018

Flag Football is a popular game pumped with fun and action. In this game, the offensive team plays for a first down at midfield, and a touchdown in the end zone. Running and passing plays are allowed, although there are “no-running zones” at midfield and near each goal line. The defensive team covers receivers, rushes the passer and grabs flags to make “tackles.”

Check out some sample plays here. Get some coaching tips here. Club Sport Kids uses Kids NFL rules

The Basics:

- Referees are used for all age groups.

- Usually the play is 6v6 or 7v7, unless team size is an issue on game day. Should a team be short players, coaches can agree to play with less players or share players.

- A coin toss determines first possession.

- The offensive team takes possession of the ball at its 5-yard line and has three plays to cross midfield. Once a team crosses midfield, it has three 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.

- 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.

- Interceptions may be returned.

- Teams change sides after the first half. Possession changes to loser of coin toss unless deferred, and the clock does not stop.

- There are no kickoffs, and blocking is NOT allowed.

Attire & Equipment:

Shorts or pants WITHOUT pockets are mandatory to prevent injury. Cleats are allowed and highly recommended. Metal cleats are not allowed and inspections can be made. All players must wear a protective mouthpiece; there are no exceptions.

Players/Game Schedules:

Play is 6v6 (or 7v7 for the older divisions) but can be altered by the coaches if teams are short handed, or to accommodate special conciliations. It is highly encouraged that the coaches play all players equal time. When possible, teams will have no more than 10 on a roster (preferably no more than 8) to facilitate more playing time. Practices are not mandatory. The fields will be set up and ready for practice an hour before games on Saturdays.


It is up to the coach and/or assistants to ensure fair play and that all players get equal playing time. All coaches are volunteers - any abuse of them by parents will not be tolerated.

- 6-8 & 9-11 divisions: 1 coach (max) allowed on field, must try to avoid play.

- 12-14 division:  Coaches are allowed on field ONLY for huddles – must be on sidelines during play. Perhaps huddling closer to the sidelines will help this problem. As the season progresses, make an effort to allow kids to make plays in the huddles with coaches on the sidelines.

-14-16 yr division: No coaches on the field.


two (2) 25-minute halves are played.

Each time the ball is spotted, a team has 30 seconds to snap the ball. Teams will receive one warning before a delay-of-game penalty is enforced. Each team has one 60-second and one 30-second time-out per half. Officials can stop the clock at their discretion.


Club Sport Kids is all about fun! An official score is not kept for games. Should kids and/or parents want to keep track on their own, the following point system can be used:

- Touchdown: 7 points

- Safety: 2 points

Extra points are not used.


The quarterback cannot run with the ball. The offense may use multiple handoffs. “No-running zones” located five yards from each end zone and five yards on either side of midfield are designed to avoid short-yardage, and power-running situations. The player who takes the handoff can throw the ball from behind the line of scrimmage. Once the ball has been handed off, all defensive players are eligible to rush. Spinning is allowed, but players cannot leave their feet to avoid a defensive player (no diving). The ball is spotted where the ball carrier’s feet are 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 behind the line of scrimmage).

Only one player is allowed in motion at a time. A player must have at least one foot inbounds when making a reception.


All passes must be from behind the line of scrimmage, thrown forward and received beyond the line scrimmage. Shovel passes are allowed but must be received beyond the line of scrimmage.  The quarterback has a seven-second “pass clock.” If a pass is not thrown within the seven seconds, play is dead, and results in the loss of down. Once the ball is handed off, the seven-second rule no longer is in effect. Interceptions may be returned.

Dead Balls:

The ball must be snapped between the legs, not off to one side, to start play (exception made for 6-8 yr old division).

Substitutions may be made on any dead ball.

Play is ruled “dead” when:

- Ball carrier’s flag is pulled

- Ball carrier steps out of bounds

- Touchdown or safety is scored

- Ball carrier’s knee hits the ground

*Note: There are no fumbles. The ball is spotted where the ball hits the ground. If the ball carrier’s flag falls out, the ball is dead ONCE THE PLAYER IS TOUCHED by the defense.

Rushing the Quarterback:

All defensive players must be 5 yards off the line of scrimmage at the snap. Rushers must be 7 yards off the line of scrimmage at the snap. Any number of players can rush the quarterback. A special marker, or the referee, will designate five yards from the line of scrimmage. Remember, no blocking or tackling is allowed. The offense cannot impede the rusher in any way. The rusher has the right to a clear path to the quarterback, regardless of where they line up prior to the snap. If the “path or line” is occupied by a moving offensive player, then it is the offense’s responsibility to avoid the rusher. Any disruption to the rusher’s path and/or contact will result in an impeding the rusher penalty. If the offensive player does not move after the snap, then it is the rusher’s responsibility to go around the offensive player and to avoid contact. To allow a proper rushing buffer, anytime a ball is downed within 5 yards of the midline or goal line, the ball will be placed 5 yards out with the defense lining up at the goal line or midline.

For the 6-8 yr old division - the rusher will rush from 10 yards out.


If the field monitor or referee witnesses any acts of tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, blocking or any unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game. FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. Trash talking is illegal (trash talk is talk that may be offensive to officials, opposing players, teams or spectators). Officials have the right to determine offensive language. If trash talking occurs, the referee will give one warning. If it continues, the player or players will be ejected from the game.

All coaches, parents, representatives, etc. share in the responsibility for the success of our league, and for maintaining our reputation as a home of good sportsmanship, character, and class.


Any coaches, parents, or players displaying unsportsmanlike conduct may be asked to leave the playing area for the duration of the game.

Field Diagram:


Defensive Penalties

Offensive Penalties







 Five Yards

 Illegal Motion

(more than one person moving, false start, etc.)

 Five yards and loss of down


 Ten Yards and automatic first down

 Illegal forward pass

(passer beyond line of scrimmage)

 Five yards and loss of down

 Illegal Contact

(holding, blocking, etc.)

 Ten Yards and automatic first down

 Offensive pass interference

(pick play, pushing off)

 Ten yards and loss of down

 Illegal Flag Pull

(before receiver has the ball)

 Ten Yards and automatic first down

 Flag Guarding

 Ten yards and loss of down

 Illegal Rushing

(starting rush from inside 7-yard line)

 Ten Yards and automatic first down

 Delay of game

 Clock stops, Ten yards and loss of down

Referees determine incidental contact that may result from normal run of play. All penalties will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.

Club Sport Kids uses Kids NFL Rules as a guide (view  here), however, we have modified the rules to fit the needs of the players. If you are having difficulty interpreting the rules, please ASK!