Adult Flag Football Rules

REVISION FEB 2017


1. The Ball:

The Virginia Beach Field House will provide all game balls UNLESS, both teams agree to play with a different game ball. If teams cannot agree, the Virginia Beach Field House ball will be used.

2. Postponed / Rescheduled Matches:

The Field House will make every effort to contact coaches and players if the games are postponed. We will only close in cases of the severest weather to protect the safety of our guests. Such closings will be announced on our website and teams for the night will be notified. Games cancelled due to weather and other various reasons will be rescheduled at the Sports Director’s discretion.

3. Players:

a. ALL players must be 18 years of age or older to play in the adult league. Any team found to have used an underage player during a game will result in forfeit.

b. A game is played with no more than 7 players on the field at a time

c. 5 players are required to start a game.

d. Prior to the week 4 game all teams must have a minimum of 7 players on the team roster and paid in full, in order to be eligible for Playoffs.

e. In the event that a player gets injured or ejected from the game whose team started the game with 5 players the game may be completed with fewer than 5 players. The requirements for having 4 players on the line of scrimmage are therefore waived (rule 9.1).  The team that has less than 5 players SHALL have as many players as possible on the line of scrimmage to create a pocket (rule 9.j).  Example: team (a) only has 4 players than that team SHALL have 3 players on the line of scrimmage which creates a pocket.  In addition, if team (b) only has 3 players than that team SHALL have 2 players on the line of scrimmage which creates a pocket.  The requirement for the defense having 2 players on the line of scrimmage is still in effect and these are STILL the only two players eligible to rush the quarterback, UNLESS the quarterback leaves the POCKET, then any number of players can rush the quarterback.

f. A team has five minutes past the start of game time to field their 5 players. Failure to do so results in a forfeit. After a forfeit is declared a game may be played on a pickup basis between the teams and any other players that may be picked up free of charge (officials will NOT be used).

g. Unlimited substitutions are permitted as long as all substitutes report to the officials, and there is no delay of game.

h. Only one player is designated as the captain or coach. This is the only player that may have a discussion with the officials on the interpretation of any rule.

i. All players must be listed on the roster. Players MUST check in with the Virginia Beach Field House staff or the referee for that game. Failure to do so is considered using an illegal player and will result in an automatic forfeit of that game.

j. To be eligible for the playoffs all players must be paid in full prior to their 4th game of the season.

k. Injured players may be replaced during the regular season at the Directors discretion. A replacement player is not permitted for post season play.

l. Teams playing with players who have not checked in are subject to forfeit that game.

m. Once a player participates with a team he/she may not change to a team within the same league/division.

n. Players can play on teams in other leagues within the Virginia Beach Field House.

o. Only team members shall be permitted on the respective team benches in the player’s box during games. No other members shall be present.

4. Player Equipment:

a. All players must wear shoes and are able to wear molded rubber cleats, however the following styles of cleats are NOT permitted: Screw In cleats; Metal cleats of any sort. NO EXCEPTIONS.

b. All players will wear the official flag belt with the flags attached in the proper locations. Contrasting flags are furnished by the league. Outside flags of different lengths are not permitted unless approved by the Virginia Beach Field House staff. Each player must wear pants or shorts without any belts, belt loops, pockets, or exposed drawstrings.

c. Team jersey must be similar in color. Every player must bring both a light and a dark jersey; home team will be required to change color or wear a pinnie if colors are too similar.

d. Shirts must be tucked inside your pants and in no way cover or protect the flags.

e. The Field House may provide pinnies ONLY if they are available.

5. Forfeits:

a. Any team that forfeits 2 games during the season may be dropped from the league at the director’s discretion.

b. There will be no refunds or reimbursements of league fee to any team that forfeits out of the league or to any player that is suspended.

c. Forfeits are scored 21-0.

6. Illegal Equipment:

a. Headgear containing any hard, unyielding or stiff material, including billed hats or head gear that is not recognized as athletic head gear.

b. Jewelry of any kind.

c. Shorts with pockets. Turning the shorts inside out is NOT permitted.

d. Pads or braces worn above the waist.

e. Shoes with metal, ceramic, screw-in, or detachable cleats.

f. Shirts or jerseys which do not remain tucked in. Any hood on a coat, sweatshirt, or shirt is not permitted.

g. Leg and knee braces made of hard, unyielding material, unless covered on both sides and all edges unexposed. Any other hard substance should be covered with at least ½ inch of closed cell slow recovery rubber or other materials of a similar thickness and physical properties.

h. Any team found wearing illegal equipment will be penalized 3 yards. The second warning will result in a forfeit.

7. Possession:

a. Possession of the ball will be determined by a coin flip at the beginning of each game. The home team is listed on the left side of the schedule. The visiting team will make the call during the coin toss. The winner of the coin toss can elect to receive (play offense) or defend (play defense). The team that receives the ball in the first half will play defense in the second half or the team that plays defense in the first half will receive the ball in the second half.

8. Game Clock:

a. Games will be two 20 minute halves with a 2 minute half time. Game times may be shortened to stay on schedule.

b. Please assist us by arriving early for your game so that the games can start as scheduled.

c. A team is allowed 2 time-outs that can ONLY be used during the second half (time outs are 30 seconds each). The clock will stop during all timeouts used in the 2nd half.

d. The game is played under a running clock: there are no stoppages for change of possession, incomplete passes, etc. The following exception applies – under 1 (one) minute remaining in the 2nd half only, the clock will stop on incomplete passes, penalties, and first downs.

e. The following exceptions applies ***Regulation Clock during final (1) minute of the game (2nd half only). ***During the regulation clock, the clock will stop only on dead balls. A dead ball only consists of incomplete passes, when a player steps out of bounds, (hitting or touching the glass) a penalty or a change of possession. The clock will also stop when first downs are achieved (after the referee sets the ball for play - the clock will start). The clock will not stop if there is a 21+ point lead, even during time outs.

f. If the difference in score between the two teams is 21 points or greater, we will play a running clock including during time outs.

g. The clock will also stop in the case of an injured player. Faking an injury for any reason is an unsporting act. ANY player who fakes an injury for the sole purpose of deceiving the referee will be penalized 15 yards and will be required to sit out for 1 down.

9. Game Play:

a. At the start of the game or after a touchdown the offensive team will start with the ball on the 5 yard line (top of the soccer arc). Teams will change sides after half time.

b. Line of Scrimmage:

     1. On offense, you must have a minimum 4 players on the line of scrimmage except           in a situation outlined in rule (3e).

     2. On defense you must start with 2 players on the line.

c. Players may advance the ball by either running (advancing) the ball forward, lateraling to a teammate or by the quarterback passing to a teammate who is behind or beyond the line of scrimmage.

d. To make a first down, the ball must be advanced to or beyond mid field, regardless of where the series originated. You have 4 downs to cross midfield. EXCEPTION: In cases of a penalty that moves the ball back beyond mid field, the segment for a first down is from the original spot marked. If the spot of the foul is behind the 1st down and penalty brings the line of scrimmage behind midfield, 1st down should be awarded, but the line to gain should be the goal line, (1st and Goal).

e. The ball must be hiked between the legs to the quarterback. The center may not run with the ball, but is eligible for a pass.

f. All players are eligible to receive passes.

g. A pass receiver may receive and advance the ball or a defensive player may intercept a ball even though his or her flags have dropped off. A ball carrier that loses his/her flags while carrying the ball must be tagged with one hand anywhere on the body between the shoulder and knees, including the hand and arm. It is at the sole discretion and judgement of the official, if a player is tagged or is deemed to have his/her flags out of position, i.e., not placed above the shirt on both hips, the player may be downed by a one hand tag as above. If the flags are knocked out of position by the defense during the down, the one hand touch rule is waived.

h. The ball carrier is down at the spot where the “tackler” pulls off his/her flag. Tacklers should hold up the flag as soon as it is pulled off. For first downs and touchdowns, the ball carrier’s hips with ALL FLAGS attached must cross the line. (Unless flag has fallen off per rule above).

i. The ball carrier must run to avoid tacklers, not over/through them. The ball carrier may not stiff-arm an opponent. The runner may, however, attempt to maneuver between or around tacklers when trapped along the sidelines but, cannot leave their feet (more clearly ‘Hurdle’) to avoid a defensive player. Juking, spinning and other natural running motions are permitted.

j. The defensive team must have two (no more, no less) players anywhere on the line of scrimmage.  These are the only two players eligible to rush the quarterback.  The rushers may move laterally but not forward or backwards during the count prior to the snap.  Once the quarterback leaves the pocket (defined by the three offensive blockers who must line up as guards or blockers to the left or right of the center which creates the pocket) Note: except in the case of rule (3e), any defensive player may rush.  Any defensive player can rush once the ball is handed off behind the line of scrimmage or whenever the ball leaves the quarterback hands while he/she is still behind the line of scrimmage (example; a pitch, pass or lateral behind the line of scrimmage).  There are NO 3 point stances. Both lines must assume a two-point stance.  The offensive lineman may not move once they have taken their set positions for one full second before the snap.

k. If the ball carrier or passer falls to the ground, he is down at that spot, and may not resume the play.

l. After a play is whistled dead and the official sets the ball for play and blows the whistle, a team has 30 seconds to get the next play off. It is the responsibility of the offense to get the ball back to the line of scrimmage. If the defense interferes with the return of the ball to the line of scrimmage, the official may penalize the defense for delay of game.

m. A fourth down incomplete pass or run that fails to get a first down or touchdown will be turned over to the defense at the original line of scrimmage.

n. There will be no kickoff following a score. The ball will be placed on the 5-yard line.

10. No Contact down field:

a. Illegal Contact - Down Field: If the illegal contact occurs during play when the offense is advancing the ball the penalty will be a mark off 5 yards from the point where the ball carrier is at the time of the infraction. If this occurs during a pass play when the pass is incomplete, the penalty will be marked off 5 yards from the line of scrimmage.

11. Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Game Play Behavior & Suspensions:

a. Spitting on the field will result in a 15 yard penalty and loss of down or automatic 1st down for the opposing team. The second infraction will result in ejection.

b. A 15 yard penalty will be assessed to any player/coach using profanity and can be subject to ejection from the game.

c. Any player/coach who is guilty of fighting, physically confronting an official, threatening other players or officials, and/or flagrantly attempting to injure another player will be suspended from the league, for a period of time determined by the Director of the League. Shoving another player is unsportsmanlike behavior and is subject to ejection.

d. If a player is suspended for any other unsportsmanlike reason other than those listed above, he/she will be suspended for the remainder of that game and is subject to additional game suspension.

e. All suspensions are facility suspensions. If you are removed from a game you must exit the facility immediately. During this period of his/her suspension, the Virginia Beach Field House will determine and notify the appropriate coaches concerning whether or not person(s) involved will be allowed to return for the remainder of the season. In the event a player deviates from this ruling, it will constitute a forfeit and the team not at fault will receive credit for a win.

f. A player that is suspended 2 times during a season will be suspended for at least 8 weeks. (*Removing Rule F*)

g. The Virginia Beach Field House will determine whether a suspended player may return.

h. If a player is ejected, he/she will be required to leave the field area and the facility for the rest of the day. Failure to leave the field will result in his team forfeiting the rest of the game.

i. The official has absolute charge of the game. His/her decision will be final, and are not to be disputed by any member of either team. The official rules on all situations not specifically covered in these rules.

12. Challenge Rules:

a. There are no challenges to the officials ruling on the field. Teams may email the Virginia Beach Field House (www.beachfieldhouse.com) if they feel the referee has not performed his/her responsibilities fairly or adequately. Virginia Beach Field House staff will review these reports and take any action if necessary.

13. Rushing / Blocking:

a. Defensive rushers MUST attempt to run around OFFENSIVE players, not through them. Players may not leave their feet to block an opponent. However, defensive players may dive for a flag.

b. There will be no down field blocking on any play.

c. Defensive players must attempt to avoid offensive players while going for the ball carrier’s flag.

d. Offense and defensive players must run to avoid each other, not run over or through each other.

e. Defensive players may not “jam” receivers on the line of scrimmage.

14. Passes / Laterals:

a. Balls that hit the walls or ground at any time are considered dead balls EXCEPT: on declared punts (which shall be a thrown ball). You may not trap the ball against the wall when receiving a pass.

b. The ball may be passed forward more than once BEHIND the line of scrimmage.

c. The ball may be passed backward or laterally as many times as desired on any one play until the ball is whistled dead.

d. An offensive player may run through (across) the line of scrimmage, then run back behind the line of scrimmage and throw a forward pass.

15. Rushing the Passer:

a. The passer may be rushed, but no body contact is allowed.

b. You may jump to block a pass; you cannot follow through and make contact with the quarterbacks arm.

c. You may not slap or hit the ball out of the hands of the quarterback.

d. Contact with the passer will be determined by the officials.

16. Off-sides:

a. If an offensive or defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage prior to the snap of the ball the play will be whistled dead and the infraction will be penalized.

17. Fumbles:

a. All fumbles are considered a dead ball. It is dead at the point it touches the ground.

b. The defensive team may not recover or advance a fumble.

c. A ball fumbled into the air is called an “air fumble” and may be intercepted and advanced by a defensive or offensive player.

d. You may not slap, strip, or hit the ball out of the hands of a runner or a pass receiver who has already established possession. This will be called impeding the runner. If a runner is in the clear with no one between them and the end zone when this occurs, the official will call a touchdown.

18. Punting:

a. When punting, the team that is punting must THROW (not kick) the ball down the field to the opposite team. ALL PUNTS MUST BE A THROW.

b. The ball is considered LIVE until the kicking team touches, the ball becomes motionless, or if the receiving team mishandles the punt and the ball touches the turf. It may hit the wall or netting of the field or the ceiling before it is touched by the receiving team.

c. The offensive team may punt on any down after announcing the kick before the down starts. Once a punt is announced the only way that the team can change out of a punt is by using a timeout. If a penalty is called the team must still punt the ball unless a timeout is used.

d. After such an announcement, the throw must be made, and neither team may cross the line of scrimmage until after the punt.

e. The throw must be made within the 30 second play clock. At least one defensive lineman must remain at the line of scrimmage until after the kick (throw) is made.

f. A dropped punt will be called a fumble and result in a dead ball at the spot that it hits the turf. If this occurs in the end zone the ball will be placed at the 5 yard line (a touchback). The ball will be placed at the top of soccer arc.

19. Administration of Penalties:

a. The offense and defense has the option to accept or decline penalties as long as the penalty does not occur during a dead ball or it is not a personal foul.

20. 15 Yard Penalties: (refer to rule 19a).

a. Offensive pass interference – 15 yards from the original line of scrimmage and loss of down.

b. Defensive pass interference – 15 yards from the original line of scrimmage, and an automatic first down.

c. Defensive pass interference in end zone – Ball given to the offensive team on the 1-yard line, and an automatic 1st down.

d. Tackling - If a defensive player tackles the ball carrier, the penalty will be assessed from the point of the infraction. If a defensive player tackles an offensive player who is not carrying the ball and the offense has gained positive yards, the penalty will be assessed from the end of the run/pass. If an offensive player tackles a defensive player the penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage unless the infraction occurred behind the line of scrimmage in which the penalty will be assessed from the point of the infraction.

e. Roughing the passer – Assessed from the line of scrimmage. Once the quarterback has crossed the line of scrimmage he/she now becomes a runner and if roughing occurs this will be considered a personal foul and will be assessed from the point of the infraction.

f. Boarding (pushing another player into the wall) – If committed by the defense the penalty will be assessed at the end of the run. If committed by the offense the penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.

g. If the ball carrier is tackled, shoved or knocked into the wall when it is clear that the defensive player committed this act to keep the offensive player from scoring a touchdown, the offending team may be penalized half the distance to the goal. If a runner is in the clear with no one between them and the end zone when this occurs, the official will call a touchdown.

h. Severe unsportsmanlike conduct / cursing - 15 yards will be assessed according to the outcome of the play. Example: offense runs the ball from there 5 yard line to the defense 5 yard line and while the ball carrier is running the ball the offensive player tackles a defensive player or uses foul language against a player or the official then the penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage. However, if the defense commits the same act the penalty will be assessed from the end of the run.

i. Intentional or flagrant foul - 15 yards will be assessed according to the outcome of the play as in the example in rule 20h.

j. Fighting - 15 yards will be assessed according to the outcome of the play as in the example in rule 20h.

21. Five Yard Penalties: (refer to rule 19a). All five yard penalties will be assessed according to the outcome of the play as outlined in the example of rule 20i.

a. Illegal use of hand, forearms or elbows - penalty will be assessed according to the outcome of the play as outlined in the example of rule 20h.

b. Offensive Holding – If offensive holding occurs behind the line of scrimmage the penalty will be assessed from the point of infraction. If offensive holding occurs down the field the penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.

c. Defensive Holding – if defensive holding occurs behind the line of scrimmage the penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage. If defensive holding occurs down field the penalty will be assessed from the end of the run/pass.

d. Shielding or blocking a flag – (point of infraction).

e. Leaving feet on a block – If an offensive players leaves their feet to block a defensive player behind the line of scrimmage, the penalty will be assessed from the point of the infraction. If the infraction occurs at the line of scrimmage, the penalty will be assess from the line of scrimmage. There should be NO down field blocking. However, if this infraction occurs by the defense, the penalty will be assessed from the end of the run/pass. If this penalty occurs by the offense, the penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.

f. Stiff-arm, wedge blocking, clipping – (penalty will be assessed the same as in rule 21d.)

g. Impeding the runner – point of infraction

h. – Offensive diving – point of infraction

22. Three Yard Penalties:

a. Offside.

b. Delay of Game – Any team that purposely delays the game in an attempt to run the clock out at the end of the game, the official will stop the clock and the offense or defense will be given a delay of game warning. The second infraction will result in a 15 yard penalty, stoppage of the clock and a loss of down.

c. Illegal procedure.

d. Intentional grounding – point of infraction and loss of down.

e. Illegal passes.

f. Illegal stance.

g. Intentional forward fumble – point of infraction and loss of down.

h. Illegal flag, illegal equipment or uniform.

23. Scoring:

a. Touchdown = 6 points. Touchdowns are scored when a team passes or runs the ball across the opposing team’s goal line.

b. Point after Attempts: The offensive team decides if the ball will be placed on either the top of the soccer arc or from the RED line.

c. PAT Pass/Run/Kick from the top of soccer arc = 1. If the ball is run or passed in from the soccer arc, it is worth 1 point.

d. PAT Pass/Run from the red line = 2points. If the ball is run or passed in from the red line, it is worth 2 points.

e. Safety = 2 points. A safety occurs when the defensive player tackles (pulls his/her flag) an offensive player in his/her own end zone. The defense is awarded the ball at their own 5 yard line.

f. If the PAT kick hits the goal post (yellow tape), the kick is considered NO GOOD. No part of the ball can hit the goal posts. However, if the ball hits the top of the net and travels through the goal post (yellow tape) the kick will be considered GOOD. Defensive players may jump to block the kick, but they may not cross the line of scrimmage during the play.

g. Field Goal = 3 points. Field Goals may be attempted from anywhere on the field. The kick must be placed on the ground. The ball must be snapped between the legs to the holder either by direct snap or from the shotgun position and the holder can walk back and spot the ball as far back from the line of scrimmage as desired. In the event of a missed Field Goal, the ball will be spotted from the original line of scrimmage. Defensive players may jump to block the kick, but they may not cross the line of scrimmage during the process. Kickers must kick the ball within the 30 second play clock. As with passes, the ball is declared dead on field goals when it strikes the ceiling, nets, boards, turf or any other building structure. In the event that the offense attempts a Field Goal and the try is unsuccessful, and the ball does not touch any part of the ground, wall or net then the defense is eligible to return the kick.

h. Returned FG attempt = 6 points, must not have touched ground, wall or net.

i. Returned intercepted PAT = 1 or 2, depending on what the offense is going for

24. Tie Game:

a. Regular season games may end in a tie.

b. In the playoffs if the game is tied at the conclusion of the second half there will be a overtime period.  The two captains will be brought to the center of the field for a coin flip. The winner of the coin flip will decide either to be on offense/defense or which end of the field to use. The ball will be placed on the red line and the team on offense will have 4 attempts to score a touchdown. If a touchdown is scored then the scoring team will attempt a 1 or 2 extra point. After the extra point attempt, the opposing team will have the same opportunity to score to tie or win the game. After the 1st OT, the process is repeated with two exceptions. Each team will have only 3 downs to score and both teams must go for 2 on the PAT after the touchdown. Teams can elect to kick a Field Goal at anytime in the extra period. (Note: No time will be placed on the game clock).

25. Seasons/ Standings:

a. Each team will be scheduled for 7 regular season games and 1 post-season game. Depending league size, each team may not play all other teams in the league.

b. Playoff seeding is determined by:

c. Overall record

d. Head to head competition

e. Points against

f. Points scored/conceded differential