The official The Field Sports rulebook contains all current rules governing the playing of flag football that are in effect for the 2023/2024 tournament season. Affiliated and sanctioned leagues and tournaments may amend the rules from time to time to regional preferences where appropriate

The use of the word “illegal” in this rulebook applies only to situations that violate our flag football rules, and are not meant to denote illegality under any public law or regulations enforced by another organization.

The use of the word “flagrant” when described as an action by a player or participant, indicates an intentional violation of the rules deemed an excessive, avoidable and gratuitous act in the judgement of the official or officials, and does not necessarily imply malice on the part of the offending player or declare any intent other than perceived result.

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The following 5v5 non-contact flag football rules for men and women are USA Flag approved.

Read through the General Rules first, as they apply to every style we offer, then also make sure and check out the style-specific rules below that are unique to this format.



Article 1. Standard dimensions of the field are 60 yards long by 25 yards wide with 7 yard endzones. Approved field sizes may fluctuate from 53-64 yards long when necessary, or 23-30 yards wide. Endzones should not be shorter than 5 yards.


Article 1. Game Time is FORFEIT TIME – upon approval by a USA Flag director. Guaranteed schedule blocks in scenarios where fields may be behind are the only exception, where teams will be given reasonable time to get to their next games at the discretion of the USA Flag directors.

Article 2. Minimum 3 players to start a game. May only have up to 5 players on the field at any one time.

Article 3. A coin toss determines 1st possession. The winner can elect to have offense/defense, defer or direction. The loser can select the next option, followed by the winner selecting the final option. 1st choice in the 2nd half will be awarded to team who deferred or loser of coinflip if no defer.

Article 4. The offensive team takes possession of the ball at their 5-yard line and has three plays to cross mid-field. Once a team crosses mid-field they have three plays to score. If the offensive team fails to cross mid-field, the ball changes possession. If the offense does not score, the ball changes possession. All drives start from the 5-yard line with the exception of an interception.

Article 5. No blocking is allowed. No intentional contact is allowed.


Article 1. Teams also must have the same color shirts and have an alternative color (one dark color/one light color). They do not have to be official uniforms. If both teams are wearing the same color, there will be a coin toss, and the losing team will need to change into a different color. Failure to provide a secondary uniform or unwillingness to change will result in a forfeit.


Article 1. Tournament clock is 25 minutes long. Two 12 minute halves and 1-minute halftime.

Article 2. Each team has two 30 second timeouts PER GAME. If a time out is called after a TD the clock will not run until the change of possession and the offense snaps their ball.

Article 3. The play clock is 25 seconds from the end of the previous play.


Article 1. The clock will run continuously during the 12 minutes of the first half unless a team timeout is used or play is stopped by an official (e.g. deal with an injury, challenge, referee conference, game management purposes, etc.)

Article 2. The head official will give a verbal two-minute warning (for rule specific changes inside 2 minutes)

Article 3. The clock will run during point-after-touchdown attempts (PATs) in the first half unless either team opts to use a team timeout.


Article 1. In the second half the clock will run continuously for the first 11 minutes unless a team timeout or an official’s time out is used.

Article 2. The one-minute warning will stop the clock in the second half if the score difference is 8 points or less.

Article 3. The head official will give a verbal two-minute (for rule specific changes) and one-minute warning as close as possible to the actual marks but will not interrupt a live play.

Article 4. At the one minute warning officials will use a ‘stop’ clock mechanic for the remainder of the contest.



Article 1. The quarterback may not run unless the ball has been thrown back, handed or pitched to him or her in the backfield.

Article 2. Teams may handoff (unlimited), pitch, or throw back in the backfield. UNLIMITED laterals or throwbacks behind the LOS are allowed for the player to remain eligible to pass.

Article 3. Pitching (backwards/laterally) is allowed downfield (unlimited). Handoffs are allowed forward or backwards when behind the line of scrimage, and only backwards beyond the line of scrimage. A handoff DOES NOT count as a lateral/throwback.

Article 4. A forward pass DOES NOT have to cross the LOS to be a legal play.

Article 5. If the ball is placed on the “Back” of ANY player, the player MUST run the ball (no give and go to the QB on the back)

Article 6. No run zones are located 5 yards before mid-field and 5-yards before the end zone.  You may not run the ball in the no run zone (5-yards before the first down and end zone), only forward passes are allowed to advance the ball past the line of scrimmage. Laterals and handoffs are still allowed.

Article 7. Ball is spotted where the ball is at the time of the flag pull. The ball must break the plane of the midfield or goal line to be considered a first down or touchdown.

Article 8. Players may NOT block down field in any form.


Article 1. The quarterback has 5 seconds to pass the ball if there is no rush. If the ball is not thrown, then the play is dead. After the ball is ruled dead it is returned to the line of scrimmage.

Article 2. Once the ball is handed off or pitched backwards the 5 second count stops. If the defensive team rushes, then there is no 5 second count.

Article 3. There is no arm in motion, if the ball is in hand when the quarterback’s flag is pulled then it will be ruled a sack.

Article 4. Interceptions may be returned.

Article 5. The rusher may not have any contact with the QB (no hitting the QB arm or knocking the ball out of the QB hand).

Article 6. If ANY part of the players body is behind the LOS it is a legal pass


Article 1. All players are eligible to receive a pass, including the quarterback, if the ball has been pitched or handed off in the backfield.

Article 2. Players must have at least one foot in bounds when making a catch.



Article 1. Players that blitz/rush the quarterback must be a minimum of 7 yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.

Article 2. The 7 yards will be measured off by a referee.

Article 3. Players that are not 7 yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped may not enter into the backfield until there is a change of possession.

Article 4. The blitzer/rusher is allowed a direct lane to the line of scrimmage as long as he or she rushes from either side of the center or outside the bunch formation. The offense must avoid interfering with the rusher if he or she has established a lane. Officials will announce LANE or NO LANE for rushers/blitzers prior to the snap. This is a judgement call/decision based on the spacing between the players in the offensive formation. A space of 12″ or greater in length between two players constitutes a lane at the officials discretion.

Article 5. The rush of a blitzer has to be immediately after the snap, quick and straight towards the point where the quarterback receives the snap in order to retain the right of way. If a blitzer is rushing late, slowly, aiming at another spot, changing direction during the rush or just does not rush the quarterback, the player loses the right of way but still can participate as any other defensive player.


Article 1. Contacting receivers is not allowed

Article 2. Pass interference normally occurs above the waist; entangled feet are not considered pass interference. Incidental contact is not considered pass interference.

Article 3. A player may “find” their opponent by reaching out and placing a hand on them as long as touching does not delay, impede, twist, or turn their opponent.  This is not considered pass interference.

Article 4. A player may use their arms or hands to intentionally obstruct the receiver’s view (face guarding) of the ball without turning their own head to play the ball as long as noteworthy contact is not made with the receiver.

Article 5. If defensive pass interference occurs in the end zone the ball will be placed on the one-yard line, automatic first down.

Article 6. Interceptions may be returned. Interceptions in the end zone that are not returned to the field of play will result in a touchback and the ball will be spotted on the 5-yard line.

Article 7. Contact away from the direction of the pass is not considered pass interference but may be considered illegal contact.

Article 8. Whether a pass is catchable or uncatchable has no bearing on pass interference. The benefit of the doubt is given to the receiver. Examples of pass interference include:

  • Shoving or pushing off to create separation.
  • Playing through the back.
  • Hook and turn: grabbing the torso and turning an opponent before the pass arrives.
  • Arm bars, hooking, restricting, grabbing wrists, or turning a receiver.
  • Blocking downfield before the ball has been touched, commonly seen through “pick plays”.



  • Touchdown: 6 points
  • Point After Touchdown:
    • (PAT) 1 point from the 5-yard line (no-run zone in effect)
    • 2 points from the 12-yard line, run, pass (outside of no-run zone)
    • Interceptions returned on PAT’s are worth 2 points
  • Safety: 2 points


Article 1. Following a touchdown, once the scoring team has informed an official of which point conversion choice they want to attempt, the decision cannot be changed unless the scoring team uses a team timeout.

Article 2. If a penalty occurs during an extra point attempt, the penalty will be assessed but the extra point value remains the same.

Article 3. Decisions cannot be changed after a penalty. For example, if the offense attempts a 1-point PAT and is penalized five yards for a false start, they cannot change their mind and go for a 2-point PAT. They will still be attempting a 1-point try even if they call a timeout.

Article 4. Defensive unsportsmanlike conduct, personal fouls, or roughing penalties during a successful touchdown attempt will be assessed at half the distance to the goal during the PAT attempt (e.g., 2-point PAT attempts will be spotted at the 6-yard line, 1-point PAT attempts will be spotted at the 2.5-yard line). All other defensive penalties may be declined by the offense and the score will stand.

Article 5. Dead ball fouls committed by the offense that do not carry a loss-of-down penalty (false start) may result in penalty yardage assessed and the down replayed.

Article 6. Fouls by the offense during a successful PAT attempt that carry a loss-of-down penalty (flag guarding, illegal advancement, illegal forward pass, etc.) will result in the PAT being no good.

Article 7. Fouls committed by the offense in unsuccessful PAT attempts will be declined by the defense and the PAT will be “no good” and will not be replayed.
Article 8. Fouls by the defense during an unsuccessful PAT attempt will result in a retry after the options are administered.

Article 9. If the PAT-attempting team throws an interception and then commits a flagrant foul after the interception during the attempted return (physically contains the ball carrier; bear hugs, aggressively holds, tackles, etc. without making a clear, legal attempt to pull the ball carrier’s flag, the ball carrier will be awarded two points.


Article 1. A coin flip determines first possession, 1 timeout per OT period

Article 2. Teams will go in reverse order if more then 1 OT is required

Article 3. Teams can elect to go for 1 or 2 points

Article 4. Winner will be determined once the value of the extra point exceeds the other team’s attempt.


Article 1. No Mercy Rule during pool play games.  If a team is up by 28 points or more during bracket play at any time, the game will be over.


Article 1. All penalties inside of 2 minutes of BOTH halves remain the same except:

  • Defensive delay of game (+ 15 yards Unsportsmanlike & 1st Down)
  • Leading Team – Offensive delay of game (LOD + clock stops)
  • Offensive Pre-snap penalties – yardage + LOD


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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.