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Flag Football Rules & Regulations    

Flag Football Rules

Section 1. The Game

The game will be played with six (6) players from each team on the field. The game will consist of two 20-minute halves with a continous running clock. The only reason the clock will stop in the first half or second half is for a timeout or injury. Mercy Clock, will come into effect when a team is down by 17 or more points. Meaning, that the clock will continue to run during the last two minutes. The winning team may not call a timeout, but the losing team will be awarded it's timeouts if they choose to use them. Each team will be allowed 1 timeout per half, or you may defer first half timeout for a maximum of 2 timeouts in the second half. Each timeout will last for a 1 minute. During regular season play there will be no overtime, each team will be awarded 1 point on their standings for a tie. During playoffs, there will be overtime to determine a winner. A coin toss called by the away team will determine who gets the ball first. During the playoffs, each team will get one possession to score. If both teams fail to score, each team will then get a possesion from mid-field. If both teams again fail to score, the winner will be determined by yardage gained.

Tie Breakers for playoff seeding are: Head to Head, Points For, Points Against, then Common Opponent.

Section 1 – ISSO House Rules

        Teams will play two 25 minute halves.

Each time out will last for a period of 30 seconds.

Mercy Clock, will come into effect when a team is down by 35 points. 


Section 2. The Field

The field is 195’ x 85’ (including end zones). The end zones are located from the edge of the blue line and soccer to the end boards. The boards around the field constitute the out- of-bounds line in the endzone and the blue lines are the out of bounds down each sideline, any contact with the boards is considered out-of-bounds and down at the spot of contact.

Section 3. Teams

Each team will consist of NO MORE than 14 players. Each player must sign the roster to be eligible to play. All rosters will be finalized by the 3nd game of the season. Each team will be responsible for providing matching color uniforms with permanently attached numbers for each player on their team. Home team will be required to change shirts if there is a conflict with shirt colors. Pennies may be available at the front desk however teams should always bring a white T-shirt as a back up. Shirts MUST BE tucked into your shorts. If shirts are not tucked into your shorts, offensive players will not be eligable for a holding call. Flags must be placed on hips before play begins and the belt must be at the waist line of your shorts, not excessively above or below.

Section 4. Rules

Rule 1: Tackling

A tackle is the removal of a flag worn by the ball carrier. The defender should drop the flag or hold it up in the air so it can be spotted by the official. If a flag inadvertently falls off, the ball carrier is down when touched with one hand by the opposing team. If a player carrying the ball falls or touches any part of his/her body to the ground (except their hands) they are down at spot of contact with the field. If the ball carrier touches the boards with any part of their body, they are down at spot of contact. If a ball carrier crosses over blue sideline player is down at the spot.

Rule 2: Spots of the Ball

When a ball carrier is tackled, the ball will be placed where the ball was at the time of the flag being pulled. If the ball touches the ground at any point during a play, it will be considered down. There are no fumbles. The ball will be spotted at the point of where the ball came out. If a defender initially knocks the ball out of the runners hand, a 5 yard penalty will be given at the spot of the foul. Repeat the down.

Substitution Rules: At referees discretion, the referee will give a "reasonable amount of time" to get players exchanged before the ball can be snapped. When substituting players, teams MUST make sure to close the player side doors behind them, PLEASE DO NOT SLAM THE DOOR SHUT. Teams will receive one warning. After being warned, if the doors are left open it will be a "delay of game" penalty on the offending team and a 5 yard penalty will be given from the current line of scrimmage. NO HANGING ON THE NET IN THE PLAYERS BOX PLEASE.

Rule 3: Scoring and Time outs

A touchdown will be worth 6 points. A passing touchdown must be caught by an eligible receiver who gets 2 FEET down in bounds. After a team scores a touchdown, they will have the option to go for a one or two point conversion. Once Blue and Red rings have been set down, the team has "declared". You cannot change your choice once rings are set, UNLESS team uses a timeout at which time they can respot the ball. In the event of an interception or turnover during an extra point, the ball will be whistled dead. Safeties are worth 2 points. There are no field goals. “Punting” is allowed, although teams will not physically kick the ball. Each team will receive 1 time out per half. First half time out (1) can be carried over to the second half for a maximum of 2 timeouts in the second half. A time out will not exceed 1 minute in duration and the clock will be started at the snap of the next play. The offensive team will get 25 seconds between plays. Any play that is not started by the end of 25 seconds will result in a delay-of-game penalty. The referee will let the offensive team know when there is 10 seconds left on play clock.

Rule 3 - ISSO House Rules - Point Differential.

In some cases, the league winner must be determined by Point Differential.

Thirty-five (35) is the maximum point differential allowed.

Meaning, if your team wins 60-20 it will be posted as a 55-20 win on the score sheet.

Rule 3 – ISSO House Rules – Scoring.

After a team scores a touchdown, they will have the option to go for a one, two or three point conversion.

Rule 3 – ISSO House Rules – Markers.

Once a ball marker has been set, the team has “declared”.

You cannot change your choice once the ball markers are set.

Rule 3 – ISSO House Rules – Time Out.

A time out will not exceed 30 seconds in duration.

Rule 3 – ISSO House Rules – Punting.

“Punting” is allowed, although teams will not physically kick the ball it will be placed at the red dot at the opposite end of the field.

Rule 4: Forfeits

Any team that does not have the minimum number of players (4) present to begin a game by 10 minutes after scheduled start time will forfeit the game. The clock will start at scheduled game time, time will not be given back if teams are running late.

Rule 5: Scrimmage, Series of Downs, First Downs


All plays from scrimmage must be started by a snap from center. The center cannot pick ball up once his hand is on the ball. The offensive team is considered set at that point. The center may snap the ball in the traditional style or from the side, but the ball must be in contact with the ground and the center must not have any part of his/her body beyond the ball.

The quarterback has 6 seconds to throw the ball past the line of scrimmage or advance it past the line of scrimmage by rushing (countdown done aloud by referee for both teams to hear). If a lateral or backwards pass occurs in the backfield, the 6 second countdown will continue until the ball is progressed past the line of scrimmage. Pitches and laterals are legal downfield beyond the line of scrimmage.


The offensive team must snap the ball into the backfield (no center keepers) to the quarterback or a player who is set off the line of scrimmage. All players are eligible, and the quarterback or offensive player who receives the snap can run immediately. To be a completed pass, the receiver must successfully get 2 FEET down in bounds. One player can be in motion (laterally or backwards) at the snap of the ball. Otherwise, all offensive players must be set before the ball is snapped.

Rule 5 – ISSO House Rules

The spot of the the ball can be placed at a maximum at five yards of either side of the center of the field.


Defensive teams will line up no closer than 1.5 yards from the line of scrimmage. Teams can rush every play after a 3 second countdown by referee. Defensive teams also have one free rush per side of the field (or four downs). If the offensive team scores from the opposite side of the field from the endzone they are attacking, the defense would still have free rush during the extra point attempt (even if they used one on the other side of the field). If a defender passes the RED ring during a read option and the QB of the offensive team keeps the ball, it will count for the defense that their rush has been used. If a defensive penalty is commited during the play they decided to use their free rush, they will not get their free rush again.


A first down is achieved by getting the ball across the midfield stripe. Each team will get four downs to cross midfield, and another 4 downs to score a touchdown. A team will start its possession, after an extra point is attempted. If a TD is not scored by the opposing team, then they will begin the drive at the spot of final possession.

Rule 6: Blocking

Blocking must be done in the following manner to be legal. Hand must be open and arms must be bent at elbows (no stiff arms) or hands closed and next to your own body and block with the forearms. Blocking is permitted in the backfield (behind the line of scrimmage) only. You may “run interference” for your ball carrier, but cannot initiate contact with an opponent trying to make a tackle.

The following are considered illegal blocks: Blocker uses excessive force to knock defender off their feet. Block above shoulders or below waist. Block to the back or blind side. Blocker holding opponent and/or clothing. Use of stiff arms. Blocker may not leave feet when blocking.

Rule 6 – ISSO House Rules

Blocking must be done in the following manner to be legal.

Arms are to be either down by side or behind back.

You may not “run interference” for your ball carrier but you can trail ball carrier for a pitch.

Downfield blocking or running interference is not allowed.

Rule 7: Illigal Contact

  1. No contact may be made with a receiver in pass pattern within the first 3 yards.
  2. Defensive player may not use closed hand to grab, push or pull player.
  3. Defensive player cannot physically tackle or trip ball carrier intintianally.
  4. Defensive player cannot hold a ball carrier to aid in the taking of flag.
  5. Offensive player cannot use a stiff arm or lower head or shoulder into defensive player.
  6. Offensive player may not hurdle or dive to score or gain yardage.
  7. Receiver cannot push off, block, set picks or inhibit defender’s movement in secondary on passing plays.
  8. Excessive force cannot be used by any player at any time.
  9. Absolutely no diving catches by either offense or defensive players. STAY ON YOUR FEET! You can jump up high to receive a pass.

Rule 8: Enforcement of Penalties

  1. All penalties committed while a play is in progress (with a live ball) will be marked off from the spot of the foul and the down will be replayed. Notable exceptions are: Defensive Pass Interference (1st down at spot of infraction). Flag Guarding (5 yard penalty from spot of infraction and loss of down).
  2. Captain of the offended team has the right to refuse any penalty, except for deadball fouls.
  3. Double fouls offset each other.
  4. Half the distance rules apply only when infractions would place the ball on or in the goal area.
  5. The referee has the option to upgrade any foul into an unsportsmanlike penalty and/or eject a player, captain, spectator, etc.(for the balance of the game) who has blatantly committed a foul with excessive force and /or in an unsportsmanlike manner. Ejected person must leave vicinity of game and will have to sit out the following weeks game. $25 fine for first offense must be paid before player will be aloud to play again. $50 fine for second offense and player will be out for the rest of the session. Fine must be paid before teams next scheduled game by player to be aloud back into facility. Referees will report incident to the league for further review and additional disciplinary action.
  6. If the official feels a game has gotten out of control due to unsportsmanlike behavior, he will immediately forfeit the game and will report the incident to the league for further review and additional disciplinary action.

Rule 9: Offsides (5 yard penaty - replay down)

  1. Once set, ANY offensive player on the line of scrimmage that moves will be called for false start. This is called immediately by the officials. You CANNOT reset.
  2. Defensive player crosses the 2 yard neutral zone (the BLUE RING) at any time when ball is set for play.

Rule 10: Delay of Game (5 yard penalty - Replay Down)

  1. If the offensive team takes over the twenty-five (25) seconds to put the ball in play from the time they have full control and custody of the ball.
  2. If player kicks or throws ball unnecessarily.

Rule 11: Illegal Procedure (5 yard penalty - Replay Down)

  1. Illegal snap from center.
  2. Illegal movement when offense is set.
  3. Too many men on the field.
  4. Teams call for timeout when they have none remaining.

Rule 12: Flag Guarding (5 yard penalty - loss of down - penalty will be marked from spot of foul)

  1. Ball carrier uses hand, arm, ball, etc., to obstruct defender from grabbing flag.
  2. Jersey or some other obstruction covers flag.

Rule 13: Illegal Blocking & Illegal Contact (5 yard penalty - reply down) SEE RULES 6 & 7

Rule 14: Pass Interference

  1. Offensive player interferes with defensive player's attempt to intercept a pass (5 yard penalty from line of scrimmage and repeat the down).
  2. Defenders are allowed to make contact within first five yards of line of scrimmage. If defender hits, bumps or holds receiver attempting to catch a pass. FIRST DOWN AT SPOT OF INFRACTION.

Rule 15: Unsportsmanlike Conduct (15 yard penalty and automatic first down - possible ejection and/or suspension/expulsion from league)

  1. Not playing in the spirit of friendly competition and good sportsmanship. To gain an advantage over an opponent by devious means.
  2. Use of excessive force to intimidate or cause injury.
  3. Abusive, taunting or intimidating language.
  4. Flags wrapped, covered, or illegally altered.
  5. Any form of fighting, pushing, shoving, punching, or attempt to injure another person.
  6. Dispute of calls by players other than designated captains, and/or in an uncontrolled, abusive or threatening manner.

Rule 15 – ISSO House Rules

Fighting, pushing, shoving, punching, or attempt to injure another person will result in automatic expulsion from the facility as follows:

A minimum of two weeks expulsion for the first incidence.

Six months expulsion from the facility for the second incidence.

Indefinite expulsion from the facility for the third incidence.

Rule 16: Penalties in Last 2 Minutes of Game

Penalties inside the last 2 minutes of the game by the team in the lead will come with a stoppage of the game clock. This is so teams cannot deliberately delay the game by taking penalties so the clock will run out on the team trying to catch up. If an offensive penalty occurs 2 or more times during the last two minutes (trying to kill clock), a 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and loss of down will be enforced and clock will not start on the next play until ball is snapped.

Rule 16 – ISSO House Rules

Penalties inside the last 2 minutes of the game by the team in the lead may stop the clock at the discretion of the referee.




Illegal forward pass. Flag Guarding (5 yard penalty from spot of infraction and loss of down).


Timeout illegally used or requested. Delay of game. Illegal snap from center. Offensive player illegally in motion at snap. Offsides. Too many men on field.


Use of excessive force. Offensive pass interference. Striking, kicking, elbowing, tripping. Hurdling, diving, lowering head. Roughing the passer (automatic first down). Illegal contact. Illegal block. Defensive holding. Flag guarding (also loss of down from spot). Stripping of the ball.



Defensive pass interference - First Down at the spot of the infraction.

Unsportsmanlike conduct ( other then mentioned in Rule 15) 10 yard penalty.


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